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Sudden, Fearful Death [Mass Market Paperback]

Anne Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 29 1994 William Monk Novels
Prudence Barrymore, a talented nurse who had worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, is found strangled to death in a London hospital. Private inquiry agent William Monk is engaged to investigate this horrific crime. Gradually, Monk assembles the portrait of a remarkable woman. Yet he also discerns the shadow of a tragic evil and a frightening glimmer of his own eclipsed past . . .

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this excellent historical mystery, Victorian detective William Monk investigates the suspicious death of a young English nurse.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-Another Perry mystery that highlights the frustrating status of women in Victorian England. The story hinges on society's low opinion of nurses and of both single and married women who seek abortions. A talented nurse is found strangled, and Inspector Monk and his friends, a nurse and a lawyer, follow the clues to see that the murderer will hang. It is difficult to decide which element is the author's true forte-the details of everyday life or the suspenseful courtroom dialogues. The plot has many twists and turns. Readers may suspect some of the answers, but surprises continue right until the last page. The opening chapters place readers in a subplot that provides background on different characters. The shift in the action is slightly confusing as these people are rarely mentioned again. However, Perry fans will not be disappointed, and newcomers will be entertained by a good mystery as they enter the world of Victorian high society.
Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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WHEN SHE FIRST CAME into the room, Monk thought it would simply be another case of domestic petty theft, or investigating the character and prospects of some suitor. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange book March 22 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I began the book (with the problem of Marianne) it obviously had five stars, when you finish that part you won't understand why it was written in so many pages and it really doesn't have to do anything with the book, so the book has now four stars, in the middle of the book, when you see why it was written the [beginning], the book has only three stars ..., and that keeps during all the judgment of the doctor (I won't tell you which one because I will tell you the story), but when the judgment is almost over, when you almost finish the book you will see that this is definitely a five stars book, And when you read the last chapter you will see that you will recommend this book to your friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries abound July 28 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is a mystery to me that Amazon.com should begin reviews of the mysteries by Anne Perry by quoting "Kirkus reviews." The results are predictable -- the reviewer dislikes all of the strengths of these novels. He cannot appreciate Perry's real skill in character development. He is opposed to any discussion of the status of women in Victorian England; dislikes Perry's careful depictions of social mores and class status in Victorian London --despite the fact that these are often the very crux of the novels. One of the best examples is "A Breach of Promise." I haven't the Kirkus review for that novel but I am willing to bet that he really really hated it!
Actually, this series of novels should be called the
Hester Latterly - William Monk - Oliver Rathbone series. Hester is often the central sleuth and it is the links between these three characters which move the plots forward ingeniously. As example of this I recommend "A Breach of Promise which the Kirkus reviewer undoubtedly hated.
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By drdebs
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Sudden, Fearful Death is the fourth mystery in the Inspector Monk series of books by Anne Perry. Better known for her Pitt series, the Inspector Monk series are slighly earlier (just after the Crimean War), grittier, and in many ways more riveting. They are longer than the average Pitt novel, and this allows the author's wonderful ability to convey period detail and characterization to shine through.
In this mystery Inspector Monk is called in to investigate the murder of one of Florence Nightingale's Crimean nurses, who is working at a London hospital. Those of you who have read the previous three novels know how hard it can be for these young women to adapt to English hospitals after their stint abroad, and at first it seems that Prudence Barrymore might be a victim because of her desire to reform the medical system. As the plot unfolds, however, we realize that there is a great deal more going on at London's Royal Free hospital than meets the eye.
One of Perry's greatest talents lies in character development, and she is always careful to let a different character feature prominently in each novel. This time it is Lady Callandra Daviot's turn, Inspector Monk's female patron, who emerges as a more three-dimensional character. Hester Latterly, another Nightingale nurse, is also featured, along with the brilliant Inspector Monk and the lawyer of lawyers, Oliver Rathbone.
I would particularly recommend the Monk series to fans of TV's Law and Order, since these mysteries combine excellent sleuthing with taut court-room drama. If you like historical mysteries, you will love this series. If you already like Anne Perry, I encourage you to give Inpsector Monk a try!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nurse is Murdered--Inspector Monk is called in! June 5 2000
By drdebs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Sudden, Fearful Death is the fourth mystery in the Inspector Monk series of books by Anne Perry. Better known for her Pitt series, the Inspector Monk series are slighly earlier (just after the Crimean War), grittier, and in many ways more riveting. They are longer than the average Pitt novel, and this allows the author's wonderful ability to convey period detail and characterization to shine through.
In this mystery Inspector Monk is called in to investigate the murder of one of Florence Nightingale's Crimean nurses, who is working at a London hospital. Those of you who have read the previous three novels know how hard it can be for these young women to adapt to English hospitals after their stint abroad, and at first it seems that Prudence Barrymore might be a victim because of her desire to reform the medical system. As the plot unfolds, however, we realize that there is a great deal more going on at London's Royal Free hospital than meets the eye.
One of Perry's greatest talents lies in character development, and she is always careful to let a different character feature prominently in each novel. This time it is Lady Callandra Daviot's turn, Inspector Monk's female patron, who emerges as a more three-dimensional character. Hester Latterly, another Nightingale nurse, is also featured, along with the brilliant Inspector Monk and the lawyer of lawyers, Oliver Rathbone.
I would particularly recommend the Monk series to fans of TV's Law and Order, since these mysteries combine excellent sleuthing with taut court-room drama. If you like historical mysteries, you will love this series. If you already like Anne Perry, I encourage you to give Inpsector Monk a try!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for mystery readers Feb. 12 2011
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the London of Queen Victoria, in a public hospital where "nurses" require no qualifications because all they do is the work of a drudge, a Crimean War veteran nurse is found strangled to death and stuffed into a laundry chute. Those nurses who worked under the legendary Florence Nightingale find life in their post-war homeland difficult, especially if they choose to continue nursing, because they know how to do far more than change bedding, roll bandages, and dump slop pails. They want to see medical care reformed, based on what they learned during their service under "the lady with the lamp"; and their presence makes those around them uncomfortable, doctors as well as matrons and ordinary nurses, because these are forceful women who usually have no need to earn a living. They are gentlewomen who should, according to their era's customs, confine their hospital work to that of board members and charitable contributors. Instead they insist on doing what no decent upper-class female ought, and their outspoken desire for specific reforms both disturbs and insults England's current medical establishment.

Former police detective William Monk, now a private detective, inquires into the death of Prudence Barrymore at the request of his patron, Lady Callandra Daviot. He asks another Crimean nurse, Hester Latterly, to take a position at the hospital and learn all that she can; and then he takes the resulting evidence to the police, in the person of a former colleague whose competence he has reason to distrust. After which Monk begins to think it may be a false accusation, despite that evidence. So what will he do now, with the accused already on trial?

Although I had read other Anne Perry books, this was my first William Monk installment. The amnesiac detective is that rare fictional character, a not very likable "hero" who nevertheless gains the reader's interest and holds it to the story's end. Which for me came at an unholy hour of the night - I found the book's final chapters impossible to put down. You do not need to be a mystery genre reader to appreciate Anne Perry. You only need to enjoy character driven fiction in general, and well written historical fiction in particular. I will definitely read more of the novels in this series.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Monk/Latterly mystery Nov. 11 2007
By Diana Coats - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have recently started to listen to Anne Perry mysteries. I have thoroughly enjoyed them. The reason this one gets a four-star rating is because I was disappointed with the role Calandra played in this one. She has been a stalwart and formidable presence in the earlier books, not one to worry about someone's reputation when justice is at stake. I guess we're supposed to believe she has temporarily lost her presence of mind because she is in love.
Other than that spoiler, I enjoyed this thoroughly. I especially enjoy the courtroom scenes, the carefully crafted defense of a supposedly innocent doctor.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars painfully obvious March 11 2005
By cappakis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I won't bother to rehash the plot of this book, as that has been done. I have very much enjoyed the William Monk series, but was quite disappointed with this particular entry. Although I agree with the reviewer that the opening scene with Marianne does not originally make sense to the reader, the relevance becomes pretty clear by at most page 100. The 200 pages or so devoted to determining what it was Prudence actually wanted were almost completely wasted. I had figured out the answer to this question immediately, but thought that in Perry's traditional style, Monk and crew would be pick this up as easily as I had, and then it would be on to the next twist. Alas, they did not pick this up until the last 20-30 pages of the book!! The last chapter, which a previous reviewer raved about, in my opinion was remniscent of some of Patricia Cornwell's poorly exectued later entries in her Kay Scarpetta series: pick a person randomly to solve the crime. Also, character development was not up to Perry's usual standards; there was no additional insights or progressions of any of the ongoing relationships. I gave the book two stars because I enjoyed both the description of hospital consitions in 1850's London and did originally like the plot but that it was not brought to a sufficient height and lacked "meat." I will continue reading Perry, since I know later books in this series are up to her usual standards, but would forewarn readers that this is not the book to start with if one wishes to "test" Perry.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Sudden Fearful Death July 9 2012
By Rich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Monk and Hester investigate when a nurse is strangled at the local hospital.

A boring read. The book rambles in places while in others fairly gallops to the next part. Perry has developed a knack for overstatement and also for writing some very clunky prose which continually slows down the characters. The murder mystery is also a mess. Hester conveniently forgets a conversation which throws a different light on the investigation and pursues a line which she must know is untrue but this discrepancy is never explained. Perhaps Perry herself forgot she'd written that section or hoped the reader wouldn't notice.

I felt slightly insulted by this book. There's a hastiness to the whole thing, a good edit would have helped. Perry has nothing new to say about either her characters or the situations they find themselves in.
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