As her New York Times bestselling novels always remind us, Anne Perry is a matchless guide to both the splendor and the shame of the British Empire at the height of its influence. In her twentieth William Monk mystery, she brings us to London’s grand Mayfair mansions, where the arrogant masters of the Western world hold sway—and to the teeming Thames waterfront, where one summer afternoon, Monk witnesses the horrifying explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, which sends to their deaths nearly two hundred merrymakers.
The tragedy is no accident. As commander of the River Police, Monk should handle the case, but the investigation is turned over to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. An Egyptian man is swiftly caught, tried, and sentenced to die. But almost as quickly, Monk presents evidence that Habib Beshara, though a nasty piece of work, was elsewhere at the time of the blast. The investigation, now in complete disarray, is hastily turned over to Monk.
Is the crime connected with the soon-to-be-opened Suez Canal, which will enormously benefit wealthy British shipping companies? Or did all of those innocent people drown to ensure the death of just one? How did the bomber board the ship, and how did he manage to escape? Is he an anarchist or a madman?
Backed up by his astute wife, Hester, and his old reliable friend Oliver Rathbone, Monk vows to find answers—but instead finds himself treading the dangerous waters of international intrigue, his questions politely turned aside by a formidable array of the powerful and privileged. Events twist and turn like the Thames itself, leading to the shattering moment when Monk realizes, perhaps too late, that he is the next target.
Praise for Anne Perry and her William Monk novels
Blood on the Water
“[An] unfailingly rewarding series.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Riveting . . . one of Perry’s most engrossing books.”—The Washington Times
“Tension-filled . . . intricate and densely plotted . . . Victorian London comes alive.”—BookPage
“Ranks among the best . . . Perry has written. Her courtroom scenes have the realism of Scott Turow.”—Huntington News
A Sunless Sea
“Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries are marvels.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Masterful storytelling and moving dialogue.”—The Star-Ledger
“[An] engrossing page-turner . . . There’s no one better at using words to paint a scene and then fill it with sounds and smells than Anne Perry.”—The Boston Globe
“Brilliant . . . a page-turning thriller . . . blending compelling plotting with superbly realized human emotion and exquisite period detail.”—Jeffery Deaver, author of Edge
The Shifting Tide
“The mysterious and dangerous waterfront world of London’s ‘longest street,’ the Thames, comes to life.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
About 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.
Hometown:Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
Date of Birth:October 28, 1938
Place of Birth:Blackheath, London England
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Excerpted from "Blood on the Water"
Copyright © 2015 Anne Perry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hands down the best mystery I've ever read. Will buy more.
The reader will not guess the outcome. Anne Perry, as usual, keeps her readers on the edge of their seats right up to the last minute. Her books are worth every penny.
Blood on the Water keeps the reader engaged and is filled with red herrings. The climax is an utterly complete surprise and yet is plausible. If you're a fan of Anne Perry, get this book!
a good read as usual. love the continuing development of the characters
She manages to keep you wanting more each time.
I absolutely love Anne Perry and have read all of her books. I always wait impatiently for each new book that comes out; this one no exception. I was really surprised how slow and boring this Monk novel was. I am very disappointed that this book lacked the spark that I love about Monk, Hester, and Rathbone. The book starts with a bang, but goes on for too many pages with Monk being unable to get involved with the crime.
I finished this novel yesterday, but wish I had more to read. The story twisted and turned, but as in all the Monk series, the combined efforts of Hester, Monk, and Rathbone find the means to save the day. This story floats on the sinking of a pleasure boat on the Thames in England. The police catch and convict a suspect, but a motive never surfaces. Anne Perry does a wonderful job with the description of the setting and the characters and the language used by each class of people. The nuances of class bob in the muddy waters of deceit and greed. The ending gushes to the discovery of the killer and the motive. Touché.
Began with a bang and went out the same way! I was startled breathless both times too since the plot developed at a much slower pace much of the book. The book is full of all that makes for a gritty, dark tale of murder and conspiracy against the public's outcry of fear and a lust for vengeance. It delights in the unexpected. Just when the reader thinks they have things figured out, a twist occurs and, no, reader is way out. This author has been a go to comfort for over two decades now and it was with true pleasure that I reached for the twentieth book in this historical mystery series set in the mid-Victorian era with the primary characters being a husband and wife detective team along with a surrounding cast of equally engaging characters. Some series go flat or start to lose any form of innovation to the stories, but I have not found that to be the case here. This is a series that really should be started with the beginning and read on through as the main characters' stories run right alongside the individual cases they solve in each book with strands from some of these cases leading into the next story whether it be Monk and Hester's detecting or Oliver taking over the case in court. This particular story begins with a horrific explosion and the deaths of nearly two hundred people. Monk and Orme are there along with many from the Thames River Police and begin to start sorting out the nightmare when inexplicably they are pulled off the case and it is given to the Metropolitan Police even though it happened on the water. Public outcry is strong in the face of such a marked attack on people engaged in an innocent activity. Those taken in the explosion were representative of both ordinary people, but some related to powerful, influential people. The pressure is strong for a swift action and in the process the investigation isn't as thorough as it should have been. Monk and his men are forced to watch helplessly as things are not handled well though a suspect, possibly scapegoat, is taken into custody and brought to trial. After the sentencing, it is Monk who stumbles on the convicted man's unbreakable alibi and things come full circle. The investigation is re-opened and put back into the hands of Monk and his men with the pressure escalated now that their are news posts and talks of conspiracy and corruption in the government, police and courts added to it all. Does it have to do with the negotiations for the Suez Canal in Egypt? Is it an act of hate against the British Empire? Or is it something else? Monk has the job of untangling it all and giving the prosecutor something unbreakable and true. Hester makes her own investigative plans to help her husband knowing the pressure he is under and the danger he faces as the clues lead to powerful conspirators being involved. But she is not alone as their adoptive son falls back on his beginnings to scour the banks of the river through those that scratch out a living there to help arrive at a solution. As they all work separately, Monk learns the killer isn't afraid to kill again to protect himself and William Monk is the new threat as his investigations bring him closer and closer to the right answer. Will he find the answers and get them into Oliver and the prosecutor's hands before the killer gets him or his loved ones first? This particular story just like many others in the author's repertoire has a universality to it. I say that because even though the plot is set in Victorian times, the issues are true of our times as well. The society, dress, activities and speech may be a bit antiquated, but the motives, emotions and thinking could be any time or place. Speaking of the historical side, the author truly does have a strong, authoritative grasp on the life and times of that period. The description doesn't take over the story line, but it is there adding just another well-written layer to enjoy. The suspense and mystery are strong and twisting so that the reader can never quite be sure that the solution is in hand. The plot slowly (very slowly so be patient) builds adding clue upon clue as William Monk, his wife Hester, his adopted son Scuff and his men search out each witness and suspect. Oliver Rathbone wasn't in this one from the beginning, but he does join in when the drama heads to the courtroom and even he has an investigative role to play as court corruption is suspected. He is still temporarily disbarred from representing the law or defending a client, but he is called in to consult. Those courtroom scenes were quietly intense as it became a race to see if time would run out before the prosecution provided a strong enough case for conviction and if Oliver could nose out what was going on with those that participated in the previous trial that went so wrong. As to the characters and the human side of things, I once again enjoyed William and Hester detecting together. The cases are dark and gritty, but the human element represented by the main characters are warm and bright spots that keep the dread and shivers caused by the murder and evil away. They worked separately for the most part and shared the majority of the narration with a few times given over to Scuff or Oliver. The tension and heat between them that was present in the early stories has mellowed, but the detecting fire and love is still there. I love how the author has a gift of delving deep into her characters exposing more about them with each new story including more about this couple's relationship with each other and those around them. They have slipped into the roles of a long married couple, but that takes nothing away from their fire and zeal for justice and for each other. After Rathbone had gone, Monk and Hester sat up long into the night talking. No matter how heavy the problem or how tangled, there were ways in which these were Monk's happiest times. There was a deep pleasure, a peace of the soul, in sharing even the most desperate battles with a woman he loved with whom he shared not just passion, but an abiding friendship. Loc 65% William Monk, Blood on the Water Other characters have strong secondary story lines too. Oliver recently ended things with his wife and it is hard to see him coming to grip with all that went before to bring it to that, but I love the new Oliver that came out of it. And Scuff, he is growing up and flourishing under William and Hester's loving care. He is contributing more and more to their cases and I think this was the first time he verbally acknowledged William as his dad. There are a few things that I felt were a tad rushed or under-explained, but nothing that caused me real trouble. Part of it was probably intentional to keep me guessing to the end, but not all of it. It's possible that some of it will carry over into new stories too. Again, it wasn't stuff that affected the main plot or outcome when that is finally teased out. So, in the end, I was left with an exciting, emotional, and engaging (and yes, the alliterative juices are flowing) mystery that I couldn't put down many times. I would recommend this book/series to those who enjoy strongly authentic slow to build historical mysteries that are stronger on the mystery side and solved by a husband and wife- led detective team full of deep character development and mild romance. My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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