cover image The Silent Cry

The Silent Cry

Anne Perry. Ballantine Books, $24.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-449-90848-8

Although lacking the panache of last year's Weighted in the Balance, William Monk's eighth outing adds to Perry's convincing yet disturbing picture of early Victorian London. Hired to find men whose evening entertainment runs to raping and beating prostitutes in the slum of St. Giles, Monk soon brushes up against murder: Leighton Duff, a respectable solicitor, was found beaten to death in St. Giles, with his son, Rhys Duff, nearby, barely alive. Despite his receiving excellent care from Hester Latterly, the nurse with whom Monk shares a volatile relationship, physical and emotional injuries have reduced Rhys to virtual silence: he can't speak and his hands are broken. Inquiries conducted by Monk and by the police suggest that Rhys was in the right place to beat the women (which interests police not at all) and murder Leighton (which interests them greatly). But, as in other Perry mysteries, it takes more than one perspective to reveal the truth, and Latterly maintains that Rhys, despite his displays of inarticulate rage, is innocent. When Latterly recruits barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone to Rhys's cause, and Sir Oliver naturally hires Monk to gather evidence, the investigator must question what he thinks he knows. Although the young man's silence and the suspicions surrounding him are ultimately resolved and tied neatly into the plot, readers may feel they are bearing the weight of this contrivance like so much overpacked luggage. (Oct.)