Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Dangerous Mourning, by Anne Perry

(hb; 1991: second book in the William Monk series)

From the inside flap:

"No breath of scandal has ever touched the Moidore family. Almost every day London's wealthiest and most powerful can be found taking tea or dining in the opulent family mansion of Sir Basil Moidore in Queen Anne Street.

"Now Sir Basil's beautiful widowed daughter has been stabbed to death in her own bed, a shocking, incomprehensible tragedy. Inspector William Monk is ordered to find her killer without delay -- and in a manner that will give the least possible pain to the influential family.

"But Monk, brilliant and ambitious, is handicapped, both by lingering traces of amnesia caused by an accident and by the craven ineptitude of his supervisor, who would like nothing better than to see Monk fail.

"With the intelligent help of Hester Latterly, an independent young woman who has served with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, Monk gropes warily through the silence and shadows that obscure the case. Step by dangerous step, he approaches the astonishing, appalling solution..."


Monk and Hester are thrown together again to solve another high society murder, of course ripe with scandal, media screaming, and probable career ruin (for Monk).

Monk's handling of the case is more certain this time: he's less hampered by his memory loss, which still occasionally hinders him, but doesn't make him look incompetent (as it did in The Face Of A Stranger).

The snippy sparks between Monk and Hester still alight their mutual air, but their respect for each other has deepened; much of what makes this Perry-standard mystery shine so brightly are these feisty half-fights, and the equally-clever friendship between Monk and his police partner, Evans.

Excellent series, this, one that provides a character-veracious contrast to Perry's Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series.

Check it out!

Followed by Defend And Betray.

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