New York Times best-selling author Anne Perry transports listeners back to the Victorian era with her William Monk novels. In Blind Justice, mystery abounds in London as Hester Monk, wife of Thames River Police Commander William Monk, questions Abel Taft - a charismatic preacher accused of extortion. Taft appears guilty as sin, but his trial explodes when a star witness drops a bombshell that has the Monks scrambling to save their dear friend Oliver Rathbone.
©2013 Anne Perry (P)2013 Recorded Books
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.
The Dog Mom
I admit it right from the start. I am an Anne Perry addict! I have been reading her work as long as she had been writing, I think.
Blind Justice is one of her best books. Monk, Hester and Oliver Rathbone are present, but the twist on the story (not a plot spoiler, no worries) is terrific, unexpected and completely engaging.
Davina Porter's narration of this wonderful mystery is - as always - magnificent. Her voice is ideal for Perry's characters, no matter their traits, accents, quirks, etc., etc.
This is a "must read" for Perry fans!
I love this series and it's good to see a more human side to Monk and Hester. I would hope that the next book centers more on Monk and Hester and less on Oliver however.
I read all of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. I enjoy Davina Porter's layered and intense performance and would listen to another of her readings.
I expected it.
I like her voice and her accent. She adds atmosphere, interest and tension to the book.
It isn't one of her best. There is little investigation. The legal story is a bit dull. The internal monologues are interminable and repetitive. I don't regret listening to the book. I like the characters. I love Scuff. I am happy that Hester, Monk and Scuff are a family.
I look forward to the next book.
I have a difficult time understanding why this book has pretty high ratings from the other reviewers. If, like me, you have been a 'from the beginning' Anne Perry fan you have to recognize how the quality of the books has declined. This book, Blind Justice, is a perfect example. The main plot is a decent one, but the story drags, and Perry's characters have become much less interesting than they used to be. They have become routine.
One of my biggest issues however, and so much more obvious with an audio book, is how Perry disrupts her own dialogue with monotonous and very drawn out explanations of what the character is thinking. So much so that now even the characters have to be snapped out of their reverie. Often there is a statement about realizing the other person in the conversation was talking while they were off in la-la land. No real surprise there since the individual is zoned out for an eternity at times. The tangents are so lengthy that the actual dialogue is completely disrupted so that there is no flow to it. In a printed book you can skim or even skip those parts but in an audiobook it is much more difficult to do. However the reader shouldn't have to. The book should flow on it's own.
I truly believe that Ms. Perry needs to put both the Monk and the Pitt series to bed. She's played them out far too long and the more recent books simply cannot hold a candle to the earlier books. Cater Street Hangman and The Face of a Stranger are still two of my most favorite books, ones that I have, and will again, re-read. The recent books however, are totally forgettable. Time to let them go.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book is more about Oliver Rathbone than Hester and Monk. Rathbone is now a Judge; he is hearing the case of fraud and embezzlement against a church minister. Hester was the first to uncover the problem and turned it over to the local police. She deliberately stayed away from Rathbone so not to compromise him in case he ended up as the Judge of the case. From prior books we know that Rathbone had inherited pictures of prominent men having sex with young boys from his Father-in-law who he had failed to successfully defend. Rathbone turns over to the prosecutor the picture of one of the witness that was destroying the prosecution case with his testimony. Rathbone is then arrested for perverting the course of justice. The minister and family are found dead thought to be a murder suicide. Monk and Hester along with Scuff try to gather evidence to help Rathbone. This leads to some suspense, no action, some humor and tense courtroom drama. I enjoy Perry's Monk series as she paints a picture of what it was like in London in the 1850 & 60's. She appears to do a great deal of research to create as real a picture as she is able. Davina Porter is superb narrating the story. I hope they continue to use her for all the Monk series. If you are a fan of Perry's or are interested in the 1800 England you will enjoy this story.
As always, an excellent story told by an excellent narrator - Davina Porter is one of my top five favorites - and only one problem. The end of this book sounds like and feels like the end of the series. I pray my instincts are totally off base. It is never pleasant to see the end of a leading character's career, though, Ms. Perry has allowed for career changes in earlier books in this series which broadened the scope of experience for those characters. I will be waiting for the next book in her Monk series and hoping she will write many more.
... not to buy anymore "Monk" books by Anne Perry. I'm sorry I fell for this one -- I remember thinking the same thing about the last one I bought, but forgot my resolution not to purchase any more of them.
Like most reviewers, I have loved Anne Perry's books -- the setting, the customs, the stories, the issues she tackles. They have been, up until recent years, excellent reads, every one of them. Some of the early ones I've read many times over.
But now, the "Monk" books really aren't about Monk anymore -- Monk was, is, a fascinating character, but now he's just a walk-on part, second fiddle to his friend Rathbone, who isn't nearly as interesting. And Hester? As Monk's now-wife, Hester, with her experiences as a nurse during the Crimean War, was one of fictions finest characters. Ever. Not anymore. She too has been pushed aside -- and for what?
For what basically amounts to a trial transcript. I'm not interested in reading a trial transcript -- which is what about 70% of this book is. (I spent nine long years reading trial transcripts to earn my daily bread, and I'm not about to do it again, certainly not for free.) Trial transcripts are boring. The are REALLY boring when all they are interspersed with is the inner monologue of one or more of the characters. If I were reading this book -- instead of listening to it -- I could flip the pages fast, skim, to see if there was anything I needed to know. But in listening, I'm pretty much pinned to the page as long as the author wants me there.
I've had it. No more.
But the good news is, there are now many authors writing excellent fiction set in Victorian times -- when I started reading Anne Perry, she was the only one I knew (other than AC Doyle himself, of course!) who focused on that time. Now? Maureen Jennings, Deanna Raybourn, Stephanie Barron, and my personal favorite, Victoria Thompson, although her books are set in New York during that same era. Lots of options, now, for those of us who love those historical settings. But I'm swearing off Inspector Monk.
I've been reading Anne Perry for years, always enjoying her books. With audiobooks now, Davina Porter makes them more alive and addictive.
I have either read or listened to the entire Monk and Esther series; this book, with Sir Oliver's career, reputation and freedom in the balance was by far the best...and Davina Porter is perfect, as always.
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