What lies beneath
William Monk has been forced by economic circumstances to take a regular job with the Thames River Police. He’s got his work cut out for him, because he’s replacing a recently deceased officer who was greatly esteemed by his men. On a routine patrol, Monk observes a couple take a horrific plunge off Waterloo bridge. Was it intentional or accidental? Or was it murder? This question takes on deeper meaning when Monk learns that the young woman’s father died, an apparent suicide, only a few months earlier. Because she reminds him of his beloved Hester, Monk can’t put the incident out of his mind, and is drawn deeper and deeper into a case of industrial sabotage.
Few writers since Dickens, with whom Anne Perry is frequently compared, can capture the aura of Victorian London as she does. Perry’s plots take her readers all over the city, from its seediest neighborhoods to its river to its hidden underground. She seamlessly weaves social and moral issues into her stories. She also sees to it, unlike most series writers, that her characters do not stagnate. In Dark Assassin, Monk is forced to confront the mutual dislike between him and former boss Runcorn, in order to achieve what has become a mutual goal. A new relationship with an appealing, homeless street urchin develops. And the brilliant but introverted Monk must learn, at last, to become a leader of men.
That’s good writing.