Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Face Of A Stranger, by Anne Perry

(pb; 1990: first book in the William Monk series)

From the back cover:

"His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. But the accident that felled him has left him with only a half a life: his memory and his entire pat have vanished.

"Trying as best he can to hide that fact, Monk returns to work and finds himself assigned to the brutal murder of Major the Honorable Joscelin Grey, Crimean war hero and popular man about town, in his room in fashionable Mecklenburg Square. The exalted status of the victim puts any representative of the police in the precarious position of having to pry into a noble family's secrets -- which in itself will be difficult for Monk, as he's forgotten his professional skills along with everything else.

"But slowly the darkness begins to lighten as each new revelation leads Monk step by terrifying step to the answers he seeks but dreads to find."

Review:

Intriguing, fast-moving gem of a mystery, this. It's especially intriguing because of Monk's nearly-complete amnesia, which makes him wonder who his friends and enemies are, and why -- what sort of man was he, prior to the accident? Arrogant, at times, certainly; but what beyond that?

And why is his boss (Runcorn) so intent on seeing Monk arrest the wrong man for a media-charged high society murder, a move that will surely ruin Monk's career?

While trying to hide his amnesia -- it makes him look incompetent and awkward at times -- Monk tries to regain his life. In the hands of a great mystery writer like Perry, it's enthralling, excellent.

Check this out.

Followed by A Dangerous Mourning.

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