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General Thaddeus Carlyon has been murdered. His wife, Alexandra, is the apparent suspect. His sister, Edith, cannot believe that of her sister-in-law. She calls on her friend, Hester Latterly, for help. Hester appeals to Oliver Rathbone, the reknown attorney, to defend Alexandra Carlyon. There is a problem, though. Mrs. Carlyon has confessed to the murder.
Rathbone knows Mrs. Carlyon is covering something. What is it? He hires private investigator, William Monk, to look into the matter. Something is going on. It will take all of Latterly's, Rathbone's, and Monk's wiles, intelligence, and compassion to discover the truth. There are things hidden. They must discover them if they are to keep the suspect from going to the gallows for murder.
Once again Perry has written a compelling mystery and story. As Monk discovers more of his forgotten background (due to amnesia) he learns more about himself he does not like. Hester continues as a private nurse, trying to promote the profession. She and Rathbone are discovering each other's companionship. And the Carlyon family has them all bound together. They all want to help solve the mystery and ease the hurt, if possible. The clues are there. The crime can be solved. Whose lives may be affected along the way?
This powerful book is the third book of the William Monk series, following The Face of a Stranger and A Dangerous Mourning. While strengthened by the first two's continuing storyline, this novel stands on its own.