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Defend and Betray Hardcover – September 15, 1992

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett; 1st edition (September 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449907554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449907559
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,316,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Perry's third mystery set in Victorian London, military hero Thaddeus Carlyon falls from the top of a staircase and is impaled on a suit of armor below--an ignoble end to a distinguished career and a definite damper to the dinner party he had been attending. When his death turns out to be a murder, his wife takes sole responsibility and is quickly arrested. But Carlyon's sister believes the widow innocent and enlists the help of her friend Hester Latterly, a nurse, who soon brings in her associates from The Face of a Stranger and A Dangerous Mourning : barrister Oliver Rathbone and troubled former policeman, amnesia victim and dogged investigator Thomas Monk. The quietly feminist Latterly, the gentlemanly Rathbone and the seemingly cold Monk (who discovers hidden aspects of himself as readily as he does clues) advance the narrative in tandem. Unobtrusively creating a richly detailed period atmosphere, Perry leads readers gradually through a case involving Carlyon's traumatized son and vengeful daughter, revealing social and moral nuances in the grand tradition of the Victorian novel--even though the finale relies on a plot device badly overused in current crime fiction.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Professional lawyer, private investigator, and amateur sleuth unite to investigate not "whodunit" but why. Mrs. Carlyon has confessed to murdering her husband, the General Schwartzkopf of London society in 1857; her friends realize that the motive must have been significant for such a mild-mannered lady to have committed the deed. Halfway through the book, they learn her reason, but then must find admissible evidence to prove it in court. There are many characters in the story, differentiated by personality traits within a family or by rigid class structure. The latter is especially evident in the speech patterns. Because there is so much dialogue, the pacing is rapid. Readers discover much about the condition of women in Victorian England, i.e., as the husband's pawn with no rights or property of her own. Inspector Monk was introduced in an earlier novel; a secondary mystery relating to his amnesia is disappointing as it builds and then fizzles out. YAs will identify more with Hester, the sleuth. Enlightening historical fiction/mystery. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Well written with sympathetic characters and strong plot.
Amazon Customer
I am a fan of Anne Perry's book and have recently gotten into the Monk series.
Susanna Panz
Her novels are true mysteries since the outcome is surprising.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eve Starr on May 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anne Perry charmed me with the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series first. I imagine Thomas to be very much like Mulder from the X-Files. Anyway, I made the mistake of reading one of the later Monk novels out of desperation for more Anne Perry, and just plain lost interest. Then, I found "Face of a Stranger" and started the series in order, and can picture Timothy Dalton as Monk, Hester Latterly as Emma Thompson, and I care so much about these main characters that even when the pace got mired down in Monk's flashbacks, I had the motivation to keep going. It's worth it in this most unusual approach. I highly appreciate Ms. Perry's respect for her readers; there is a definite level of erudition here without becoming pedantic. As a teacher, I recommend these books as great historical fiction, with plenty of insight on the lower classes and the plight of women. Stick around for the exquisite courtroom scene. Oliver Rathbone is a well-balanced, realistic character, and his father Henry is a dear. Callandra Daviot is as important to the Monk novels as Aunt Vespasia is to the Pitt series. To sum up: start at the beginning of each series to get the most out of them. They don't stand alone nearly as well as some series novels.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stan Vernooy on June 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The plot outline is this: A well-respected army general is murdered during a dinner party at the home of a friend. Soon his wife confesses to the crime, giving jealousy as her motive. Edith, the younger sister of the deceased general, is skeptical of the confession, and approaches her friend Hester for some help. Hester, in turn, enlists the famed attorney Oliver Rathbone and former Inspector William Monk to work on the case.
The first 250 pages are so boring and so empty that one wonders why Perry wrote the book at all. All three of the above-mentioned investigators go out to gather information and interview the witnesses and acquaintances of the principal parties. They find absolutely nothing. It soon becomes clear that the wife is lying about her motive, but everyone is mystified as to what the real motive is. So for 250 pages we get almost nothing except conversations among the three people, exchanging no information because there is no information to exchange, and becoming increasingly pessimistic about their chances to save the wife from being hanged.
A modern reader, on the other hand, has no trouble figuring out the wife's motive long before the people in the book do. So that element of suspense is missing. The only open question in the reader's mind is exactly how are the characters in the book going to find out the motive.
Not only are the first 250 pages excruciatingly boring, but also the book is poorly edited. There are several threads in the story which are confusing, and several times people do things, or omit doing things, for which the motivation is either nonexistent or poorly explained.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By drdebs on May 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You might think that a confession in the first few chapters of a mystery novel would be a bad idea. Why keep reading? Anne Perry proves she knows best once again in this, the third novel in the William Monk series. Here we read on page after exciting page because we want to know WHY Alexandra Carlyon would murder her husband, Thaddeus.
Fans of Anne Perry know that the author is fascinated with secrets, who keeps them, and why. Because this book focuses on disclosures in Alexandra Carlyon's murder trial, rather than a murder investigation per se, we are able to follow each labrynthine path that the author lays down. Did Alexandra murder her husband because of jealousy? Because she was in love with someone else? Or to protect someone she loved?
This book is gripping and intriguing--a real page-turner. If you like Victorian mysteries and the modern TV series Law and Order you will love this book. Part detective work, part legal work, the case will keep you guessing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marauder The Slash Nymph on August 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although not the book for you if you want one that keeps you guessing about the murderer until the end, Defend and Betray remains captivating because of its focus on Victorian society and the increasingly complicated inner workings of the Carlyon and Furnival families. I figured out why the murderer had killed Thaddeus Carlyon a few hundred pages before the detectives did, but I think this is due to a modern perspective rather than their incompetence.

A few parts of this book drove me crazy. At one point, Monk and Hester have learned an important piece of information that should easily, EASILY lead them to a further conclusion, Victorian society or no Victorian society, and yet it takes some time for them to connect A and B. The middle section of the novel in which Alexandra Carlyon refuses to tell them anything more about the murder grows frustrating, but once Monk and Hester have broken past her silence, the book is spellbinding until the end. I stayed up until midnight finishing it. Even as questions are answered, there are always some left until the final page.

Whether you care about the subplot with Monk and his half-hidden memory of another woman accused of killing her husband depends on if you care about Monk in the first place (I do) and if you resent time being taken away from the main case (I did).

It has some flaws, but overall I found this book page-turning and an interesting take on the secrets, lies, and priorities of upper-class Victorians.
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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.

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