By Anne Perry
Seven years ago Victorian detective William Monk started life over after awakening in a London hospital with amnesia. Now a new case is taking him back to his past. Was he actually the criminally negligent force behind a railway disaster? Meanwhile Monk’s wife, Hester, a nurse who runs a clinic for abused prostitutes, is trying to find out who killed a railroad baron in a cheap brothel. Was he the victim of his own tawdry appetites, or was his murder engineered to conceal another corrupt train scheme?
Of course, these two story lines eventually converge in Perry’s latest gaslit mystery, but after too many creaky miles. Perry specializes in starchy moralism and breathless prose: “That she should love him was so infinitely precious that he would give anything he owned not to lose it.” Read a real Victorian like Thomas Hardy or Wilkie Collins instead. (Ballantine, $25.95)
Bottom Line: Less than eminent Victorians