Mystery Series Reviews | The Face of a Stranger

Anne Perry, #1

The Face of a Stranger - Anne Perry - coverAnne Perry’s William Monk series takes us across to London, England, in 1856. William Monk is a detective with the city police who wakes up in a hospital, does not know who he is, where he is, where he came from, what he did, and how he got to where he is. He is told that he had an accident and struck his head (among other injuries), resulting in amnesia. His boss, Superintendent Runcorn, visits him in the hospital and tells him his name and occupation, which, of course, mean nothing to Monk. Instead, it raises more questions. He is to take time off to recover and report to work as soon as possible.

At his room in the boarding house with Mrs. Worley, he finds tailor-made clothes in his closet, clothes a cut above what a policeman would wear. Back at work, in a mental fog and emotional upheaval, Monk begins investigating the murder of Joscelin Grey, all the while trying to piece together his life. From a few comments from others in the department, he learns that he is a good detective. From their body language, however, he learns he is feared by most. During the investigation process, Monk meets and interviews Hester Latterly, a nurse returning from the Crimea war zone, and her sister and brother-in-law. Miss Latterly becomes an integral player in this series.

This series offers a great deal of history, a good description about how the upper class lives, and the roles of both the men and women occupying the wealthy circles. Ms. Perry paints excellent pictures of the city streets, the modes of transportation, the clothes worn, and the tensions between what women can and cannot do, what they want to do, and the social mores that govern the lives of both men and women. Ms. Perry also is very adept at describing body language, helping the reader envision the emotions of the characters.

Take a turn through the streets of London as the plot in this mystery takes its own surprising and nail-biting twists and turns.

Up next:  Open Season by C. J. Box.

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.