Weighed in the Balance (William Monk Series #7)

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When Countess Zorah Rostova asks London barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone to defend her against a charge of slander, he is astonished to find himself accepting. For without a shred of evidence, the countess has publicly insisted that the onetime ruler of her small German principality was murdered by his wife, the woman who was responsible for the prince’s exile to Venice twenty years before. Private investigator William Monk and his friend Hester Latterly journey to the City of Water in an attempt verify the ...

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Weighed in the Balance (William Monk Series #7)

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When Countess Zorah Rostova asks London barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone to defend her against a charge of slander, he is astonished to find himself accepting. For without a shred of evidence, the countess has publicly insisted that the onetime ruler of her small German principality was murdered by his wife, the woman who was responsible for the prince’s exile to Venice twenty years before. Private investigator William Monk and his friend Hester Latterly journey to the City of Water in an attempt verify the countess’s claims, and though the two manage to establish that the prince was indeed murdered, as events unfold the likeliest suspect seems to be Countess Zorah herself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The denouement is unexpected and ingenious.”—Los Angeles Times
“[Takes] the reader clue-hunting through the glittery courts of Venice, London, and a never-never-land principality. It’s all rich as a warm scone slathered with jam and clotted cream.”—St. Petersburg Times
“Highly entertaining.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Victorian amnesiac sleuth William Monk's seventh appearance has him working to clear Countess Zorah Rostova of murder charges. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Victorian sleuth William Monk investigates murder among royals in this latest in a best-selling series (e.g., Cain His Brother, Fawcett, 1995).
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve years after middle-German Prince Friedrich abdicated his throne to marry Gisela Berentz, and four months after the Prince died following a fall from a horse, his intimate friend Countess Zorah Rostova retains Sir Oliver Rathbone, Q.C., to prove her innocent of a charge of slander. The Countess's proposed defense: What she said, publicly and repeatedly, was true—Princess Gisela really did murder her husband. Retaining inquiry agent William Monk (Cain His Brother, 1995, etc.) to gather evidence for the Countess's allegation, Sir Oliver soon finds that there is no evidence. By all accounts, the Prince and Princess were remarkably devoted to each other, and the rumors of a movement to return the Prince, unencumbered by the Princess his mother so disapproves of, to his throne and to a fight for independence from the surrounding states only points suspicion everywhere but toward the Princess. In fact, as Sir Oliver discovers when he's dragged into the Old Bailey, the evidence of fatal poisoning is far less strong against Princess Gisela than against his own client. It would be ironic if the key to the mystery lay with Robert Ollenheim, the paralyzed young patient of Hester Latterly, the nurse Monk cannot help loving—and a coincidence only Perry's most devoted fans will accept.

Indefatigable Perry serves up as arresting an opening as ever—she may write the strongest first chapters in the business—before miring her sleuths in endless dully civil conversations with titled nonentities and in a farcically incompetent trial that Sir Oliver should have tried even harder to avoid.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345514059
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Series: William Monk Series , #7
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 191,224
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Perry

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Assassin and The Shifting Tide, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane. She is also the 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 six holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Grace. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.


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 3.5
    ( 11 )
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    Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
    • Posted June 2, 2009

      Another Excellent William Monk Novel

      In her William Monk series, Anne Perry writes consistently good books. The stories are all mysteries set in Victorian England with some legal or judicial aspect, because one of the 3 main characters is a renowned barrister (trial lawyer). The setting (including the comments about Victorian society and its class distinctions and differences and how things were back in those days) and the characters are interesting, and the relationships among the 3 main characters add to the drama, interest, and tension in the stories. If you are a mystery reader, even if you've never tried any of the many Victorian offerings that exist, I believe you will be pleased with this novel, but I would recommend starting with the first of the series (The Face of a Stranger) and working up. It would certainly make the relationships among the main characters more understandable.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 3, 2014

      Love'em all

      I'm working my way through all the William Monk books - I find them all very engaging and are real page-turners. I'm trying to do them in order and in doing so, the characters become like old friends. I intend to read all of them.

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    • Posted April 18, 2012

      Annd Perry book titled: Weighed in the Balance - part of her William Monk series.

      I really enjoy reading the William Monk series written by Anne Perry. She has a way of writing that makes you want to keep turning the pages until you come to the end of the book

      There is a lot of intrigue in these books - a lot of clues that you think will lead to the killer and then you are off on another set of clues in an entirely different directio.

      I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and a challenge to see who the culprit really is.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 29, 2001

      Historical Mystery Is Solved Perry-Mason Style

      This book focuses on the political machinations of a small German realm prior to the unification of Germany. Most of the action is set in either Victorian England or Venice. The plot revolves around a slander suit against Countess Zorah Rostova by Princess (a courtesy title) Gisela. The countess has publicly accused the princess of murdering her husband, Prince Freidrich. The official cause of death was internal bleeding, following a riding accident. The book develops from the perspectives of Ms. Rostova's barrister, Sir Oliver Rathbone, private investigator, William Monk, and his friend, nurse Hester Latterly. The countess is threatened with financial ruin, and Sir Oliver's career is on the line. Ultimately, the defense takes the tack of trying to prove that a murder has taken place. That search goes into unexpected areas. The handling of the trial is masterly, and will please those who stick with the story that long. Much of the rest of the book is slow-going with little happening either in the way of character development or plot advancement. It often seems like filler. If the book had focused on just the trial, this could have been a five star novella. If reduced to that area, there still would have been a few problems. The author never adequately explains why Sir Oliver and the countess faced financial ruin if the suit was lost. Barristers lose suits all of the time. Unless a plaintiff can prove substantial economic damages and malice, slander is not going to cost the defendent very much beyond the defense. Also, if this suit was so risky, it is not obvious why Sir Oliver took the case. The trial has a great strength of doing some marvelous character development with the princess through the testimony that she and others provide. This was a virtuoso accomplishment because the princess is kept well hidden until then by her public image of being one-half of one of Europe's most romantic couples. The book has some interesting things to say about what happens after you get your wish. I suggest that if you do read the book that you consider the potential downsides of what you wish for, as well. Find the truth! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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