27.6.13

THE SHIFTING TIDE, EXECUTION DOCK, ACCEPTABLE LOSS, by Anne Perry

This trilogy-inside-a-series is Perry at her very best, with plenty of action, most based on a wealth of social ills that beset industrializing England in the Victoria era, and (happily, for me) not too much of the interior social dilemma dialogue at which the author is so adept. In the first, economic necessity forces William Monk to take a case on the river, unfamiliar territory. Hester, his wife, is busy with her clinic for street women in Portpool Lane, and is surprised to see Monk’s client bring a woman in for treatment. She is, he claims, a friend’s discarded mistress. While Hester deals with the unlikeable woman, Monk must find his way around the waterfront with the help of a mudlark (orphans who scavenge the fetid river mud) named Scuff. The plot takes a sudden and horrifying turn which Monk and Hester must solve. Execution Dock focuses on the booming Victorian trade in pornography and the ugly world of pedophiles. Acceptable Loss uncovers the mastermind behind the pornography/pedophile ring, destroys a long-standing friendship and perhaps a new marriage, and things return to normal…or do they? All are 4’s.