Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
Although Audible is not listing it as such, "Blind Justice " is a William Monk story, the 19th in the series. The story focuses primarily on Monk and Hester's friend, Oliver Rathbone, former brilliant barrister who has recently been elevated to the Bench.
The case being heard in Judge Rathbone 's court is a charge of fraud brought against a minister for pressing his parishioners to give large sums to provide food and housing to the homeless, primarily those in Africa, and then pocketing most of the money. After hearing the prosecution's case, Rathbone is sure the man is guilty. However, the defense produces a persuasive witness to discredit the prosecution witntsses by painting them to be feeble minded, naive and unbalanced. Rathbone realizes that he has incriminating evidence in his possession which would totally discredit this defense witness. Because he feels so strongly about the wrongs done to the fraud victims, all in the name of God, Rathbone turns the evidence over to the prosecuting barrister without notifying the defense. The witness changes his story and it is clear that the case will end in a guilty verdict.
Rathbone is arrested the next day for "perverting the course of justice, " and the remainder of the story concerns Rathbone's trial and Monk and Hester's search for any evidence which might mitigate Rathbone's act. It is clear that Rathbone is guilty of the charge against him, so they can only hope to find information that could lesson the punishment by keeping him out of prison.
Many of Anne Perry's books have plots which depend on an investigation, a criminal trial, and a verdict as the climax. Rather like a Victorian Law & Order UK. It is often during the trials that the most dramatic moments occur. I enjoy these fictional trials as a type of puzzle, trying to figure out how the trial will get turned on its head to reach the desired verdict.
As a former law professional, I must warn those who don't know (if there are any) that you sometimes need to suspend disbelief when it comes to the technical aspects of the criminal courts in these books. For me the enjoyment of the puzzle, the well-drawn characters and the masterful depiction of Victorian London make the suspension well worth while. And, of course, the superlative narration by Davina Porter doubles the pleasure.
This is the beginning of Phryne Fisher's adventures. A wealthy flapper in 1920's England, who began life in poverty in Australia, Phryne decides to battle boredom and ennui by going back to Australia and becoming a private investigator. All very light, but with a kernel of serious concern, and portraying 20's Australia very well. The story is interesting, the writing is very good and often tongue-in-cheek, and Stephanie Daniel provides exactly the right narration -- the perfect inflection and tone of voice for a rich, well-educated, sophisticated woman of the world in the time period portrayed, with an expert delivery of ironic and humorous lines. The first Phryne Fisher book I read was one later in the series, and I enjoyed it so much that I am now working on listening to the entire series in order.
This is the sort of book which will be enjoyed by people who like Amelia Peobody books -- the same sort of independent heroine with an eccentric view of the world, all done with fun and humor. A great escapist experience.
Mysteries written in the 20s or 30s -- or set in the 20s or 30s -- are some of my favorites. Rennie Airth has written a wonderful story, evocative of post WWI era, but introducing modern elements, like a serial killer with psychological problems. The characters are well-drawn, the plot keeps you interested, and a little love story is thrown in for added enjoyment. Christopher Kay does an excellent job narrating, making vaious regional British accents sound believable (at least to an American!) and still making them understandable.
I will definitely be looking for more from Airth.