Anne Perry specializes in historical mysteries set in England and creates what Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times calls an “alluring world of Victorian crime and intrigue.” Critics have compared her novels to those of Charles Dickens because they explore the dramatic contrasts between the rich and the poor and the problems inherent in a society divided along rigid class lines. Perry features investigative teams composed of a professional male and an amateur female detective in two series. The upper-class status of the women and the professional contacts of their working-class husbands connect them to all levels of society.
Her first mystery novel, The Cater Street Hangman (1979), was the first of twenty- five novels featuring Inspector Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte.
The Face of a Stranger (1990) introduces Inspector William Monk and Hester Latterly, a forthright young woman who nursed with Florence Nightingale in Crimea, whom he later marries. There are sixteen novels in the Monk series.
In The Face of a Stranger, Monk is recovering from a serious accident and he finds he has lost not only his memory, but his professional skills as well. He is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of an aristocratic Crimean war hero and as his memory returns, Monk begins to realize that his own former self was not only an ambitious, but cold and perhaps cruel, man. The Publishers Weekly review called it a “period mystery with a pronounced and satisfying psychological dimension. “
The Usual Suspects will be discussing this book on Sunday, May 16th, at 2 pm. New faces are always welcome. To reserve a copy of the book, call 291-4821.
Anne Perry also writes a series of mysteries set during World War I which features a family involved in British intelligence work, and she adds a title to her Christmas series annually. These delightful books feature characters that we have met earlier in the Pitt and Monk series.
Her latest release is The Sheen on the Silk, a tale set in 13th-century Constantinople at the brink of a Christian crusade. Anna Zarides, a young woman physician, disguises herself as a eunuch named Anastasius to prove her brother's innocence of a crime he did not commit. Publishers Weekly say of this one “As the danger, betrayals, and dead bodies mount, Perry conveys an earnest message about obsession, sacrifice, and faith at a dazzling crossroads of East and West civilizations.”
At 518 pages, it is a handful, but I hope to read more about the amazing Anna.
Here is some good news for fans who worry that Perry will run out of energy or ideas. In an interview she once said,”The other day somebody said to me, ‘You shouldn't write so much, you are turning out too much,’ and I spoke to my agent Nancy, and said, ‘I don't know that I can help it.’ Her reply: ‘You can't write less, it's like telling the birds not to sing.’”