Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Corridors of the Night by Anne Perry
This 21st novel in Perry's William Monk series is perhaps not her best effort, but it is a suspenseful tale overall, and fans will enjoy it. The plot is a little disjointed because there are actually three plots and they seem rather minimally connected.
The principle plot is that involving Monk's wife Hester, who has volunteered to help an old friend from her time as a nurse with Florence Nightengale during the Crimean War. Her friend is currently nursing at the Roayl Naval Hospital but needs to take some personal leave, and Hester agrees to fill in for her, so that she will have a job to come back to. Hester is working the night shift at the hospital, nursing critically ill or injured naval officers. She encounters three small children, hidden away in a separate ward, dangerously weak and wasted --- and discovers to her horror, that the two brothers in charge of the hospital, Magnus and Hamilton Rand, have bought the children from their poverty-stricken parents and are using them in experiments to find a cure for "white blood disease" (possibly hemophelia) and other cases of severe blood deficiency caused by disease or injury. When Hester protests, Hamilton Rand kidnaps her along with the children and hides them away in a country cottage where he can continue his efforts to cure a wealthy patient ruthlessly determined to live at any cost.
A secondary plot describes the efforts of Monk and the officers of the Thames River Police to disrupt the gun smuggling trade. Is police corruption to blame when promised backup forces fail to appear at a critical point in the raid, or is it payback for some action lost in Monk's amnesiac past that has put his men at risk? And a third plot line deals with the efforts of Monk and Hester's friend, barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone, to rehabilitate his career and personal life.
Perry is very good at evoking sinister atmosphere and macabre details in this Victiorian thriller.
Click HERE to read the review in Publishers Weekly.
Click HERE for a review from the web site Reviewing the Evidence.