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The Face of a Stranger (William Monk Series #1)

The Face of a Stranger (William Monk Series #1)

4.0 18
by Anne Perry

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"Richly textured with the sights and sounds of London and its countryside...Solidly absorbing and Perry's best to date."
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,


"Richly textured with the sights and sounds of London and its countryside...Solidly absorbing and Perry's best to date."
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.

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

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
William Monk Series , #1
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Blind Justice and A Sunless Sea, the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Death on Blackheath and Midnight at Marble Arch. She is also the author of a series of five World War I novels, as well as eleven holiday novels, most recently A New York Christmas, and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Scotland and Los Angeles.

Brief Biography

Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
Date of Birth:
October 28, 1938
Place of Birth:
Blackheath, London England

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The Face of a Stranger (William Monk Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to get started in this one, but worth it. Plan to buy more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
mcmullin More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great premise! An amnesiac detective, using his intelligence and that of his assistant , to unravel a case which would challenge an investigator with no impairment . The book is plotted fairly and wonderfully written. I look forward to the next.
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Arthur_Coombe More than 1 year ago
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.
JimJF More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BookaholicUT More than 1 year ago
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.
ravensegg More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.