"A richly textured and timeless novel of suspense. Her Victorian England pulsates with life and is peopled with wonderfully memorable characters."
Although esteemed General Thaddeus Carlyon meets his death in a freak accident at home, his beautiful wife, Alexandra, confesses that she killed him. Investigator William Monk, nurse Hester Latterly, and the brilliant Oliver Rathbone, counsel for the defense, work feverishly to break down the wall of silence raised by the accused and her husband's proud family. With the trial only days away, they inch toward the dark and appalling heart of the mystery. The final act is a courtroom masterpiece, through which we dare not breathe too deeply, lest the precarious balance of a woman's life be lost.
Uneven but worthwhile, May 21, 2002 Reviewer: Eve Starr from San Antonio, TX United States 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.