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The Shifting Tide: A William Monk Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Anne Perry
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 29 2005 William Monk Novels
In her new masterpiece featuring private inquiry agent William Monk, New York Times bestselling novelist Anne Perry displays her prodigious writing talent. With insight, compassion, and a portraitist’s genius, Perry illuminates the shifting tide of emotions encompassing Queen Victoria’s London and the people who live there—aristocrats, brothel owners, thieves, Dickensian ruffians, and their evil keepers. She takes us through dangerous backstreets where the poor eke out their humble livings, and into the mansions of the rich, safe and secure in their privileged lives. Or so they believe. . . .

William Monk knows London’s streets like the back of his hand; after all, they are where he earns his living. But the river Thames and its teeming docks— where towering schooners and clipper ships unload their fabulous cargoes and wharf rats and night plunderers ply their trades—is unknown territory.

Only dire need persuades him to accept an assignment from shipping magnate Clement Louvain to investigate the theft of a cargo of African ivory from Louvain’s recently docked schooner, the Maude Idris. Monk is desperate for work, not only to feed himself and his wife, Hester, but to keep open the doors of Hester’s clinic, a last resort for sick and starving street women.

But he wonders: Why didn’t Louvain report the ivory theft directly to the River Police? Why did he warn Monk not to investigate the murder of one of the Maude Idris crew? Even more mysterious, why has Louvain brought to Hester’s clinic a desperately ill woman who he claims is the discarded mistress of an old friend? Neither Hester nor Monk anticipates the nightmare answers to these questions . . . nor the trap that soon so fatefully ensnares them.

In this magnificent novel, Anne Perry holds the reader spellbound, as Monk and Hester struggle to save themselves and their world from a catastrophe whose dimensions they can scarcely measure.

From the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

The strain of publishing two major novels a year continues to show in bestseller Perry's 14th historical to feature private inquiry agent William Monk and his wife, Hester, despite the fresh start for Monk, who has recovered from the amnesia that afflicted him in Death of a Stranger (2002). In the autumn of 1873, because he needs the money, Monk agrees to recover valuable cargo stolen from a ship waiting to be unloaded at an East End London dock for the ship's owner, Clement Louvain, with the proviso that Louvain will also prosecute the thieves for murdering the ship's watchman. Monk enlists the aid of a young Cockney orphan, Scuff, who doubts Monk's ability to investigate a Docklands crime: "Yer in't got the wits fer it, nor the stomach neither. Yer stick to wot yer can do-wotever that is." Meanwhile, Hester, who receives no pay for the clinic she runs for streetwalkers, must deal with an unexpected death that she suspects may be murder. Unfortunately, the author too often tells rather than shows. The reader waits impatiently for the "ruthless" Monk to say or do something that suggests that quality. Still, with its focus on the lower classes and the Thames, the plot will resonate with fans of Dickens's riparian novel, Our Mutual Friend. And, as always, Perry uses her characters and story to comment on ethical issues that remain as relevant today as they were in Victorian times. Expect another bestseller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Throughout much of the long-running William Monk series, set in Victorian England, the former London police officer and now "private enquiry agent" has been defined by his amnesia. In book after book, Monk has struggled to regain knowledge of his identity before the coach accident that took his long-term memory. In Perry's last Monk novel, Death of a Stranger (2002), the investigator regained his memory. In the latest, he barely remembers his amnesia at all and leaves the streets to work London's "longest street," the Thames. The question is: What is Monk without his amnesia? This book seems to abandon the now fully functioning Monk in favor of the far more varied and changeable Thames. After Monk is hired to investigate the theft of a cargo of ivory from a merchant ship and a related murder, he and the reader become aware of what a universe the river represents--and a crime-riddled one at that. It is fascinating to watch Monk try (and fail) to apply his London street smarts to a secretive milieu totally governed by the tides. Monk's investigation blends into his wife's work (Hester runs a clinic for assaulted or sick prostitutes) when a shipowner's cast-off mistress is brought in to the clinic with a mysterious ailment. This ailment eventually threatens all of London. Sketchy characterization, a somewhat obvious plot, but marvelous historical material on the Thames. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"THE MURDER DOESN'T MATTER," Louvain said abruptly, leaning a little over his desk towards Monk. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling and memorable June 10 2004
By tregatt
Gather your cats/dogs/children and spouse/significant other, and firmly let them know that for the next 3 to 5 hours, YOU ARE NOT TO BE DISTURBED. And then, unplug the 'phone, pour yourself a thimble full of good port, make for your comfy chair and make your comfortable. For Anne Perry has written another gem that you simply cannot miss!! True, where the mystery subplot is concerned, things may be a little lacking; however if you look at the novel as an examination of human nature, at the unexpected strengths and hidden frailities of the characters involved, "The Shifting Tide" then becomes the compelling must read novel that it rightly is, whether or not you are a mystery buff.
William Monk has been hired by shipping magnate Clement Louvain to recover a shipment of ivory tusks stolen from his schooner, the Maude Idris. Normally, Monk would stay away from a case in which he is at such a disadvantage (Monk may know the streets of London very well, but he knows next to nothing about the river, the docks or the wharfs), but money is low and the need dire, so that in spite of his reservations, Monk agrees to take on the case. Louvain wants the stolen shipment found quickly and without the involvement of the River Police -- an especially tricky combination when murder is thrown into the mix, for the thieves had bashed in the head of one of the sailors keeping watch aboard the Maude Idris. Even stranger, Louvain is not at all interested in seeing that the murderer is apprehended and goes so far as to forbid Monk from wasting his time going down that road. Now why would he do this? Surely the murderer was one of the thieves? Monk senses that Louvain is keeping a great many things from him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bleak docks of London July 4 2004
Investigator William Monk is relieved to be offered a job, even one outside his normal sphere of operation in the large houses of Victorian England, as money is tight and bills must be paid.Clement Louvain, ship owner and importer of spices and ivory, hires Monk to find 14 tusks of ivory which were stolen from his ship when it was moored in the Thames, awaiting a berth at the Docks. Monks'wife Hester runs a shelter and hospital for sick and injured prostitutes with her friend Margaret, stocking it on a shoe string budget, so that when Louvain brings a sick woman to her, claiming that she is the cast-off mistress of a friend and paying Hester a handsome fee for her care, she doesn't hesitate to accept the woman as a patient. Meanwhile Monk manages to find the trail of the stolen ivory with the help of a street urchin, Scuff, and to return it to Louvain. Hester is horrified to find the unmistakeable signs of bubonic plague on the sick woman and realises that she must isolate herself and all the other occupants of the hospital, as much to keep them from infecting the general population as to keep the threat of mass hysteria at bay. She is aided in this task by the rat-catcher, Sutton who directs his friends to stand guard with pit bulls, trained to kill on command. Hester gets word to Monk of their predicament and in turn informs Durban the chief of the river police of the need to track down the source of the plague. Feeling sure that the plague was brought into the country by Louvain on his ship, Monk and Durban contrive to isolate the ship until their case is proven. The author brilliantly conveys the cutting winds and biting cold of the London docks in winter, so much so that I guarantee that you'll not feel warm till the end of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Anne Perry fans May 22 2004
William Monk usually investigates the crimes of the wealthy that inhabit some of the finest mansions in London. This time out Anne Perry takes Monk to the river and docks that is out of his comfort zone as an investigator. He has bills to pay and is happy to get any kind of work. Clement Louvain wants Monk to investigate the theft of a cargo of ivory from one of Louvain's schooners. .Louvain does not want the theft reported to the River Police. Monk's wife, Hester, runs a clinic for desperately ill women of the street who have no other place to go. Louvain brings an ill woman who came off of one of his ships to Hester. After the woman is found dead, Hester realizes that she had the Black Plague. The plague had wiped out half the population of England two centuries before. If anyone knew, mass panic who ensue; the clinic and its inhabitants would likely be burned down. The clinic must be locked down and no one must be allowed to escape from inside. Monk must answer the question of why Louvain would bring the woman to Hester.
Anne Perry writes both the Thomas Pitt series and the William Monk series. When I am reading one or the other series, it is always my favorite at the time. Anne Perry has an uncanny knack of painting the scenes of her stories so vividly that you are transported back in time. She captures the essence and the flavor of the time period.
This book had at first two seemingly different storylines: the stolen ivory and the plague. I found the scenes with the clinic: the difficulty in raising funds for a clinic for fallen women, the struggle in running it, the characters associated with it, and the dealing with the plague the more intriguing storyline. It was not until the storylines merged into one that I started to enjoy the story involving the shipyards.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars not who she says she is
I borrowed this book from a friend and hated it. Anne Perry is a terrible writer. I read this book because Anne Perry's real name is Juliet Hulme. Read more
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Perry Ever
After the disappointment of "No Graves Yet", this was a delight. I have read them all - the Pitts, the Monks and this was the best. Read more
Published on July 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars In Top Form
I thought this was one of the best in what I have always felt was the author's best series. The action in this book is non-stop, and the emotion, which has always been a high... Read more
Published on May 17 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Written Period Mystery!
I have shamelessly enjoyed every single Monk story that Ms. Perry has written. The Monk series has always been my favourite of her two long-running series, but this book is the... Read more
Published on May 12 2004 by S. Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful character insight, great story
The title refers not only to the mystery Monk is working to solve on the Thames River, but also changes in the familiar characters we've come to know in the series. Ms. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Patricia
4.0 out of 5 stars She does it again!
I have read all the Monk and Pitt books as well as the first
installment of her new series about a WW I chaplain. They are all absorbing and I enjoy reading them. Read more
Published on May 10 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to Standards
This book was extremely disappointing - not the usual caliber of work this author produces. The story was disjointed and filled with absurd coincidences. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by lang23
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Death in the Port of London
Anne Perry's latest historical thriller takes her struggling sleuth to the London docks. Back in the mid 18th century, London was a thriving port with barges, sailing ships and... Read more
Published on May 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting historical police procedural
It is 1863 in Victorian London and times are lean for private enquiry agent William Monk and his wife Hester who receives no money for working at the clinic in Portpool Lane that... Read more
Published on April 29 2004 by Harriet Klausner
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