This is my first Anne Perry book and so, obviously, my first Inspector Monk mystery. It is easy to pick up where previous situations in earlier books must have taken place and I was happy to immerse myself in this very cold, dark and unremitting Victorian London. I felt as if I was mentally viewing this story actually in black and shades of grey, such is the way Anne Perry describes her London town.
Monk is a very likeable character ably assisted by his wife, Hestor who could probably have a story of her own such is her commitment to help Monk discover the truth in a catalogue of half-clues and lies, all intended to keep a secret just that. The story has already been outlined elsewhere so the question is whether it stacks up as a good read. It's slow to start and, although it picks up pace, for me, there is rather too much description delving into the thoughts and misgivings of the characters so the pace remains at a slow amble most of the time. I don't have a problem with the old East-end language and diction. Whether other readers of English in other countries find it more troublesome will be a mute point. However, I do draw a line at the word 'gotten' which crept on to the page. Hardly a Victorian word, hardly an English word either! Nonetheless, I enjoyed the atmosphere created by the author. I could almost feel the winter's chill as Monk struggles around London pursuing clues not so conveniently left whilst at the same time, having a run-in with his superiors in the Police Force. It seems nothing changes. From Bow Street Runners to today's Special Ops, there's always some senior police officer with a desire to be more than a policeman.