"The Face of a Stranger"

The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry

This is the first in Anne Perry's series of Victorian era mysteries featuring inspector William Monk. I've never been much of a mystery fan but I do enjoy Anne Perry's writing and the characters she's created for these books, so I indulge every once in a while.

To open the series, Det. Monk is recovering from a coach accident with no memory of his past or even who he is. He learns from his visiting boss that he is a police detective and when he is physically able, he returns to the office to take up a case he's been working but about which he remembers nothing. He begins again from scratch with a young assistant named John Evans, trying to hide from everyone around him that his memory is gone.

In the process of trying to discover the person responsible for the death of Joscelin Grey, Monk comes up against the rich and powerful Grey family who tolerate the detective with barely concealed contempt and do as little as possible to assist in the investigation.

As Monk gets closer to the truth, it becomes appallingly clear to him that he was somehow involved in the murder, but he can't remember anything about his connection to the victim. His one great regret is that Evans must eventually learn the truth and Monk will lose the only real friend he has.

This quote on the back of the book from the Atlanta Journal & Constitution says it all: "Murder fans who prefer their crimes with a touch of class should heat some scones and nestle back for the afternoon." I didn't have the scones but I thoroughly enjoyed the Victorian era settings and the characters with their slightly strange names. Where else could you possibly meet a woman called Callandra Daviot?

If you haven't tried these Anne Perry mysteries you should check them out. She also has several Victorian Christmas mysteries that are fun reading for the holidays.


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