No breath of scandal has ever touched the aristocratic Moidore family--until Sir Basil's beautiful widowed daughter is stabbed to death in her own bed, a shocking, incomprehensible tragedy. Inspector William Monk is ordered to find her killer without delay--and in a manner that will give the least possible pain to the influential family. But Monk, brilliant and ambitious, is handicapped, both by lingering traces of amnesia and by the craven ineptitude of his supervisor, who would like nothing better than to see Monk fail. With the intelligent help of Hester Latterly, a progressive young woman who served with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, Monk gropes warily through the silence and shadows that obscure the case, knowing that with each step he comes closer to the appalling truth....
There is something to be said about a character that starts a story not remembering who he is and without and family and close friends to help him. That is exactly what Anne Perry did in the first book of this series and that is what really attracted my attention to the books. In this second book the Inspector Monk is still unable to remember his past but has he moves through London he finds glimpses of familiar things and an image of him that seems very different from who he is now. (Would a kind soul me know if he ever remember and in which book?)
In this story Monk is called to investigate the murder of a young lady, Octavia Haslett, the daughter of Sir Basil Moidore has been stabbed to death in her own bedroom during the night. From the beginning, it is clear that Sir Basil and most of his family is mostly concerned with hushing the scandal and finding a guilty party as soon as possible. Even after it seems it is one of them who must have done it, the family still believing it must be one of the servants.
When Monk finds himself unable to find evidence pointing to someone he asks for the help of Hester Latterly, one of Miss Nightingale's nurses who was also a character in the previous book. I really like Heather! She is dedicated to her job, honest and has a hard time controlling her temper when she perceives an injustice. Despite her efforts while nursing Lady Beatrice, Octavia's mother, Heather is unable to find the culprit and when a bloody knife is found in one of the footmen's room the case seems closed to all but Monk and Heather. Refusing to arrest the footman leads to Monk being fired from the police force but Heather doesn't give up and manages to interest Oliver Rathbone, a lawyer and a very interesting character that I hope to see in future books, in the case.
I just love Perry's view of the Victorian world and there was lots of information about it in the book. In this particular story, I very much enjoyed her portrayal of the higher and lower classes. The differences in behaviours, beliefs and social status. Much of the book is set in the Moidores house and the atmosphere is oppressing, intriguing and full of suspense. I couldn't wait to get to the end of the story and find out who had done it and I must say that the final twist surprised me. I loved how they followed all the clues to reach the right conclusion about what really had happened and who was responsible. And now I can’t wait for the next book.