The Shifting Tide by Anne Perry


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Throughout much of the long-running William Monk series, set in Victorian England, the former London police officer and now “private enquiry agent” has been defined by his amnesia. In book after book, Monk has struggled to regain knowledge of his identity before the coach accident that took his long-term memory. In Perry’s last Monk novel, Death of a Stranger (2002), the investigator regained his memory. In the latest, he barely remembers his amnesia at all and leaves the streets to work London’s “longest street,” the Thames. The question is: What is Monk without his amnesia? This book seems to abandon the now fully functioning Monk in favor of the far more varied and changeable Thames. After Monk is hired to investigate the theft of a cargo of ivory from a merchant ship and a related murder, he and the reader become aware of what a universe the river represents–and a crime-riddled one at that. It is fascinating to watch Monk try (and fail) to apply his London street smarts to a secretive milieu totally governed by the tides. Monk’s investigation blends into his wife’s work (Hester runs a clinic for assaulted or sick prostitutes) when a shipowner’s cast-off mistress is brought in to the clinic with a mysterious ailment. This ailment eventually threatens all of London. Sketchy characterization, a somewhat obvious plot, but marvelous historical material on the Thames. Connie FletcherCopyright ᆲ American Library Association. All rights reserved


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