A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry

Anne Perry is the author of many bestselling mysteries set in Victorian London.

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A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry


  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.10 x 6.90 x 4.20
  • Publisher: Ivy Books; (September 1999)
  • ISBN: 0804118558

    The promises that are breached, broken, and never born in Anne Perry's rich and resonant new William Monk mystery all have to do with the roles and positions of women in Victorian society. At the center of the book is a rousing courtroom drama, as young Zillah Lambert--daughter of a wealthy, well-meaning northern businessman and his socially ambitious wife--sues an immensely gifted architect, Killian Melville. Melville, Zillah argues, failed to live up to his promise of marriage and thereby ruined her chances of making any sort of acceptable match. Private detective Monk is brought into the case by lawyer Oliver Rathbone when his client (Melville), facing financial and social ruin, still refuses to offer any reason for his dastardly conduct.

    Monk's attentions are occupied elsewhere, too. Hester Latterly, the courageous nurse who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, and whose favors Monk and Rathbone both desire, is looking after a British officer, Gabriel Sheldon, who was badly wounded and disfigured in India. Gabriel's wife, Perdita, is having trouble adjusting to her husband's broken body and spirit. "It was not Perdita's fault that she was confused and frightened," Monk muses. "She had been protected all her short life. She had not chosen to be, it was her assigned role." Monk has also promised a housemaid in the Sheldons' service that he will look for her two little nieces--deaf and deformed from birth--who were abandoned by their mother almost 20 years before. As the cases tangle and combine (perhaps a tad too coincidentally for some tastes, but, then again, real life is full of coincidences), Perry manages to show us the many ways in which women were made to pay for their place in a male-dominated society. She also delivers a touching and surprisingly suspenseful story. Other Monk books in paperback: The Silent Cry, Cain His Brother, Defend and Betray, Hardcover edition.

    Book Description
    2 cassettes / 3 hours
    Read by Simon Jones

    When Anne Perry sets her magic pen to paper, Victorian England awakens from her long sleep to vibrant, teeming life. Firelight flickers in luxurious withdrawing rooms. Ambitious ladies gossip and scheme. Horse-drawn carriages clatter over cobblestones while cries of flower sellers and newsboys ring out in crowded streets. In this magnificent new novel featuring investigator William Monk, however, it is the breathless hush of a London courtroom that first holds readers enthralled.

    The plaintiffs in a sensational breach of promise suit are wealthy social climbers Barton and Delphine Lambert, suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah's alleged fiancé, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Not even to his baffled counsel, distinguished barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone, will Killian explain his rejection of rich and charming Zillah.

    Utterly baffled, Rathbone turns for help to his old comrades in crime--Monk, the private investigator who knows his city like the back of his hand, and fearless nurse Hester Latterly. But even as they scout London for clues, from Mayfair to sordid Devil's Acre, the case suddenly and tragically ends. An outcome that no one--except a ruthless murderer--could have foreseen.

    Stripping away the pretty masks that conceal society's darkest transgressions, Anne Perry unflinchingly exposes the human heart's deepest hiding places--and creates the most mesmerizing courtroom drama of her distinguished career.

    --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Reader Reviews
    MORE TWISTS AND TURNS THAN A ROLLERCOASTER!!, March 7, 2003 Reviewer: Lois A. Quarles from Houston, TX USA This book "grabbed" me from the first page. I honestly felt as though I was there with the main characters, participating in their experiences and world. As I'd suspected, my INITIAL guess regarding the reason pretty young Zilla's supposed fiance "backed out" was totally "off-base," and made complete sense when it was ultimately divulged. The writing style is lively, EVERYTHING falls neatly into place, and thus I UNHESITATINGLY classify this novel as a COMPELLING "read." I had trouble putting it down once I got "into" it, and found the details related to life and customs during that period to be enlightening, particularly since I'm not a "well-versed" history buff, per se. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading works of general fiction which are neither exceedingly lengthy nor go into painstaking detail.

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