Nurse Hester Latterly, who served courageously in the Crimean War and has assisted former policeman William Monk in many of his investigations (the last, A Sudden, Fearful Death), is charged with murdering a patient for personal gain. Hester hires on to accompany aging but lively Mary Farraline by train from Edinburgh to London and to administer the proper dose of heart medication. But Mary dies en route-and her pearl brooch is discovered in Hester's bag. The dead woman's family, the police and most of Edinburgh are convinced that Hester killed her to obtain the pin. Coming to her aid are former policeman Monk, barrister Oliver Rathbone and Lady Callandra Daviot. Monk goes to Edinburgh to investigate the Farraline family, whose members have more than their share of secrets. But with no hard evidence in Hester's favor, it seems that not even the appearance of Florence Nightingale will rescue her from the gallows. The courtroom scenes from Hester's Edinburgh trial are as gripping as those of any contemporary legal thriller. Though the number of characters can be confusing, Perry keeps the plot taut, compelling and ringing with verisimilitude. Mystery Guild selection; Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994 Release date: 08/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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