FUNERAL IN BLUE
Release date: 10/01/2001
Audio Reviews reflect PW's assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version.
The uncut audio version of Perry's latest book about the enigmatic, rough-edged private detective William Monk and his wife, Hester—the no-nonsense nurse who learned her trade with Florence Nightingale in Crimea—is a veritable time machine. Aided by Colacci's cool but carefully calibrated reading, which cleverly cranks up the excitement when necessary, Perry's tale transports readers to Victorian London along with a splendid side trip to Vienna, as the Monks try to clear a doctor friend of two murder charges. Along the way, Perry gets to show off again her seamless talent for illustrating the era's social evils—this time addictive gambling and barely hidden anti-Semitism—without making her obviously prodigious research seem lumpy or excessive. There's more about period medical practices here than some listeners might have the stomach for, as Hester and Dr. Kristian Beck (the man accused of killing his wife and an artist's model) perform some very bloody surgery, but it certainly roots the story in reality. So do Perry's writing and Colacci's sly reading about women's fashions and what they had to say about the social roles of the people forced to wear them. This is a perfect example of an audiobook that deftly captures a book's spirit. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover. (Oct.)