William Monk knows London’s streets like the back of his hand; after all, they are where he earns his living. But the river Thames and its teeming docks—where towering schooners and clipper ships unload their fabulous cargoes and wharf rats and night plunderers ply their trades—is unknown territory.Only dire need persuades him to accept an assignment from shipping magnate Clement Louvain to investigate the theft of a cargo of African ivory from Louvain’s recently docked schooner, the Maude Idris. Monk is desperate for work, not only to feed himself and his wife, Hester, but to keep open the doors of her clinic, a last resort for sick and starving street women.But he wonders: Why didn’t Louvain report the ivory theft directly to the River Police? Why did he warn Monk not to investigate the murder of one of the Maude Idris crew? Even more mysterious, why has Louvain brought to Hester’s clinic a desperately ill woman who, he claims, is the discarded mistress of an old friend? Neither Hester nor Monk anticipates the nightmare answers to these questions...nor the trap that soon so fatefully ensnares them.
Sometimes the personal story of a particular author seems almost as intriguing as the books they write. Such is the life of British author Anne Perry (aka Juliet Marion Hulme). As a child Hulme was very ill with tuberculosis and ended up being fostered out by a family in the Caribbean. She did get better, and the family moved to a private island in New Zealand, where she describes her life as a Swiss family Robinson type existence. She became ill again and during her bouts of illness through her teen years, she missed most of her childhood education. However, her mother had prepared her by teaching her how to read and write by the time she was four. Her heart always seemed to be in writing.
At the age of 15, Juliet and her best friend plotted and killed her friend's mother. The three went for a walk in the park and Hulme dropped a stone, causing the mother to bend over to pick it up, and her friend hit her own mother on the head with a half brick. They had planned on the strike killing her, but they had to strike her 20 times before she was dead. The girls were put on trial and each served five years in prison. It is said that they never saw each other again after being released. For many years, nobody connected author Anne Perry as the teen murderer, Juliet Hulme. In 1994, the film Heavenly Creatures, portrayed Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker with characters being played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey respectively.
Perry's genre of writing covers Victorian Era Detective fiction for the most part. Her novels have been centered around two main characters, Thomas Pitt and William Monk. She has published 47 novels and several collections of stories.
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