Execution Dock by Anne Perry

 

Historical Mystery

Execution Dock Execution DockAnne Perry; Ballantine Books WorldCatJericho Phillips is one of the evilest men on the river in William Monk’s opinion. Although he’s never been caught and convicted Monk is sure he keeps young boys for sex slaves on a boat on the river. When the boys get too old for his purposes, he sells them to ship captains as new sailors. After one boy is killed, Monk is sure he can prove Phillips did it and will hang. Hester, his wife, agrees and has seen the results of Phillips’ work. Monk is able to catch and arrest the slaver.

But Oliver Rathbone is hired to defend Phillips in court. He is able to not only get Phillips but to cast shadows against the dead man who had been Monk’s boss and all the Thames River Police. Phillips can’t be tried again for the murder. Now Monk has to start again with a new case and accusation and arrest.

There is a large obstacle, though. Many of Phillips’ customer are men from the upper echelon of society. Rathbone was approached by his father-in-law on behalf of an anonymous source to defend Phillips. Rathbone is proud of his work on the case although not of demeaning Monk and Hester. But the more he considers it, the more he thinks about Phillips, and the more he learns, the less he is proud of himself. He gave an excellent defense for a man he was fairly sure was guilty. Perhaps he shouldn’t have. Who wanted Phillips freed? And why?

Monk and Hester start digging into Phillips’ connections. Somewhere somehow they will find the threads that will lead Monk to a new conviction. They get help from both employees and volunteers at Hester’s free medical clinic for abused women and poor. Also, they take in a boy who has been a river rat and could have been taken in by Phillips – Scuff. They promise Scuff they will protect him from Phillips and the like. When Scuff is abducted, they realize how much he means to them.

Anne Perry writes a good, dark, intricate mystery that is uplifting in its ending. She takes large social problems and sets them in 1860’s London. It’s easy to look back and think “what a better time – people were more moral” – but they weren’t. The vices of men have been around since evil has been around. Perry puts them against a realistic background that isn’t as pleasant as we’d like to believe.

Perry’s writing has superb characters and descriptions of the river, the clinic, and the darker, poorer side of London society of the time. My emotions were caught up and twisted as she dug deeper into the narrative. Monk, Hester, and Rathbone have already been brought to life in earlier novels in the series. Execution Dock adds another layer and more characters into their lives.

Notice:  Graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations

More books by Anne Perry
William Monk and Hester Latterly series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

Link to Amazon.com BooksLink to BetterWorld Books

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