Friday, June 17, 2011
Death of a Stranger
The Shifting Tide
by Anne Perry
read summer 2011
I'm almost finished with the Monk series of Anne Perry books. The last published is Execution Dock. There's another coming out in August: Acceptable Loss. What will I do after that?
I won't be reading any more Anne Perry for a while. Even though I love her books and there is another detective series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, I need to take a break.
Funeral in Blue involves the death of Kristian Beck's wife. Of course, Beck is accused of murder and Oliver Rathbone must defend him. Hester gets involved because her brother's wife has developed a gambling addiction, something that Beck's wife also suffered from. I liked the book a lot. Superintendant Runcorn makes another appearance and Monk learns why Runcorn hates him so much. Lady Callandra doesn't come off very well in this book. However, the situation she finds herself in is interesting. The man she loves is finally available, but it's because his wife has been killed. She always thought that Kristian's marriage was dead, but as it turns out - it was only troubled. Lady Callandra, normally a strong outspoken woman, turns into a schoolgirl in love.
Death of a Stranger : I really didn't want to read this book because I was tired of Monk's struggle with his amnesia. But, it turned out to be one of my favorites. Monk is hired to investigate a possible financial scandal involving land fraud and a railroad company. While looking through paperwork Monk finds his own name from back in the day when he was in the business of finance. Worrying that he was involved in unscrupulous business dealings back in his past, this case takes on a very personal note. Through solving the mystery of the scandal and fraud (and, eventually, murder) he solves the mystery of his past life.
The Shifting Tide: This is the first Monk Book I read back in 2007. I liked it at the time, but it was different reading it now, knowing the context of all the characters' lives. Hester is working at a clinic for the poor (mostly prostitutes) of Portpool Lane. She has set the clinic up herself. A woman is brought the the clinic with, they presume, pneumonia. It turns out that she has the bubonic plague. Hester and company cannot leave the clinic. It seems that they will die there. Meanwhile, Monk is investigating the theft of a shipment of ivory from a ship. There's also been a murder, but the ship owner is really only interested in finding the thief. Once again Hester's and Monk's work coincidentally intersects. Oliver Rathbone gets over his regrets over losing Hester when he falls in love with Margaret Ballinger. I liked this book as much the second time as I did the first. Good book.
Dark Assassin: I liked this book right up to the end - then it fell apart. Monk has become an inspector with the Thames River Police. His work investigating the case in The Shifting Tide impressed one of the inspectors on the River Police force who recommended him for a job. Monk and his colleagues see a man and woman struggling on a bridge. They both go over and into the water where they are instantly killed. Was it an accident? Suicide? Murder? It is determined to be suicide, but Monk doesn't believe it. He investigates not only the woman's death but the supposed suicide of her father, several months before. Hester gets involved because Sutton, the ratcatcher, tells her that there is corruption going on in the sewer work being done throughout London. The man who supposedly committed suicide as well as his now dead daughter had been trying to convince everyone of the same. Corruption and unsafe construction practices threaten to cause many deaths if the sewers collapse as the workers dig. Monk and Runcorn team up to solve this one because much of the case involves areas outside the jurisdiction of the River Police.
Scuff, the urchin boy from The Shifting Tide appears in this story and wins Hester and Monks hearts. I can see that he will probably appear in future stories. There's a dog. There's a tv-show ending complete with stupid joke and chuckle at the end.
The main crime is solved too fast and based on a simple hunch. Another crime involving the opulent receiver, The Fat Man, is solved extremely quickly considering the fact that the River Police had been trying to catch the Fat Man for years and years.
A good book that ended badly. I hope that's not a sign of things to come.