Monday, October 20, 2014
BLOOD ON THE WATER by ANNE PERRY
This is the latest volume in the William Monk series, a series that never disappoints. He is commander of the River Police and happens to be out on the Thames with one of his detectives when a party boat ahead of them suddenly explodes. It is a night of horror as the pleasure boat was crowded and the only people with any hope of survival are out on the deck. Even if they manage to escape, the water is enough to kill them. In Victorian England the Thames was a swill of sewage, bodies both human and animal, and God knows what else. Most people who had the misfortune of being dunked in the river died of disease or infection very soon. The wealthy party goers below had no chance whatsoever.
He and his detective do their best to rescue people. In the morning after cleaning up, they begin to work on the case. This was no accident. However, that very morning the case is taken away from them and given to a sort of special prosecutor who, how ever well meaning, knows nothing of the river. Monk, his men, and his wife Heather keep trying to solve the case, and it becomes obvious to them that corruption in high places, perhaps involving the newly opened Suez Canal, is behind this awful crime.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian man is tried and convicted, sentenced to be executed, but then that is changed to life. Since he is dying of disease anyway, why bother? Monk is certain that this is the wrong man. When he uncovers evidence of his claim, the case is reassigned to him. What in the world is going on with the powers that be? The answer is quite interesting.
Monk is in danger, both physical and professional, throughout. That kept me turning pages, although I was sorry when I finished the book. I like Anne Perry's England, a time of hints of change shining through Victorian mores. Hester Monk is a brave, intelligent woman, generous to the teenage orphan they've taken in and a loving wife to Monk.
If you like historical mysteries, you would do well to try this series. You'll be so glad you did.
Source: LibraryThing win