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A Sudden, Fearful Death: A William Monk Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 580 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this excellent historical mystery, Victorian detective William Monk investigates the suspicious death of a young English nurse.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-Another Perry mystery that highlights the frustrating status of women in Victorian England. The story hinges on society's low opinion of nurses and of both single and married women who seek abortions. A talented nurse is found strangled, and Inspector Monk and his friends, a nurse and a lawyer, follow the clues to see that the murderer will hang. It is difficult to decide which element is the author's true forte-the details of everyday life or the suspenseful courtroom dialogues. The plot has many twists and turns. Readers may suspect some of the answers, but surprises continue right until the last page. The opening chapters place readers in a subplot that provides background on different characters. The shift in the action is slightly confusing as these people are rarely mentioned again. However, Perry fans will not be disappointed, and newcomers will be entertained by a good mystery as they enter the world of Victorian high society.
Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1249 KB
  • Print Length: 580 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 22, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 22, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JSO7G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By drdebs on June 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Sudden, Fearful Death is the fourth mystery in the Inspector Monk series of books by Anne Perry. Better known for her Pitt series, the Inspector Monk series are slighly earlier (just after the Crimean War), grittier, and in many ways more riveting. They are longer than the average Pitt novel, and this allows the author's wonderful ability to convey period detail and characterization to shine through.
In this mystery Inspector Monk is called in to investigate the murder of one of Florence Nightingale's Crimean nurses, who is working at a London hospital. Those of you who have read the previous three novels know how hard it can be for these young women to adapt to English hospitals after their stint abroad, and at first it seems that Prudence Barrymore might be a victim because of her desire to reform the medical system. As the plot unfolds, however, we realize that there is a great deal more going on at London's Royal Free hospital than meets the eye.
One of Perry's greatest talents lies in character development, and she is always careful to let a different character feature prominently in each novel. This time it is Lady Callandra Daviot's turn, Inspector Monk's female patron, who emerges as a more three-dimensional character. Hester Latterly, another Nightingale nurse, is also featured, along with the brilliant Inspector Monk and the lawyer of lawyers, Oliver Rathbone.
I would particularly recommend the Monk series to fans of TV's Law and Order, since these mysteries combine excellent sleuthing with taut court-room drama. If you like historical mysteries, you will love this series. If you already like Anne Perry, I encourage you to give Inpsector Monk a try!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By cappakis on March 11, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I won't bother to rehash the plot of this book, as that has been done. I have very much enjoyed the William Monk series, but was quite disappointed with this particular entry. Although I agree with the reviewer that the opening scene with Marianne does not originally make sense to the reader, the relevance becomes pretty clear by at most page 100. The 200 pages or so devoted to determining what it was Prudence actually wanted were almost completely wasted. I had figured out the answer to this question immediately, but thought that in Perry's traditional style, Monk and crew would be pick this up as easily as I had, and then it would be on to the next twist. Alas, they did not pick this up until the last 20-30 pages of the book!! The last chapter, which a previous reviewer raved about, in my opinion was remniscent of some of Patricia Cornwell's poorly exectued later entries in her Kay Scarpetta series: pick a person randomly to solve the crime. Also, character development was not up to Perry's usual standards; there was no additional insights or progressions of any of the ongoing relationships. I gave the book two stars because I enjoyed both the description of hospital consitions in 1850's London and did originally like the plot but that it was not brought to a sufficient height and lacked "meat." I will continue reading Perry, since I know later books in this series are up to her usual standards, but would forewarn readers that this is not the book to start with if one wishes to "test" Perry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Osier on February 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the London of Queen Victoria, in a public hospital where "nurses" require no qualifications because all they do is the work of a drudge, a Crimean War veteran nurse is found strangled to death and stuffed into a laundry chute. Those nurses who worked under the legendary Florence Nightingale find life in their post-war homeland difficult, especially if they choose to continue nursing, because they know how to do far more than change bedding, roll bandages, and dump slop pails. They want to see medical care reformed, based on what they learned during their service under "the lady with the lamp"; and their presence makes those around them uncomfortable, doctors as well as matrons and ordinary nurses, because these are forceful women who usually have no need to earn a living. They are gentlewomen who should, according to their era's customs, confine their hospital work to that of board members and charitable contributors. Instead they insist on doing what no decent upper-class female ought, and their outspoken desire for specific reforms both disturbs and insults England's current medical establishment.

Former police detective William Monk, now a private detective, inquires into the death of Prudence Barrymore at the request of his patron, Lady Callandra Daviot. He asks another Crimean nurse, Hester Latterly, to take a position at the hospital and learn all that she can; and then he takes the resulting evidence to the police, in the person of a former colleague whose competence he has reason to distrust. After which Monk begins to think it may be a false accusation, despite that evidence. So what will he do now, with the accused already on trial?

Although I had read other Anne Perry books, this was my first William Monk installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rich on July 9, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Monk and Hester investigate when a nurse is strangled at the local hospital.

A boring read. The book rambles in places while in others fairly gallops to the next part. Perry has developed a knack for overstatement and also for writing some very clunky prose which continually slows down the characters. The murder mystery is also a mess. Hester conveniently forgets a conversation which throws a different light on the investigation and pursues a line which she must know is untrue but this discrepancy is never explained. Perhaps Perry herself forgot she'd written that section or hoped the reader wouldn't notice.

I felt slightly insulted by this book. There's a hastiness to the whole thing, a good edit would have helped. Perry has nothing new to say about either her characters or the situations they find themselves in.
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