As her New York Times bestselling novels always remind us, Anne Perry is a matchless guide to both the splendor and the shame of the British Empire at the height of its influence. In her twentieth William Monk mystery, she brings us to London’s grand Mayfair mansions, where the arrogant masters of the Western world hold sway—and to the teeming Thames waterfront, where one summer afternoon, Monk witnesses the horrifying explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, which sends to their deaths nearly two hundred merrymakers.
The tragedy is no accident. As commander of the River Police, Monk should handle the case, but the investigation is turned over to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. An Egyptian man is swiftly caught, tried, and sentenced to die. But almost as quickly, Monk presents evidence that Habib Beshara, though a nasty piece of work, was elsewhere at the time of the blast. The investigation, now in complete disarray, is hastily turned over to Monk.
Is the crime connected with the soon-to-be-opened Suez Canal, which will enormously benefit wealthy British shipping companies? Or did all of those innocent people drown to ensure the death of just one? How did the bomber board the ship, and how did he manage to escape? Is he an anarchist or a madman?
Backed up by his astute wife, Hester, and his old reliable friend Oliver Rathbone, Monk vows to find answers—but instead finds himself treading the dangerous waters of international intrigue, his questions politely turned aside by a formidable array of the powerful and privileged. Events twist and turn like the Thames itself, leading to the shattering moment when Monk realizes, perhaps too late, that he is the next target.
Praise for Anne Perry and her William Monk novels
Blood on the Water
“[An] unfailingly rewarding series.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Riveting . . . one of Perry’s most engrossing books.”—The Washington Times
“Tension-filled . . . intricate and densely plotted . . . Victorian London comes alive.”—BookPage
“Ranks among the best . . . Perry has written. Her courtroom scenes have the realism of Scott Turow.”—Huntington News
A Sunless Sea
“Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries are marvels.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Masterful storytelling and moving dialogue.”—The Star-Ledger
“[An] engrossing page-turner . . . There’s no one better at using words to paint a scene and then fill it with sounds and smells than Anne Perry.”—The Boston Globe
“Brilliant . . . a page-turning thriller . . . blending compelling plotting with superbly realized human emotion and exquisite period detail.”—Jeffery Deaver, author of Edge
The Shifting Tide
“The mysterious and dangerous waterfront world of London’s ‘longest street,’ the Thames, comes to life.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Bestseller Perry's 20th William Monk Victorian historical (after 2013's Blind Justice) opens with a powerful scene. Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, witnesses an explosion aboard a pleasure boat, which rapidly sinks. Despite his heroic efforts to save lives, almost 200 are lost in the tragedy, which the detective quickly concludes wasn't an accident. To Monk's dismay, the authorities take the case away from his force and assign it to the London Metropolitan Police. An Egyptian man, Habib Beshara, is charged with planting the bomb that caused the deadly explosion, though his motive is far from clear. Monk has misgivings about Beshara's guilt, but with the case reassigned and a culprit identified, he can investigate only at risk to his career. The book's endearing main characters Monk; his wife, Hester; and their 16-year-old surrogate son, Scuff help compensate for a mystery with less sociopolitical interest than Perry's usual.
Well written and enjoyable. However, I had difficulty believing the premise for the committed crime. It seems there were many simpler ways a person can exact revenge than what was depicted in this story.