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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blood on the Water by Anne Perry

I started reading Anne Perry years ago; she has several series, but my favorite is the one featuring Monk & Hester.  Although it has been a long time since I've read any of Perry's novels, when NetGalley offered a new book with Monk & Hester, I jumped on it.

William Monk is now commander of the River Police and is on the water when an explosion sinks a pleasure boat full of revelers.  The explosion sinks the boat within minutes, and Monk and Orme are immediately pressed into rescuing survivors.  

Of some 200 people aboard the Princess Mary, only a few survive, and the event sends shock waves that reverberate throughout England.  Monk vows to discover who was responsible, but very quickly, to his great frustration, the River Police are removed from the investigation.  

A conspiracy to cover up is evidently in place, and it isn't clear how far up the corruption extends.  An Egyptian man is caught, tried, and convicted, but there are obvious flaws in the investigation that fail to place the man on the Princess Mary.  When some of the problems with the conviction surface, the investigation is handed back to Monk and the River Police, but by then all of the evidence and witness testimony is contaminated, and Monk and his team seem to be set up for failure.  The motivation for the bombing is still unclear, and it is the motivation that will eventually reveal who is responsible.  

Characters from previous novels are back in play, and Perry is so good at giving life to secondary characters that it is always a pleasure to see them again.  I missed the novel preceding this one, so I'm curious about the circumstances surrounding Sir Oliver Rathbone and Scuff (Scuff was new to me, but Sir Oliver has been in most of this series).  

The second trial is sometimes a bit tedious and repetitious. And the involvement of several of the individuals who are so determined to impede justice doesn't feel adequately explained.  I was surprised at the ultimate cause of the cover up, however.   

Even if the section concerning the second trial was a bit slow, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Monk and Hester in action again.  Once again, Perry effectively develops her characters and immerses the reader in a Victorian England that feels authentic.

Read in July; blog post scheduled for Aug. 12, 2014.

NetGalley/Random House/Ballentine

Historic Fiction/Mystery.  Sept. 9, 2014.  Print length:  320 pages.


  1. I have only ever read her Inspector and Charlotte Pitt series, which I've enjoyed. I haven't read one of her books in years, however. I've been curious about this series as well as her World War I series.

  2. I started with the Pitt series, but ended up with Monk & Hester. Haven't read any of the WWI or Christmas books. :)

  3. I've read a bunch of the Christmas novellas, having received them as gifts. In these, Perry takes a secondary character and puts them in the lead. They are often dark, Christmas tales, which isn't surprising knowing Perry's history. I remember Scuff, I think, from a previous book. I have always enjoyed the Pitts' books for the glimpse into household routines of the day.

  4. This sounds good, even with its flaws. I have been meaning to read something by this author for years.

  5. I've never read any of her books, so your review had me intrigued! I'll have to check them out! Thanks for the lovely review!

  6. I haven't read one of these for ages -- the early ones were really good, and nicely dark too in themes.

  7. Teresa - I didn't realize that was how she wrote the Christmas novellas. That makes it more interesting!

  8. Irene - This is the first time in years for me, too!

    Melody - Although I haven't read any of her newer series, I enjoyed the Inspector Pitt & Charlotte and the Monk & Hester books. If you like Victorian mysteries, these will fill the bill.

    Vicki - Perry can evoke great atmosphere, and I did enjoy her characters.