As with all Perry's William Monk novels, this one has a point to make about the morals of the class structure of early Victorian England. Part of the interest applies to today's culture as well. As usual, Monk, nurse Hester, and solicitor Sir Oliver work together. Monk comes upon two dead men in a dark alley in a London slum, one of whom turns out to be barely breathing. Hester is hired to care for the young man when he returns home from the hospital, unable to speak or communicate except by nodding. Clearly he is tortured by his experience, but what happened? He is charged with murdering the older man, and the investigation is both fascinating and much more difficult than usual. Monk also learns a great deal about his life before the accident, and comes to the beginnings of peace about it. This seems to be a turning point in the series.
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