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Dark Tide Rising: A William Monk Novel


Dark Tide Rising: A William Monk Novel

If it's fall, that must mean it's time for another terrific historical novel from the Grand Dame of British mysteries, Anne Perry. It’s also an indication that her annual Christmas-inspired mystery should be right around the corner. This time we've been gifted with another entry in the superb William Monk series, DARK TIDE RISING.

Perry does not ease into the action, blasting you directly between the eyes on page one. Sir Oliver Rathbone shows up at William and Hester Monk's doorstep, and his demeanor is both dour and rushed. There is no time for pleasantries between old friends who know each other so well, so Rathbone cuts right to the chase. He makes Monk aware of a man named Harry Exeter, who is faced with the kidnapping of his young wife, Kate. Exeter has specifically asked for the aid of the River Police, of which Monk is Commander, to assist with the delivery of the ransom money to a location on the unsafe Jacob's Island.

"DARK TIDE RISING is the perfect title for this brilliant piece of historical fiction as Monk is symbolically sinking while everything around him seems to be acting towards pushing him under."

Exeter seems to have no problem coming up with the cash --- even though the demand is quite high --- and appears to be somewhat blasé about the entire affair. It will be no wonder that fellow mystery readers will feel exactly as I did, suspicious of Exeter and the entire “kidnapping” business, especially since there is no witness to validate that Kate was actually abducted.

When Monk and his team accompany Exeter to Jacob's Island, things go horribly wrong. It appears that someone tipped off the kidnappers about them coming as each member of Monk's squad is attacked and beaten. Amidst the dark skirmish, everyone gets separated. Once the dust has settled, the ransom money is gone and Kate's body is found in a pool of blood. Most likely she was killed prior to Monk's arrival.

Reeling from this incident, one of the biggest failures of his career, Monk is forced to face an even worse dilemma. It may be quite likely that the person who tipped off the kidnappers was someone from his own team. So he and his right-hand man, Hooper, begin to quietly investigate their fellow members. Matters get more complicated when Monk and Hooper are unable to find anything significant about any of them.

This makes Monk look elsewhere for answers. He never trusted Exeter's bank manager, Doyle. After analyzing Exeter's bank account, Monk's team finds some unusual transactions that make it look like significant payments were made to unknown individuals prior to gathering the ransom money. With Doyle now highly suspect, Monk sets up a meeting with another member of the bank staff, bookkeeper Bella Franken. Unfortunately, that get-together never takes place as Franken is brutally murdered and dumped in the river. While trying to retrieve the body, Monk himself is attacked and has to be rescued from his own area of jurisdiction.

There are now many questions, several people under high suspicion, and no answers. When the police suddenly arrest Exeter for the murder of his wife, it sends a thunderbolt through Monk and company. His friend, Rathbone, represents the defense in a courtroom case that only Anne Perry could have conceived.

DARK TIDE RISING is the perfect title for this brilliant piece of historical fiction as Monk is symbolically sinking while everything around him seems to be acting towards pushing him under. No one writes Victorian-era stories quite like Perry, and this 24th installment of the series is yet another example that she is showing no signs of slowing down.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on September 28, 2018

Dark Tide Rising: A William Monk Novel
by Anne Perry