cover image Blood on the Water: A William Monk Novel

Blood on the Water: A William Monk Novel

Anne Perry. Ballantine, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-345-54843-6

Bestseller Perry’s 20th William Monk Victorian historical (after 2013’s Blind Justice) opens with a powerful scene. Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, witnesses an explosion aboard a pleasure boat, which rapidly sinks. Despite his heroic efforts to save lives, almost 200 are lost in the tragedy, which the detective quickly concludes wasn’t an accident. To Monk’s dismay, the authorities take the case away from his force and assign it to the London Metropolitan Police. An Egyptian man, Habib Beshara, is charged with planting the bomb that caused the deadly explosion, though his motive is far from clear. Monk has misgivings about Beshara’s guilt, but with the case reassigned and a culprit identified, he can investigate only at risk to his career. The book’s endearing main characters—Monk; his wife, Hester; and their 16-year-old surrogate son, Scuff—help compensate for a mystery with less sociopolitical interest than Perry’s usual. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Sept.)