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Thursday, 29 August 2013

‘Blind Justice’ by Anne Perry

Published by Headline,   
11 April 2013. 
ISBN: 978-0-7553-9714-3

Hester Monk is now happily married, but this has not dimmed her determination to aid those in need and to fight the injustice that is prevalent in Victorian society. Josephine Raleigh, a nurse at Hester's clinic for sick and injured prostitutes tells Hester that her father has been driven to the brink of destitution and despair by being persuaded by Abel Taft, a charismatic minister, to give more than he could afford, in order to help the Church's charity for the needy. Hester feels immediate empathy for this, as her own father had committed suicide after an error of judgment resulted in the loss of his livelihood. Hester is determined to investigate a minister that is capable of causing such suffering and awakening in his congregation such feelings of guilt that they will give more than they have. She accepts that her husband, William, cannot help her in the way he once could when he was a Private Investigator. Now William Monk is a police officer and Taft's church is not in his jurisdiction. Accompanied by their adopted son, Scuff, an urchin rescued from danger and degradation, Hester attends Taft's church and starts her investigation.

When Hester uncovers evidence of fraud, the case comes before a recently appointed judge, Oliver Rathbone, who is a close friend of William and Hester. Rathbone is a man of integrity and ambition but, halfway through the case, when things are going badly for the prosecution, he realises that he possesses evidence that will turn the case around. In order to serve the cause of Justice, Rathbone will have to break the Law and the consequences to himself will be catastrophic.

Blind Justice is the nineteenth book in the William Monk series and it is an absolute page turner. William, Hester, Rathbone and Scuff are all characters to whom the reader can relate and for whom one can feel liking and respect. Both the investigation and the courtroom scenes are riveting. It explores the many injustices and hypocrisies in the Victorian social and legal system and leaves us with an uncomfortable feeling that too little has changed in the last hundred and fifty years.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Anne Perry was born in Blackheath, London England in October 1938.  Anne had various jobs but there was never anything she seriously wished to do except write. Her publishing career began with The Cater Street Hangman. Published in 1979, this was the first book in the series to feature the Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his well-born wife Charlotte. It was filmed and broadcast on ITV featuring a young Keely Hawes. Midnight At Marble Arch is the latest in the series, released September 2012. In 1990, Anne started a second series of detective novels with The Face of a Stranger. These are set about 35 years before and feature the private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly. The most recent of these (18th in the series) is Blind Justice (April 2013). Anne won an Edgar award in 2000 with her short story "Heroes". The main character in the story features in an ambitious five-book series set during the First World War. The last of these was recently published, in Autumn 2007. Anne’s most recent stand-alone is The Sheen on the Silk, set in the exotic and dangerous world of the Byzantine Empire, and is a critical success.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times, and her Scene of Crimes novel The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published July 2013.

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