A Sunless Sea: A William Monk Novel

Anne Perry. Ballantine, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-51064-8
At the start of Perry’s searing 18th William Monk Victorian historical (after 2011’s Acceptable Loss), repeated screams prompt Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, to start rowing for shore. He disembarks at Limehouse Pier, where he encounters a hysterical woman pointing to an eviscerated female corpse. After identifying the victim as Zenia Gadney, the detective learns from Gadney’s neighbors that she used to have a regular gentleman caller, who stopped visiting a few months earlier. Later identified as Dr. Joel Lambourn, the doctor took his own life soon after the government rejected a report he’d written advocating accurate labeling on opium products. Lambourn’s researches prove to be of vital importance in cracking the murder case. After Monk begrudgingly arrests a suspect, his continued police work is supplemented by the courtroom efforts of Sir Oliver Rathbone, who has been retained for the defense. Much more than a whodunit, this book, possibly the author’s best yet, is especially effective at providing a nuanced look at a vital controversy of the day. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 08/28/2012
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