Ballantine, Aug 9 2011, $26.00
After years as an inquiry agent, William Monk is once again a police officer in charge of the Thames River Police at Wapping on the London docks. At night, boats containing children as cargo sail the river to satisfy the perversion of the affluent. Unknown to the pedophiles is that they are being photographed so that their supplier can blackmail them.
Monk believes that the pimp of one of the boats that is found floating in the river was murdered due to a disagreement; as was another one a few months earlier. A nothing crook Mickey Parfitt was strangled to death by an expensive silk cravat used as a garrote. The scarf belongs toPolire Society member Rupert Cardew who denies murdering Parfitt even though he admits to participating in activities on the boat. The cop believes the man lacks the brains to run this operation. He follows clues that lead to an arrest of a highly regarded member of society. Monk’s friend attorney Oliver Rathbone, believes the suspect might be guilty though he defends him to the best of his ability.
Though the protagonist is back on the force, the latest Monk historical mystery once again affirms the Victorian Era class distinctions between the classes when it comes to crime and punishment; as the law is sold when it comes to the wealthy aristocracy and brutal to the middle class and the poor. Anne Perry uses strong characterizations to make her late nineteenth century argument that justice is for sale. However, this is Monk’s case as he is a hound on the scent of the killer allowing nothing to intrude, not even his wife, until the case is closed.