By Anne Perry
Headline - November 2001
ISBN 0747262837 - HB
Historical Crime
London and Vienna, 1860s

Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.Com
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Monk and Hester are back for the twelfth time in another unputdownable adventure. Hester's sister-in-law, Imogen, is behaving strangely and her brother Charles begs her to try to get to the bottom of it. At the same time, Monk has to unravel the double murder of family friend Dr Beck's wife and an artist's model who have been found in an artist's studio. At first, the two seem unrelated, but this crime will see Monk off to Vienna to dig up shocking secrets from the past. By the end of the book, the pair will have discovered a lot about people they thought they knew well.

Anne Perry knows how to pace her books and hold the reader in suspense, no mean feat after writing so many novels. Of late, a slight note of repetition has crept in but this book brings in some new angles even if, ultimately, it all ends rather abruptly and not in the way I would have chosen. Nevertheless, this is another rattling good tale that speeds along leaving the reader quite breathless and it is certainly hard to guess whodunit or quite why and there are even more surprises than usual. I particularly like Perry's favourite device of dropping the crime into the story like a stone into a pond and watching as the ripples of it spread out to include more and more people, while the stifling if elegant restrictions of Victorian society add an added layer of drama as people fear not merely the rope, but becoming outcasts. As ever, her delineation of 19th century life is excellent and the whole vastly entertaining. More, more!

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