In a stunning feat of the imagination, Anne Perry encloses readers within the magic circle of her genius and brings to life the lost world of England's Victorian Age. Hoofbeats clatter on cobblestones, gaslight glimmers through fog, and in the exclusive privacy of elegant drawing rooms, powerful men and women once again live the splendor and shame of that matchless era. With The Twisted Root, Perry holds us rapt with a chilling story of love, betrayal, and consummate evil.
As private investigator William Monk listens to young Lucius Stourbridge plead for help in tracking down his runaway fianc�e, he feels a sense of heavy foreboding. Miriam Gardiner disappeared suddenly from a croquet party at the luxurious Bayswater mansion of her in-laws-to-be, and has not been seen since. But on Hampstead Heath, Monk finds the coach in which Miriam had fled and, nearby, the murdered body of the coachman. There is no trace of Miriam.
What strange compulsion could have driven the beautiful widow to abandon the prospect of a loving marriage and financial abundance? Monk's attempt to answer that question proves a challenge, as Miriam Gardiner's fateful flight ends in a packed London courtroom where brilliant barrister Oliver Rathbone wages an uphill battle to absolve her from a charge of murder. And in a race with the hangman, Monk and clever nurse Hester Latterly--themselves now newlyweds--desperately pursue the elusive truth . . . and an unknown killer whose malign brilliance they have scarcely begun to fathom.
In this 10th entry in the popular series featuring prickly English investigator William Monk and his equally prickly bride, nurse Hester Latterly (A Breach of Promise, etc.), Perry mulls over the moral justification of criminal acts. Just back from his honeymoon in the summer of 1860, Monk tries to locate Mrs. Miriam Gardiner, a comely widow who inexplicably fled in a coach from her wealthy young fianc�'s home. Monk's search takes him to Hampstead Heath, where the coachman's body is found�murdered, he deduces, by a single blow to the head. Could Miriam have struck that deadly blow as she fled, and if so, why? Cornered at last, Miriam refuses to explain her behavior or implicate the coachman's murderer, even though Monk suspects she's the victim of some atrocity. Meanwhile, Hester gears up to defend Cleo Anderson, a saintly nurse who admits to filching hospital supplies to treat impoverished war veterans. Plot mechanics grind away as Perry strains to connect the two crimes, resolving matters with an ending that reads like Henry Fielding without the laughs. Fans of earlier Monk and Latterly mysteries may enjoy Perry's sometimes overwrought depiction of the two-career couple negotiating who cooks supper, but the many other anachronisms just don't wash (says Hester's colleague: "you want to have nurses visit the poor in their homes? You are fifty years before your time"). Despite the characters' tendency to sermonize self-righteously, Perry's theme is the hazy nature of guilt�a topic sure to intrigue those who've followed her career. For thrills, however, readers should turn to other books in the series. Mystery Guild selection; Random House audio. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
September 04, 2000
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.