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by Anne Perry
Ballantine Books, October 2000
344 pages
ISBN: 0345433262

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

William Monk and his nurse wife, Hester are invited to dinner by Daniel Albertson. The purpose of the invitation is to check out Monk as Albertson wishes to hire him to locate a blackmailer.

Albertson had befriended an artist model, Alexander Glimes, who was found dead in a male brothel. An attempt is being made to blackmail Albertson, revealing his innocent aid to Glimes if he doesn't sell guns to the blackmailer.

Albertson has contracted to sell a shipment of arms to Phil Trace, a Southerner for he Confederacy. Lyman Breeland, an ardent supporter of the Union and against slavery tries to persuade Albertson to cancel his contract with Trace and sell the arms to him. When Albertson refuses, stating that he had given Trace his word and would not go back on his word, Breeland storms out of the house.

Albertson's daughter, Merrit, only 16, believes herself to be in love with Breeland and espouses his anti-slavery cause and argues with her father because he won't change his mind. She leaves the house and seeks out Breeland.

Albertson goes looking for her. When neither returns home, Judith Albertson turns to their partner and her cousin, Robert Casbolt to find them. Casbolt asks Monk to help. They find Albertson and the two warehouse guards at the warehouse killed in a cruel and ritualistic manner.

Anne Perry has painted a very realistic picture of London in 1861... you can hear the street hawkers... feel the atmosphere of the city... smell the air at the docks and the marshes.

The scenes of war at the Battle of Manasses are all too vivid... the horrors of war with the torn bodies... the lack of proper medical facilities... the frustrations of the medical staff.

It is a strong story with a cast of colorful and realistic characters. Ths is the eleventh in the William Monk series. There are frequent references to events in previous books. If you have read them that would add to the appreciation of this book. However, this could stand alone as an excellent, well-written, fast moving and suspenseful book.

Reviewed by Barbara Buhrer, August 2001

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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