There are no spoilers in this review, for this book or the first two. This is the third book in a series, however, so if you'd like to start at the beginning, read my review for:
Hester Latterly has just received dreadful news: her friend Edith Sobell's brother, well-renowned General Carlyon, has just died a very horrible death. He was pushed over a balcony during a dinner party when no one was around, and then had a halberd driven into his chest. Not only that, but his wife has confessed to killing him! Edith believes her sister-in-law may be trying to cover up someone else's crime, maybe her daughter's, but Alexandra is adamant that she killed her own husband. Hester believes that Oliver Rathbone should be hired to defend her - and Monk to discover more about the case. With the three of them working to solve the mystery - and Monk slowly but surely discovering his past - a secret, terrible and black, is unleashed on the Carlyon family, a secret more terrible and buried than anything Monk, Oliver, and Hester could have ever guessed.
My thoughts -
I would have killed him, too.
I've never felt that way about a murder mystery before, but it's true. You would have. Your mother would have. Almost anyone would have.
I guess you'll just have to read the book. ;)
Basically, this book made me cry. If I hadn't been so dehydrated from my stupid sunburn, I would have sobbed. I never thought a trial could be so moving.
Character notes -
MONK! How I love that guy. I love everything about him, even his pride and anger. I love him when he's angry, I love him when he's joyful. I feel for him when he's struggling... I just want him to remember!!!
Hester was even more amazing this time around; she had to sometimes lead the way through tough situations and I loved how she did it - her bravery is to be commended!
Oliver Rathbone is likable and necessary to the story, but to be honest he's nothing compared to Monk. I hope he keeps getting better and better with each book!
The side characters are all phenomenal, every last one. The way Anne Perry describes people - not just your typical "full lips" but instead, "sensual mouth" - blows me away. The characters are perfectly drawn up with the very first few words. And again, as in the other two books, the desperation, tension, and humanity between characters is unseen in most literature today. She's like a modern Dostoevsky... And if you know me, you know he is one of my all-time favorites.
Story notes -
This story was harsh. Intense and totally mind-blowing like the others - but more brutal than the first two. And from what I hear, the most brutal of the whole series. The mystery unfolded slowly (once again it was like slowly tasting a delicious desert), and with every new step I was shocked. I had no idea how many small details would be incorporated into the end - and what a huge impact they'd make. And when I read the last twenty pages, all those details came into play, and I couldn't help but clasp my hand over my mouth and cry. So heartbreaking, yet so perfect. Mind-blowing.
Summing it up -
Brutal. Seriously, shocking and saddening but altogether incredible. I'm so sold on this series and I can't wait to pick up book #4 (A Sudden, Fearful Death) - now I just need money to go buy it! ;)
For the parents -
Once again, like the other two books, this book is very much full of older subject matter. However, this time around it is much more than just an intense murder case... The details of this case - while sparing us of circumstantial details - are much more perverted than in the other books, and will not be good for young teens and even some older teens who may be more sensitive. The main part of the mystery involves a very sickening way of life. If you would like to know the details, highlight the white below - but know that this will give away the main mystery: the father/two others were/are performing incest/sodomy on two little boys. Another culprit did it to multiple boys over the years. Two of the wives let them continue doing it because they didn't want to lost money/social standing. Some brief strong language. Recommended 18+.