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Weighed in the Balance (A William Monk Novel) Mass Market Paperback – August 30, 1997

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (August 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804115621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804115629
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Set in the mid-1800s, this mystery brings the passionate and exotic aristocrats of a tiny German kingdom into contact with Victorian England, in particular with William Monk, the darkly romantic hero of Anne Perry's historical series. Countess Zorah Rostova first approaches Sir Oliver Rathbone with a story of murder, accusing the woman for whom an exiled prince has renounced his crown of killing him. Rathbone hires Monk to investigate, and both men are bewitched by the alluring women in the prince's court-in-exile. In pursuit of the truth, Monk follows a trail from England to Venice and then to the kingdom of Felzburg, a journey that teaches him much about the political intrigue in central Europe during those turbulent times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The byzantine politics and aristocratic squabbles of a small German principality called Felzburg exasperate and puzzle William Monk in his seventh distinctive appearance (after Cain His Brother). Monk, a Victorian-era "agent of inquiry," is still haunted by a baffling amnesia, and he feels that his associates?the rigidly proper barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone and the uncompromising and outspoken nurse Hester Latterly?have taken on more than they can handle when Sir Oliver decides to defend Countess Zorah Rostova against a slander charge. The patriotic Zorah has accused Princess Gisela of Felzburg of murdering her husband, Prince Friedrich, heir to the throne, who presumably had died as a result of a fall from a horse. Gisela is suing. The issue of slander is almost lost in all the politicking. Gisela and Friedrich had lived in English exile, Gisela having played a sort of Wallis Simpson role to Friedrich's Edward. But Friedrich dreamed of returning triumphant to Felzburg in order to defend the statelet's independence against the unifying tide of Germany. Zorah's defense requires that Monk polish his image, refine his abrasive nature and interview some devious, scheming?and perhaps murderous?aristocrats. Was Friedrich poisoned? Was Gisela the intended target? Who profits? Are personal or political motives dominant? Perry indulges her characters in a bit too much unproductive speculation, but the novel springs to life in the courtroom scenes, where careful investigation and astute teamwork produce some astonishing revelations that presage the end of Victorian propriety and an era's pretense of innocence. Major ad/promo; Mystery Guild main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

This book is more subtle and slower-moving than some.
Much of the rest of the book is slow-going with little happening either in the way of character development or plot advancement.
Donald Mitchell
I think Anne Perry is one of the best mystery writers of all time!
L. Hayes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By corglacier7 on August 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started on Anne Perry by recommendation of a friend, and loved the Monk series. At the time, "Twisted Root" had come out a few weeks before, so I read through the first nine to get caught up.
My first impression of "Weighed" was "What?" There was just nothing really grabbing at my attention about slander. True, Friedrich *may* have been murdered, but it didn't have the immediacy of the others.
But of course, I was reading through it sort of quickly to get caught up, and this *was* after I had finished the entire Pitt series and was a bit annoyed with how it got sort of bogged down after about eight books...
So I picked up "Weighed in the Balance" again a few months ago, and really read it. I was surprised at how different it seemed now that I considered it, and after I had read the later books too.
Granted, slander just doesn't grab you by the throat and demand your attention. I had the same initial problem with "Breach of Promise."
This re-reading also took place after my European history class had covered Germany in the nineteenth century, so I also had more historical perspective this time and could understand the German principalities and their concerns better.
This book is more subtle and slower-moving than some. But I still think it's a good entry into the Monk series. All along, I kept thinking "Gisela couldn't have done it--Zorah's toast!" But the reasoning for it made sense--it was well developed.
It was surprising and great to see emotionally corseted Oliver Rathbone take a risk and take up Zorah's cause. Though if you read, he sounds a little attracted to her...hmm! His development as more than the dry, skillful barrister was great to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book focuses on the political machinations of a small German realm prior to the unification of Germany. Most of the action is set in either Victorian England or Venice. The plot revolves around a slander suit against Countess Zorah Rostova by Princess (a courtesy title) Gisela. The countess has publicly accused the princess of murdering her husband, Prince Freidrich. The official cause of death was internal bleeding, following a riding accident.
The book develops from the perspectives of Ms. Rostova's barrister, Sir Oliver Rathbone, private investigator, William Monk, and his friend, nurse Hester Latterly. The countess is threatened with financial ruin, and Sir Oliver's career is on the line. Ultimately, the defense takes the tack of trying to prove that a murder has taken place. That search goes into unexpected areas.
The handling of the trial is masterly, and will please those who stick with the story that long. Much of the rest of the book is slow-going with little happening either in the way of character development or plot advancement. It often seems like filler.
If the book had focused on just the trial, this could have been a five star novella. If reduced to that area, there still would have been a few problems. The author never adequately explains why Sir Oliver and the countess faced financial ruin if the suit was lost. Barristers lose suits all of the time. Unless a plaintiff can prove substantial economic damages and malice, slander is not going to cost the defendent very much beyond the defense. Also, if this suit was so risky, it is not obvious why Sir Oliver took the case.
The trial has a great strength of doing some marvelous character development with the princess through the testimony that she and others provide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Anne Perry takes William Monk--and us--to the uppermost of the upper-crust in Europe: the royalty. There William flirts with a rich and powerful lady of the court while trying to find something--anything--that will help Oliver win the toughest court case of his career. He discovers that in his pre-amnesiac days, he had a taste for the good life. My, my. Meanwhile, back in London, Oliver realizes he's definitely bitten off more than he can chew. What was he thinking when he agreed to defend the beautiful, bewitching Zorah of her slanderous charge against Princess Giselda? Win or lose, his career will never be the same again. I honestly don't know what these guys would do without Hester. The woman has more common sense than the two of them put together. Why doesn't one of them see what a gem she is?? Maybe in the next book Oliver will at least take her in as an associate and start paying her for her advice! Meanwhile, put on the teakettle, break out the cookies, and enjoy this lighter-than-usual Perry production. .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gnomes Rule on August 9, 2008
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
This is not your usual Anne Perry, which is not an endorsement but more of a warning. From almost the very beginning of the story the author browbeats you with the one clue that if you know anything about flowers you will know who did the crime and how. There is very little suspense and no character development and by the end you couldn't care less if the beautiful (an adjective repeated constantly) Countess Zorah Rostova did the crime or not.

Referencing the audio version, the narrator does an admirable job with the narration and the male voices but he wasn't very good when it came to portraying the female characters lending a, if not intended, comedic slant to the book.
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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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