The Face of a Stranger (William Monk Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Richly textured with the sights and sounds of London and its countryside...Solidly absorbing and Perry's best to date."
THE KIRKUS REVIEWS
His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which ...
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The Face of a Stranger (William Monk Series #1)

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Overview

"Richly textured with the sights and sounds of London and its countryside...Solidly absorbing and Perry's best to date."
THE KIRKUS REVIEWS
His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which makes Monk's efforts doubly difficult, since he's forgotten his professional skills along with everything else....
A Dual Main Selection of the Mystery Guild

From the Paperback edition.

Perry's new hero is William Monk, a Victorian London police detective whose memory has vanished because of an accident. Trying to hide that fact, Monk returns to work and is assigned to the murder case of an exalted war hero. Slowly, the darkness fades as each new revelation leads Monk to a terrifying conclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Branching out from her popular Victorian London sleuthing team, Inspector Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte, Perry ( Cardington Crescent ) introduces another exemplary ``Peeler'' (as in Bobby Peele, the first ``bobby''), detective William Monk, in this period mystery with a pronounced and satisfying psychological dimension. After an accident in his carriage, Monk wakes up with no memory; ashamed to admit it, he bluffs his way through recovery and returns to work, where he is assigned a particularly tricky investigation of a young nobleman's brutal murder. While tracking the last affairs of Joscelinsp ok? yes Grey, Monk traces his own history and dislikes what he turns up on both fronts. Uncovering unpleasant secrets within Grey's aristocratic family, he also finds his gradually revealed former self to have been ambitious, cold and perhaps cruel. Integral to Perry's rich, unpredictable plot is the Crimean War, graphically described by Hester Latterly, a forthright young woman of the middle class who nursed there with Florence Nightingale. While Monk's unwillingness to face directly the questions of his past is often a stumbling block, forbearing readers will be amply rewarded by Perry's resolutions of both mysteries. Mystery Guild dual main selection. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Perry gives the popular Inspector Pitt a rest, but remains in Victorian England with a new character. William Monk, attached to the police in 1856 London, returns to work with amnesia after otherwise recovering from a nasty accident. Assigned to solve the murder of an aristocrat wounded in the Crimean War, he discovers, while hiding his memory loss from others, that he abhors his own character. As usual with Perry, class distinction, sexual inequality, and personal introspection are integral to the plot. Several revelatory scenes display especially caustic wit and careful observation. Mystery Guild dual main selection.
School Library Journal
YA-- Readers are immediately immersed into the Victorian world of William Monk as he awakens from a coma in a squalid London hospital. Leaving in a semi-amnesic state, he finds his flat through a receipt in his pocket. Gradually, as he begins to solve a much-publicized murder case, Monk's established abilities as an investigator are renewed. As he unravels the case, he also comes to know his own past. Perry leads readers to the solutions of the two mysteries with a fine, comfortable style and descriptions of turn-of-the-century London that are vivid and accurate.-- Diane Goheen, Topeka West High School, KS
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307777836
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/11/2011
  • Series: William Monk Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 58,062
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Anne Perry
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.

Biography

Born in London in October 1938, Anne Perry was plagued with health problems as a young child. So severe were her illnesses that at age eight she was sent to the Bahamas to live with family friends in the hopes that the warmer climate would improve her health. She returned to her family as a young teenager, but sickness and frequent moves had interrupted her formal education to the extent that she was finally forced to leave school altogether. With the encouragement of her supportive parents, she was able to "fill in the gaps" with voracious reading, and her lack of formal schooling has never held her back.

Although Perry held down many jobs—working at various times as a retail clerk, stewardess, limousine dispatcher, and insurance underwriter—the only thing she ever seriously wanted to do in life was to write. (In her '20s, she started putting together the first draft of Tathea, a fantasy that would not see print until 1999.) At the suggestion of her stepfather, she began writing mysteries set in Victorian London; and in 1979, one of her manuscripts was accepted for publication. The book was The Cater Street Hangman, an ingenious crime novel that introduced a clever, extremely untidy police inspector named Thomas Pitt. In this way an intriguing mystery series was born…along with a successful writing career.

In addition to the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels, Perry crafts darker, more layered Victorian mysteries around the character of London police detective William Monk, whose memory has been impaired by a coach accident. (Monk debuted in 1990's The Face of a Stranger.) She also writes historical novels set during the First World War (No Graves as Yet, Shoulder the Sky, etc.) and holiday-themed mysteries (A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Secret, etc), and her short stories have been included in several anthologies.

Good To Know

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Anne Perry:

The first time I made any money telling a story I was four and a half years old—golden hair, blue eyes, a pink smocked dress, and neat little socks and shoes. I walked home from school (it was safe then) with my lunchtime sixpence unspent. A large boy, perhaps 12 or 13, stopped me. He was carrying a stick and threatened to hit me if I didn't give him my sixpence. I told him a long, sad story about how poor we were—no food at home, not even enough money for shoes! He gave me his half crown—five times sixpence! It's appalling! I didn't think of it as lying, just escaping with my sixpence. How on earth he could have believed me I have no idea. Perhaps that is the knack of a good story—let your imagination go wild, pile on the emotions—believe it yourself, evidence to the contrary be damned. I am not really proud of that particular example!

I used to live next door to people who had a tame dove. They had rescued it when it broke its wing. The wing healed, but it never learned to fly again. I used to walk a mile or so around the village with the dove. Its little legs were only an inch or two long, so it got tired, then it would ride on my head. Naturally I talked to it. It was a very nice bird. I got some funny looks. Strangers even asked me if I knew there was a bird on my head! Who the heck did they think I was talking to? Of course I knew there was a bird on my head. I'm not stupid—just a writer, and entitled to be a little different. I'm also English, so that gives me a second excuse!

On the other hand I'm not totally scatty. I like maths, and I used to love quadratic equations. One of the most exciting things that happened to me was when someone explained non-Euclidean geometry to me, and I suddenly saw the infinite possibilities in lateral thinking! How could I have been so blind before?

Here are some things I like—and one thing I don't:

  • I love wild places, beech trees, bluebell woods, light on water—whether the light is sunlight, moonlight, or lamplight; and whether the water is ocean, rain, snow, river, mist, or even a puddle.

  • I love the setting sun in autumn over the cornstooks.

  • I love to eat raspberries, pink grapefruit, crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

  • I love gardens where you seem to walk from "room to room," with rambling roses and vines climbing into the trees and sudden vistas when you turn corners.

  • I love white swans and the wild geese flying overhead.

  • I dislike rigidity, prejudice, ill-temper, and perhaps above all, self-righteousness.

  • I love laughter, mercy, courage, hope. I think that probably makes me pretty much like most people. But that isn't bad.
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      1. Also Known As:
        Juliet Hulme
      2. Hometown:
        Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
      1. Date of Birth:
        October 28, 1938
      2. Place of Birth:
        Blackheath, London England

    Table of Contents

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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 17 )
    Rating Distribution

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    3 Star

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    Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted June 21, 2013

      loved it

      Hard to get started in this one, but worth it. Plan to buy more in this series.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 13, 2013

      Original and well written. Described the social tensions of the

      Original and well written. Described the social tensions of the time well. Characters are likeable because they are flawed. Good twists at the end. Made me want to read more. 

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 20, 2001

      Wonderful & Fascinating Novel so Far...

      I just bought this novel for X-mas and this novel is great and I love the way she had started the mystery: A man who is laid in the hospital and doesn't remember his name or anything about himself. Now a man who fought in the war Joscelin Grey is found in his room brutally killed. Now Monk is investigation with a colleague by the name of Evan and when Monk solves the crime he is starting to solve the crime and starting to solve his past. Anne Perry knows how to write a Victorian Mystery and this is a Victorian Mystery. This book is great so far that I'm going to buy the next 2 Monk books! The Face of A Stranger is fascinating to read with describing the streets of London and also her characters are fully developed.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 22, 2013

      Interesting premise - looking forward to the next book.

      The concept of a detective with severe amnesia being able to successfully resolve a rather complex mystery was a bit to overcome but the action and character development was excellent and kept me turning the pages. I'm anxious to read the next in the series.

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    • Posted December 23, 2012

      more from this reviewer

      Good read for Anglophiles. Set in Victorian England, it's atmos

      Good read for Anglophiles.
      Set in Victorian England, it's atmospheric and descriptive and will probably be enjoyed by anyone interested in that era. For me, the most interesting aspect was the interaction between people of different classes: for example, aristocracy and middle class.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted October 28, 2012

      The Face of a Stranger makes the reader look in a mirror

      Ann Perry takes the reader step by step as Monk works to learn his identity and at the same time solve the murder of Joselin Grey. The reader finds themselves thrust into solving the crime along side Monk, Hester and Evan. A must read for anyone who likes mystery and period history.

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    • Posted December 27, 2011

      Rather Interesting

      This book is intrigueing and contains a look into a European war being waged shortly before our Civil War. The characters are well defined and developed, and the progression of the story is far from predictable. I learned about several peculiarities in the British way of speaking as they relate to how English has evolved in the USA. I had to look up Peelers for instance. I plan to read some more of Anne Perry.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 4, 2011

      Slow start, but a good book

      I read this book right after reading a fluffy, easy-to-read mystery so it was a little hard to get into. Once I got into the groove of the book, I was hooked. I finished quickly and was pleased with the ending. I am currently reading the second book in the series.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 18, 2011

      Love the series, HATE the typesetting and paper

      The entire William Monk series by Anne Perry is a must read for anybody interested in historical mysteries. It is absorbing and well written. I was excited to see that recently (i.e., over the past few years) Ballentine Books is re-publishing the entire series in paperback. While the covers are absolutely beautiful, unfortunately, the paper that they use for the book is of mediocre quality. Further, given that the print is painfully small, with a poor choice of font and close typesetting, it becomes difficult to read this particular reprint of the book. The new paperbacks are definitely not worth the ~$15 price tag. I was a little surprised by this since the Random House Publishing Group has a reputation for quality work and Ballantine Books is one of their divisions.

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    • Posted October 6, 2009

      Great Early Victorian Series

      I bought this novel when it first came out in paperback and have bought each of the books in the series as thwy came out. Although Mr. Monk's knowledge of himself does not come back completely in this book, there is additional information about his history in each new book. I like that about the series. It keeps it fresh to wonder what Anne Perry will reveal about him in the next book.

      She does a good job of showing the stratified society of the Victorian age in both of her series. The William Monk series is set in the early Victorian age and touches on the Crimean and U.S. Civil wars. Her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt serries is set in the late Victorian age. If you like historical fiction Anne Perry's books are worth reading. I recommend both series to the new comer.

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    • Posted October 6, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      Interesting Read, Interesting Author

      Perry is an interesting author; her books are interesting to read for their own sake, but even more fascinating if read with her personal history in mind. Having been jailed for murder herself in her juvenile years, Perry spends a lot of time exploring themes of morality and ethics in her books, and clearly empathizes with the deeply flawed leads in this particular series, perhaps more vividly than in her Thomas Pitt novels. I actually prefer the early books in the Monk series to any of Perry's other novels, specifically because the lead characters' flaws are deeper and more significant than later on, when experience and marital contentment have smoothed out their rough edges somewhat.

      A warning of sorts: These are novels depicting Victorian England, and both the style of the writing and the concerns they explore - social and political and religious mores of the period - are appropriate to that setting, although somewhat more graphic than books of that period would have been. If you are not particularly conversant with or interested in Victorian literature, you may find Perry's books to be inappropriate for a Light Read.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 15, 2007

      Heavy reading with no closure

      For several years I have been curious about Anne Perry¿s writing. I thought the premise of an amnesiac protagonist was interesting, so I decided to start from the beginning of the series and purchased THE FACE OF A STRANGER. In the first chapter, Detective Monk awakens in the hospital not remembering anyone or anything. After leaving the hospital, Monk returns to work and begins searching for the killer of a young socialite. Though I learned a few things about the Crimean war, I found the novel to be quite heavy-handed and uninteresting. I felt no connection with the murder victim or his family. The descriptions of the aristocracy and their dinner parties seemed unnecessary and boring. Though I understand the period in which the novel was written, I did not like the way in which women were portrayed as empty-headed and overly-emotional¿needing to be protected from the real world. When I finally managed to finish the novel I was very disappointed with the abrupt conclusion. I leafed through the remaining pages of the book hoping to find an epilogue only to discover that what I had read was indeed the end of the story. I was left wondering how Ms. Perry has managed to continue this series for so long. THE FACE OF A STRANGER was a great disappointment and will definitely end up in my giveaway pile.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 31, 2008

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted December 27, 2012

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted June 22, 2013

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted November 9, 2013

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted November 23, 2009

      No text was provided for this review.

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