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Death of a Stranger Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Private enquiry agent William Monk is hired to investigate a potential case of fraud in the construction of a new railway line. His client is the fiancée of a man she fears is embroiled in the scheme, and Monk's investigation causes a strange sense of déjà vu--a former policeman afflicted with a case of amnesia concerning his prior life, Monk finds both the case and its milieu unsettlingly familiar. His case is somehow connected to the death of a railway magnate in a sleazy area of London where Monk's wife Hester, a nurse, operates a shelter for abused prostitutes. The women have been doubly victimized by an extortion scheme in which the dead man, who turns out to have been Monk's employer during his "lost" years, may have been involved. More than an ingenious way to fill in Monk's backstory, Anne Perry's newest mystery featuring the enigmatic investigator deepens the reader's understanding of an unusual and compelling protagonist and brings Victorian-era England vividly to life. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Perry's latest novel (after 2001's Funeral in Blue) to feature mid-Victorians William Monk and his wife, Hester, offers an ingenious and baffling plot, compelling characters, both major and minor, plus plenty of courtroom drama, but is something of a diamond in the rough. In London's East End, Hester, a former nurse with Florence Nightingale, has established a shelter for prostitutes where the ill and injured can be treated. One night, a well-known railway magnate is found dead in a nearby brothel, and the police presence in the area grinds the illicit business of the pimps and prostitutes to a halt. William, meanwhile, has undertaken a private investigation into possible fraud. His client, the fiancee of a young executive for the same railway as the murder victim, fears her betrothed may be implicated in the fraud scheme. As William recognizes parallels with the past, memories that he lost in an accident seven years earlier start to haunt him. Unfortunately, the book suffers from hasty execution, as reflected in repetitious phrasing, pronouns with unclear antecedents and confusing narrative transitions between Hester and William and between William in the present and William before his amnesia. The result is a challenging read, though established fans will likely forgive the author her lapses because she tells such a wonderful story.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345440064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345440068
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Assassin and The Shifting Tide, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including The Cater Street Hangman, Calandar Square, Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane. She is also the author of the World War I novels No Graves As Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep, as well as six holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Grace. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor V. Miller on October 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't believe Anne Perry could write a bad book if you <smile> put a derringer to her head, but William and Hester Monk's latest case "Death of a Stranger" is definitely a series milestone and a solid gold reading experience. After their return from America, William has resumed his private investigative practice while Hester is donating her time and nursing expertise at a clinic in Coldbath Square which her friend Callandra Daviot has established to provide medical care for women of the streets. When a wealthy railroad magnate is found brutally murdered in a squalid brothel in that area, suspicion falls on the women whom Hester is trying to help. Attempting to prove their innocence, she stumbles upon a plot to force gently-bred women into usurious debt and prostitution and resolves with or without Monk's assistance to put a stop to
it. Naturally, she needs some help, so she turns to series regular, Sir Oliver Rathbone, with fascinating results. Meanwhile Monk has acquired a new client: Katrina Harcus, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who is concerned that her fiance, a trusted employee of the murdered man, may be involved in some kind of fraud in connection with a new and highly secret railroad project that the company is presently undertaking. When Monk agrees to handle her case and looks over the relevant papers that she has brought him, they evoke tragic echoes from his own past which start to shake him loose from his amnestic fog. Inevitably his and Hester/Rathbone's separate investigations intertwine, and another shocking death pulls the triumvirate deeper and deeper into the terrible implications of old horrors that suddenly threaten to become life-endangering present realities. The final pages of this brilliant piece of Victoriana held me completely spellbound.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By corglacier7 on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I admit when I read the publisher's blurb about this book claiming that William Monk would regain his memory I was very worried that after the suspense of his past being drawn out for twelve books that Anne Perry was suddenly going to play the entire card with a wishy-washy explanation for his sudden regaining of memory.
Thankfully, that's not the case. This is quite probably my favorite Monk novel since "The Sins of the Wolf". Great character development, and an intriguing mystery. The details of Monk's mentor and his ruin are worth the anticipation Ms. Perry's built up over the past few books, though in no way does he regain the entire memory of his life.
Katrina Harcus is a fascinating character, and while I figured out her actions, her motivation remained a mystery until the courtroom. Rathbone's moved beyond his lovelorn feelings for Hester, which is a great relief, and it was great to see *him* holding all the cards to figure out the mystery before Monk and Hester for once. Margaret Ballinger's a good match for him, and I greatly look forward to seeing more of her in future books.
Now, I admit I wavered between sympathy and irritation with Monk's reticence to talk to Hester about the entire affair. It seemed to be made clear in "Slaves of Obsession" that she cared only about the man he was, not who he had been. But then, none of us can truly appreciate losing our entire memory and finding it out piece by piece, and Ms. Perry does an excellent job of suggesting what it might be like for such a man. Another bit of confusion was some dates that don't seem to fit with earlier books, but I can easily overlook that in favor of a very good tale.
The mystery of railroad fraud is well-done, with the heat turned up when murder occurs.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sissalou on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Other reviews give excellent hints of the plot, so that is not my purpose. Rather, I like to let a potential shopper know whether or not the book being reviewed is, in my opinion, worth the cover price and whether or not he or she should go ahead and put this book in his/her shopping basket. In this case, go ahead.
This is directed mostly to Anne Perry fans that normally like her "William Monk" series. You will enjoy this new Monk novel. Once I got to Chapter Three, I pretty much had to read the book all the way through. Once I got near the end, I couldn't put it down until the story was finished.
Let me praise Ms. Perry for departing from her usual sordid crimes. This is the second such Monk book that centers around a "standard" crime.
Let me also praise Carl D. Galian for an excellent jacket design. Sometimes I like his jackets better than the story. This time, I liked both.
Although I found the mystery part of the story quite compelling, I withheld one star because I just cannot stand Ms. Perry's philosophizing. Her plots are good enough without her wasting my time filling her story with controversial issues which may be her niche, but I cannot stand it.
As I said, philosophy aside, the story was great. Ms. Perry is a master at teasing the reader. Monk, as the fan knows, lost his memory in an accident. Ms. Perry begins to tease some of it back, but in just the tiniest, most tantalizing tidbits that keeps the reader nervous until the very end of the story. If you are a lip-chewer, then beware, get your lip protection cream handy.
Thumbs Up for Anne Perry once again.
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