The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Imagine wakeing up in a hospital and not knowing who you are or anything about your life. People come to visit and you have no idea who they are. William Monk wakes up in the hospital to find that his body is healing, but his mind is blank. From the Superintendent who comes to visit, he learns that he is a detective and that his cases are being handled, but Monk has no memory of the cases. He does know that he wants his job desperately and he can't let anyone know he can't remember anything.
Back at work, he is given the case of a Crimean War hero who has been beaten to death in an apartment. It becomes apparent that no one entered the building who can't be accounted for and that the culprit must be an acquaintence or family member.
Hester Latterly was a nurse with Florence Nightengale and has come to nurse an elderly gentleman in the household of the slain soldier. Her views on women's rights and her brash opinions set Monks teeth on edge, but he finds her assessment of the family invaluable in determining the family dynamics.
As Monk continues to investigate, he finds that, while he was a brilliant detective, his brusk manner and arrogance have left him with no friends and the enmity of Supt. Runcorn, his senior officer. He also finds out that he does have a sister, but he has been quite insensitive there also. His only help comes in the form of an assistant whom he has never worked with before, but in whom he sees great promise.
This is one of Anne Perry's best books. The whole premise of an amnesiac detective has wonderful possibilities and she makes the most of them. The reader is as anxious to pick up clues to Monk's history as he is himself. This is a very good read.
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