Ballantine, April 2004, 25.95, 352 pp.
It is 1863 in Victorian London and times are lean for private enquiry agent William Monk and his wife Hester who receives no money for working at the clinic in Portpool Lane that provides medical care to sick and injured prostitutes. Louvain, a powerful business man who makes a profit in shipping, hires Monk to recovery a shipment of ivory that was stolen off his shop while it was waiting to dock. One of the crew still on board was murdered and Monk intends to find out who the killer is and bring him to justice even though he won't get any additional fees for it.
The ivory must be found within a certain period of time or Louvain won't be unable to pay off a creditor who is also his rival. If that happens he won't be able to bid on a fast clipper ship that he wants to add to his fleet. While Monk makes contacts along the river to find out who received the ivory, Hester is battling a different kind of killer, one that hasn't been seen in Europe since the middle ages.
Anne Perry can always be counted on to write an exciting historical police procedural and THE SHIFTING TIDE is obvious proof of this assertion. Hester and Monk battle with more than a serial killer and that brings the focus of the tale as much on the nurse fighting a deadly disease as the hero trying to get an innocent man off death row. There is plenty of action in Ms Perry's latest thriller but it is the two special people who risk their lives for humanity that readers will care about.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner