Prudence Barrymore braved the horrors of war to nurse the wounded on the battlefronts of the Crimea. Shortly after she returned to England, she was strangled to death in a hospital. Inspector Monk is instantly convinced that her death was not a random act of violence, but a deliberately-plotted murder.
Who would murder the courageous young nurse? And why? With the help of Prudence's friend, Nurse Hester Latterly, Inspector Monk works feverishly to find the answers. In an explosive courtroom confrontation, he will expose a cunning murderer, and a horrifying evil that threatens every woman in England.
For all Inspector Monk fans, and for all listeners encountering this extraordinary mystery series for the first time, A Sudden, Fearful Death is an unforgettable listening experience.
©1993 Anne Perry; (P)1996 Recorded Books, Inc.
"Anne Perry's mysteries, set in Victorian England and featuring William Monk and Hester Latterly, are engrossing....Anne Perry and Davina Porter seem made for each other. Porter reads in a manner that enhances the story and completely immerses the listener in the various characters, no matter what their sex or station in life. She captures the essence of each person's voice as the novel moves from an arrest to a trial and a surprising conclusion" (AudioFile)
I'm not normallly a fan of Victorian anything, including mysteries. But Anne Perrry is such an incredible writer that I always jump on her latest and can listen to them several times. She is among the best at character development, and her juxtaposition of England's upper and lowest classes, along with those inbetween, is stunning, and usually a strong component of the mystery -- indeed, often of the crimes themselves. Couple Perry's writing with excellent narration and it's no wonder she's much-loved at Audible.
I discovered the William Monk series while searching for books narrated by Davina Porter. This is the first of the Anne Perry series I have read - I don't usually read novels set in this time period - but am enjoying the characters and stories. (Unfortunately, it appears that several in the series are not available on Audible and that later books have a different narrator. As a Davina Porter fan, it remains to be seen if I will like them as well with another narrator.)
The best thing you can make is joy.
This is a well written book, and I enjoyed listening to it in that "I'm doing something else and I just want my mind occupied" way that I listen when knitting or doing something else. But it didn't engage me at all. (But then again, I'd listen to Davina Porter read the St. Louis phone book and enjoy it!)
Perhaps it was the sketchy-to-be-almost-nonexistent back story on characters I guess I was supposed to already know, or the very tedious women-are-property-DO-YOU-GET-THIS hammer (yes, very true, but once the horse is dead you don't have to beat it over and over in the same book!) but most of all it was the slim mystery and the fact that all the men in the book were very short sighted (what, a woman DOCTOR! Why, how ABSURD - now get back to the fainting couch!)
I would have SO preferred to hear more of the fascinating life that the dead victim must have crafted for herself, a bit about surgical procedures, even a nod to the few women doctors who DID practice in Victorian times. I hadn't expected this to be so predictable - and it took a damned long time getting there!
A great novel. Her development of characters and descriptions of scenes are vivid. You feel you can actually imagine the different places in London and the countryside. The plot twists and turns so you can never predict "who dun it"! Give these novels a chance and you'll be hooked!
Yes, her narration is superb.
Monk returns and doesn't participate quite as much in this installment. Hester does most of the work! The mystery was great.. though, she has written better. I didn't guess who-dun-it until 3/4's of the way through the book.
Ms Perry seems to be addressing a lot of current issues in these Monk novels. This one.. well, I'd spoil it if I said more.. suffice it to say, that she seems to try to get us to empathize with certain aspects of society. However, she does it in a very gentle way.. it doesn't change my mind, but doesn't offend either.
Ms. Porter, as usual does an excellent job narrating. It wouldn't be a Perry book without her voice!
As usual, Ms. Perry's signature ending is at work... abrupt!
Yes, I'd recommend it!
My feelings for the William Monk mysteries have always been lukewarm at best, but this book made me seriously reconsider continuing with the series despite my interest in Monk's history.
The mystery was convoluted, and Monk seemed as inept as usual. There were questions unanswered such as how Callandra recognized Marian, and inconsistencies such as Monk being jubilant about the content of the letters he had received and acting all smug in front of Runcorn but telling Rathbone that he didn't believe the perpetrator was the person on trial. I got so tired of being told that Monk was brilliant instead of being shown it. There was a character whose name was rather similar to another (Robert Oliver and Oliver Rathbone) which I thought was poorly chosen. Since Book 1, it was clear that the author had an agenda. While I managed to somewhat brush it aside in the previous books, in this one, it felt too intrusive for me to ignore.
The narration was not that great either. The echoes were back again and present for most of the audiobook. There seemed to be less effort to make the characters sound distinct from one another, and too often I was confused about who was speaking, whether the character was male or female. There was hardly any life to this narration. While I realize that Davina Porter is practically revered for an excellent narration of the Outlander series, I find myself wholly unimpressed by her narration in the William Monk series. She does not have a wide range of voices, and her voice acting is barely there. Everything felt...bland.
In short, I was heartily bored, irritated and unimpressed by both book and narration.
Cross-posted from Goodreads
I enjoy almost everything Ms. Perry produces but the deepening relationship between Hester Latterly (Monk) and William Monk constantly intrigues me. I also appreciate the gentile nature of the period she writes about. This specific story is bested only by her own "Execution Dock". It is also nice to know the verbiage can be trusted.
I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.
This is the first of the William Monk series that I've read. I enjoyed it very much. I intend to get as many of them as I can. Great read.
I disagree with prior reviewers, I did not find the readers accent or her reading pace to be difficult to hear. I think she is excellent and added very much to my listening experience.
I have read other Anne Perry novels and I liked this one very much. I enjoy her descriptions of Victorian English society and her development of the characters.
Much too long and I can't think of anything good to say about it. Excellent reader otherwise I'd have given up after a couple of hours. I persevered to the end just to get my money's worth but I shan't be reading any other books by this author.
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