Execution Dock (William Monk Series #16)

Execution Dock (William Monk Series #16)

4.1 48
by Anne Perry
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

On the bustling docks along the River Thames, Great Britain’s merchant ships unload the treasures of the world. And here, in dank and sinister alleys, sex merchants ply their lucrative trade. The dreaded kingpin of this dark realm is Jericho Phillips, who seems far beyond the reach of the law. But when thirteen-year-old Fig is found with his throat cut,

Overview

On the bustling docks along the River Thames, Great Britain’s merchant ships unload the treasures of the world. And here, in dank and sinister alleys, sex merchants ply their lucrative trade. The dreaded kingpin of this dark realm is Jericho Phillips, who seems far beyond the reach of the law. But when thirteen-year-old Fig is found with his throat cut, Commander William Monk of the River Police swears that Phillips will hang for this abomination. Monk’s wife, Hester, draws a highly unusual guerrilla force to her husband’s cause—a canny ratcatcher, a retired brothel keeper, a fearless street urchin, and a rebellious society lady. To one as criminally minded as Phillips, these folks are mere mosquitoes, to be sure. But as he will soon discover, some mosquitoes can have a deadly sting.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Set in 1864, bestseller Perry's outstanding 16th novel to feature William Monk (after Dark Assassin) finds Monk suffering from a series of hard knocks, including memory loss. Now superintendent of the Thames River Police Force, Monk is on the verge of closing the books on Jericho Phillips, a particularly nasty villain who specializes in child pornography. Monk and his team catch Phillips, but what appears to be an airtight murder case springs leaks and ends with the accused's acquittal. Many in authority view the judgment as a rebuke to the river police, whose existence as a separate force is threatened. Convinced that he got the right man, despite the jury's verdict, Monk devotes himself to setting the record straight. Monk's wife, Hester, who works with London's downtrodden, provides support. Rich in plot development, believable characters and period detail, this entry will only add to the already sizable ranks of Perry's admirers. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Oliver Rathbone is asked by his father-in-law to defend pornographer and pimp Jericho Phillips, charged with the vicious murder of a 13-year-old boy. In court, Rathbone cleverly dismantles the circumstantial evidence and then shreds the reputations of Hester and William Monk (Buckingham Palace Gardens). It is left to William Monk, now commander of the Thames River Police, and his capable wife to find a way to bring Phillips to justice. The prolific Perry's latest mystery includes outstanding descriptions of Victorian London, her usual attention to detail, and her keen understanding of human motivations. Her depictions of the subtleties of interpersonal relationships are exceeded only by her remarkable portrayal of Rathbone, who offers insights into how a trial lawyer guides the testimony of witnesses, plots a strategy, and manipulates the emotions of the jury. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/1/08.]


—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
William Monk, now commander of the Thames River Police's Wapping Station, finally closes his late predecessor's last case. Everyone in Queen Victoria's London knows that Jericho Phillips is the scourge of the Thames. Holed up in a well-guarded craft, he keeps a stable of young boys working to provide an unending stream of photographs for gentlemen with a taste for sodomy and pornography. But knowing isn't proving, as Monk finds to his fury after he chases Phillips down and arrests him. None other than Sir Oliver Rathbone, the former suitor of Monk's wife Hester, is engaged by an anonymous client of Arthur Ballinger, Rathbone's father-in-law, to defend Phillips. Exploiting his insider's knowledge of the passionate hatred of Phillips that Monk inherited from Commander Durban, the mentor who died heroically in his last case (A Christmas Grace, 2008), Rathbone is able to persuade a jury that Monk's arrest was based on prejudice rather than facts. His defeat forces Monk and Hester to start all over again, this time with the knowledge that Phillips is fully aware of their intentions and ready to anticipate each move. Perry offers the usual fare, except that this time the ceremonious speeches decrying human-rights abuses are less facile and more directly relevant, and the courtroom scenes are more plausible. Only readers new to Monk's exploits can doubt the outcome. Perry hammers every point home mercilessly, but fans of this well-upholstered series have surely learned long since to deal with repetition.
From the Publisher
"Set in 1864, bestseller Perry's outstanding 16th novel to feature William Monk (after Dark Assassin) finds Monk suffering from a series of hard knocks, including memory loss. Now superintendent of the Thames River Police Force, Monk is on the verge of closing the books on Jericho Phillips, a particularly nasty villain who specializes in child pornography. Monk and his team catch Phillips, but what appears to be an airtight murder case springs leaks and ends with the accused's acquittal. Many in authority view the judgment as a rebuke to the river police, whose existence as a separate force is threatened. Convinced that he got the right man, despite the jury's verdict, Monk devotes himself to setting the record straight. Monk's wife, Hester, who works with London's downtrodden, provides support. Rich in plot development, believable characters and period detail, this entry will only add to the already sizable ranks of Perry's admirers."—Publishers Weekly


Praise for Anne Perry and her William Monk novels

Dark Assassin
“Brilliant . . . a page-turning thriller . . . blending compelling plotting with superbly realized human emotion and exquisite period detail.” —Jeffery Deaver, author of The Broken Window

The Shifting Tide
“An engrossing story that leaves the reader waiting for Monk’s next adventure . . . The mysterious and dangerous waterfront world of London’s ‘longest street,’ the Thames, comes to life.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Death of a Stranger
“[A] tantalizing puzzle . . . At last, in Death of a Stranger, the secrets of Monk’s past are dramatically revealed.”—New York Times Book Review


Funeral in Blue

“No one writes more elegantly than Perry, nor better conjures up the rich and colorful tapestry of London in the Victorian era. But for all its arcane setting and stylistic eloquence, Funeral in Blue is an old-style private eye novel—and an extremely good one.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Slaves of Obsession

“Luxuriant . . . It’s E. M. Forster spliced with Thomas Harris. . . . Perry is a master.”—Baltimore Sun

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410414038
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
03/24/2009
Series:
William Monk Series , #16
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
553
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Dark Assassin


By Anne Perry

Random House

Anne Perry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0345469291


Chapter One

ONE

Waterloo Bridge loomed in the distance as William Monk settled himself more comfortably in the bow of the police boat. There were four men, himself as senior officer, and three to man the four oars. Rowing randan, it was called. Monk sat rigid in his uniform coat. It was January and bitterly cold as he and his companions patrolled the Thames for accidents, missing craft, and stolen cargo. The wind ruffled the water and cut the skin like the edge of a knife, but he did not want anyone to see him shivering.

It was five weeks since he had accepted the position leading this section of the River Police. It was a debt of honor he already regretted profoundly, the more so with every freezing, sodden day as 1863 turned into 1864 and the winter settled ruthlessly over London and its teeming waterway.

The boat rocked in the wash of a string of barges going upriver on the incoming tide. Orme, at the stern, steadied the boat expertly. He was a man of average height, but deceptive suppleness and strength, and a kind of grace exhibited as he managed the oar. Perhaps he had learned in his years on the water how easy it was to capsize a boat with sudden movement.

They were pulling closer to the bridge. In the gray afternoon, before the lamps were lit, they could see the traffic crossing: dark shadows of hansoms andfour-wheelers. They were still too far away to hear the clip of horses' hooves above the sound of the water. A man and woman stood on the footpath close to the railing, facing each other as if in conversation. Monk thought idly that whatever they were saying must matter to them intensely for it to hold their attention in such a bleak, exposed place. The wind tugged at the woman's skirts. At that height, where there was no shelter, she must have been even colder than Monk was.

Orme guided the boat a little further out into the stream. They were going downriver again, back towards the station at Wapping where they were headquartered. Six weeks ago Inspector Durban had been commander and Monk had been a private agent of enquiry. Monk still could not think of it without a tightening of the throat--a loneliness and a guilt he could not imagine would ever leave him. Each time he saw a group of River Police and one of them walked slowly with a smooth, ambling stride, a little rounded at the shoulder, he expected him to turn and he would see Durban's face. Then memory came back, and he knew it could not be.

The bridge was only two hundred feet away now. The couple were still there against the balustrade. The man held her by the shoulders as if he would take her in his arms. Perhaps they were lovers. Of course, Monk could not hear their words--the wind tore them from the couple's mouths--but their faces were alive with a passion that was clearer with every moment as the boat drew towards them. Monk wondered what it was: a quarrel, a last farewell, even both?

The police oarsmen were having to pull hard against the incoming tide.

Monk looked up again just in time to see the man struggling with the woman, holding her fiercely as she clung to him. Her back was to the railing, bending too far. Instinctively he wanted to call out. A few inches more and she would fall!

Orme, too, was staring up at them now.

The man grasped at the woman and she pulled away. She seemed to lose her balance and he lunged after her. Clasped together, they teetered for a desperate moment on the edge, then she pitched backwards. He made a wild attempt to catch her. She flung out a hand and gripped him. But it was too late. They both plunged over the side and spun crazily, like a huge, broken-winged bird, until they hit the racing, filthy water and were carried on top of it, not even struggling, while it soaked into them, dragging them down.

Orme shouted, and the oarsmen dug their blades in deep. They threw their backs against the weight of the river, heaving, hurtling them forward.

Monk, his heart in his mouth, strained to keep the bodies in sight. They had only a hundred feet to go, and yet he knew already that it was too late. The impact of hitting the water would stun them and drive the air out of their lungs. When at last they did gasp inward, it would be the icy water laden with raw sewage, choking them, drowning them. Still, senselessly he leaned forward over the bow, shouting, "Faster, faster! There! No . . . there!"

They drew level, turning a little sideways. The oarsmen kept the boat steady in the current and the changing balance as Orme heaved the body of the young woman over the gunwale. Awkwardly, as gently as he could, he laid her inside. Monk could see the other body, but it was too far away to reach, and if he stretched he could tip the boat.

"Port!" he instructed, although the oarsmen were already moving to do it. He reached over carefully to the half-submerged body of the young man, whose coat was drifting out in the water, his boots dragging his legs downwards. Awkwardly, straining his shoulders, Monk hauled him up over the gunwale and in, laying him on the bottom of the boat next to the young woman. He had seen many dead people before, but the sense of loss never diminished. From the victim's pale face, smeared with dirt from the river water and plastered with hair across the brow, he appeared about thirty. He had a mustache but was otherwise clean-shaven. His clothes were well cut and of excellent quality. The hat he had been wearing on the bridge was gone.

Orme was standing, balancing easily, looking down at Monk and the young man.

"Nothing we can do for either of 'em, sir," he said. "Drown quick going off the bridge like that. Pity," he added softly. "Looks no more'n twenty, she does. Nice face."

Monk sat back on the bench. "Anything to indicate who she was?" he asked.

Orme shook his head.

"If she 'ad one of 'em little bags ladies carry, it's gone, but there's a letter in 'er pocket addressed to Miss Mary 'Avilland o' Charles Street. It's postmarked already, like it's bin sent and received, so could be it's 'er."

Monk leaned forward and systematically went through the pockets of the dead man, keeping his balance with less ease than Orme as the boat began the journey downstream, back towards Wapping. There was no point in putting a man ashore to look for witnesses to the quarrel, if that was what it had been. They could not identify the traffic that had been on the bridge, and on the water they themselves had seen as much as anyone. Two people quarrelling--or kissing and parting--who lost their balance and fell. There was nothing anyone could add.

Actually, as far as Monk could remember, there had been no one passing at exactly that moment. It was the hour when the dusk is not drawn in sufficiently for the lamps to be lit, but the light wanes and the grayness of the air seems to delude the eye. Things are half seen; the imagination fills in the rest, sometimes inaccurately.

Monk turned to the man's pockets and found a leather wallet with a little money and a case carrying cards. He was apparently Toby Argyll, of Walnut Tree Walk, Lambeth. That was also south of the river, not far from the girl's address on Charles Street off the Westminster Bridge Road. Monk read the information aloud for Orme.

The boat was moving slowly, as only two men were rowing. Orme squatted on the boards near Argyll's body. On the shore the lamps were beginning to come on, yellow moons in the deepening haze. The wind had the breath of ice in it. It was time to trim their own riding lights, or they would be struck by barges--or the ferries going crosscurrent--carrying passengers from one bank to the other.

Monk lit the lantern and carefully moved back to where Orme had laid the woman. She lay on her back. Orme had folded her hands and smoothed the hair off her face. Her eyes were closed, her skin already gray-white, as if she had been dead longer than just the few minutes since they had seen her on the bridge.

She had a wide mouth and high cheekbones under delicately arched brows. It was a very feminine face, both strong and vulnerable, as if she had been filled with high passions in life.

"Poor creature," Orme said softly. "S'pose we'll never know wot made 'er do it. Mebbe 'e were breakin' orff an engagement, or somethin'." The expression on his face was all but masked by the deepening shadows, but Monk could hear the intense pity in his voice.

Monk suddenly realized he was wet up to the armpits from having lifted the body out of the water. He was shuddering with cold and it was hard to speak without his teeth chattering. He would have given all the money in his pocket for a hot mug of tea with a lacing of rum in it. He could not remember ever being this perishingly cold on shore.

Suicide was a crime, not only against the state but in the eyes of the Church as well. If that was the coroner's verdict, she would be buried in unhallowed ground. And there was the question of the young man's death as well. Perhaps there was no point in arguing it, but Monk did so instinctively. "Was he trying to stop her?"

The boat was moving slowly, against the tide. The water was choppy, slapping at the wooden sides and making it difficult for two oarsmen to keep her steady.

Orme hesitated for several moments before answering. "I dunno, Mr. Monk, an' that's the truth. Could've bin. Could've bin an accident both ways." His voice dropped lower. "Or could've bin 'e pushed 'er. It 'appened quick."

"Do you have an opinion?" Monk could hardly get the words out clearly, he was shaking so much.

"You'd be best on an oar, sir," Orme said gravely. "Get the blood movin', as it were."

Monk accepted the suggestion. Senior officers might not be supposed to row like ordinary constables, but they were not much use frozen stiff or with pneumonia, either.

He moved to the center of the boat and took up one of the oars beside Orme. After several strokes he got into the rhythm and the boat sped forward, cutting the water more cleanly. They rowed a long way without speaking again. They passed under Blackfriars Bridge towards the Southwark Bridge, which was visible in the distance only by its lights. The wind was like a knife edge, slicing the breath almost before it reached the lungs.

Monk had accepted his current position in the River Police partly as a debt of honor. Eight years ago he had woken up in hospital with no memory at all. Fact by fact he had assembled an identity, discovering things about himself, not all of which pleased him. At that time he was a policeman, heartily disliked by his immediate superior, Superintendent Runcorn. Their relationship had deteriorated until it became a debatable question whether Monk had resigned before or after Runcorn had dismissed him. Since the detection and solving of crime was the only profession he knew, and he was obliged to earn his living, he had taken up the same work privately.

But circumstances had altered in the late autumn of last year. The need for money had compelled him to accept employment with shipping magnate Clement Louvain, his first experience on the river. Subsequently he had met Inspector Durban and had become involved with the Maude Idris and its terrible cargo. Now Durban was dead, but before his death he had recommended Monk to succeed him in his place at the Wapping station.

Durban could have had no idea how Monk had previously failed in commanding men. The former policeman was brilliant, but he had never worked easily with others, either in giving or taking orders. Runcorn would have told Durban that, would have told him that--clever or not, brave or not--Monk was not worth the trouble he would cost. Monk had been mellowed by time and circumstance, and above all, perhaps, by marriage to Hester Latterly, who had nursed in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale and was a good deal more forthright than most young women. She loved him with a fierce loyalty and a startling passion, but she also very candidly expressed her own opinions. Even so, Runcorn would have advised Superintendent Farnham to find someone else to take the place of a man like Durban, who had been wise, experienced, and profoundly admired.


Excerpted from Dark Assassin by Anne Perry Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

ANNE PERRY is the bestselling author of the World War I novels No Graves as Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep; as well as five holiday novels: A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Visitor, A Christmas Guest, A Christmas Secret, and A Christmas Beginning. She is also the creator of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England. Her William Monk novels include Dark Assassin, The Shifting Tide, and Death of a Stranger. The popular novels featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt include Long Spoon Lane, Seven Dials, and Southampton Row. Her short story "Heroes" won an Edgar Award. Anne Perry lives in Scotland. Visit her website at anneperry.net.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
Date of Birth:
October 28, 1938
Place of Birth:
Blackheath, London England
Website:
http://www.anneperry.net

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Execution Dock (William Monk Series #16) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Purrkz More than 1 year ago
The long-awaited 16th installment of Anne Perry's intriguing William Monk series, "Executioner's Dock," amply demonstrates why the series is so popular. Perry has moved up to my elite list -- authors whose books I buy in hardcover -- and I kick myself because I never read any of her books until two years ago. Monk, of the Thames River Police, and his indomitable wife Hester are hard-pressed to bring an elusive villain to justice. Of all the "baddies" in previous episodes, this one is among the worst. Monk's mudlark helper Scuff is in jeopardy and the reader feels the panic Hester and Monk experience as they plan the rescue. Fortunately, they have help from the complicated barrister Oliver Rathbone, the ratcatcher Sutton and his dog, and the group teams up for a page-turning denouement. This book does stand alone, but why not give yourself the enjoyment of the 15 previous books in the series? You will meet some of the most three-dimensional characters in mystery fiction, learn about life in London in the 1860s, go into well-described settings, and best of all, "see" Perry's characters in action as she uses body language details to let the reader view them in action. I can't think of any other contemporary writer who does this half as well, and it gives these Monk books a very cinematic feel. And when you finish these 16 books, then you can enjoy the 25-book Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1864, now the head of the Thames River Police, William Monk is anxious to arrest Jericho Phillips and see him hung. The odious Phillips is a child pornographer who kidnaps young boys and forces them to perform perverted deeds. He makes a lucrative business as a supplier of kids to his pedophile customers and takes photos of the young in sexual acts that he sells to the stores.

Monk apprehends the lowlife, who is on trial defended by the police chief¿s friend Sir Oliver Rathbone at the bequest of his father-in-law; who insists everyone deserves a good lawyer. Oliver tears into the prosecution¿s airtight case leading to the defendant walking away free and Mon¿s reputation sunk into the sift on the bottom of the Thames. Monk, his wife Hester and others are more determined than ever to see Phillips hang, but rumors spread about their methods and judgment leading to condemnation of the chief and his police force as stalkers. Phillips has clients in high places who refuse to lose their pleasure connection, but when the pedophile take something Monk treasures all hell breaks loose.

It has been too long (2006 DARK ASSASSIN) since Anne Perry has written a Monk Victorian Era police procedural, but fans of the series will feel the wait was worth waiting. Readers are taken on a tour of the Thames just after Queen Victoria¿s beloved Consort prince Albert dies. Monk is as efficient as ever, but his efforts are purposely misinterpreted so that he seems more like Les Miserables' (by Hugo) malevolent stalking Police Detective Javert chasing Valjean over a stolen loaf of bread (note that novel occurs during the reign of Napoleon III so is the same age as the Monk thriller). Hester is a free thinking woman not afraid to act on her own so Monk has learned throughout the series to rely on her as she always comes through. Readers will enjoy this riveting historical mystery.

Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the 'Monk' books and this is one of the best. I only wish there were more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a worthy addition to the Monk series. As usual, well written and holds one in an iron grip til the very end.
C2Quips More than 1 year ago
I like the fact that this story starts in the courtroom with the defeat of a case brought forth by the River Police (i.e., Monk). Perry has researched her history, with references to various squalid areas of London and the denizens making their living there. The plot is modern, but works in 19th century London. The characters are interesting and original (to the series). My only quibble is the angst that sometimes drips a little too heavily among the main characters--but I overlook it because it's still a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
V
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dock is very similar looking to sorrel, however they have very disparate uses. Dock leaves are chewed and applied to soothe scratches. Howbeit, sorrel is used in traveling herbs to provide extra strength. Sorrel is found near twoleg nests, while dock is mainly found in the forest.<p> Question 5]] This leafy plant is hard to find in the wild, but common near twoleg nests. This herb is the best remedy for greencough.
Dieverdog More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Anne Perry - I love her William Monk series. I didn't think I'd like it as much now that Monk is working on the River Police, but she's keeping it fresh and interesting and the characters keep evolving and coming up on new challenges. I like that Hester and Monk have taken on the friendship with with the river rat/urchin, it adds a nice element to the story. I highly recommend this one from Perry - especially if you enjoy the William Monk/Hester series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What more can I add, enjoy all Anne Perry's Monk series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Used for sore pads and small cuts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago