The latest in the William and Hester Monk series involves the brutal murder of a Hungarian immigrant. It is decidedly vicious in nature, something for the most part, still unheard of in Victorian England. So begins the story An Echo of Murder, by Anne Perry, which is a look into the world of immigrant London, and the mentality of post Crimean War England.
The year is 1870. London is the cultural and financial center of the world. People running from oppression and seeking a new start have decided to make England their new home. So it is not surprising that a small group of Hungarians have taken up residence among the docks in this bustling city. They are an unobtrusive group, numbering only into the hundreds. No threat to anyone, except the nativists, who see any immigrants as a threat to their way of life. Then a Hungarian immigrant is found murdered in an evil almost Satanic way.
So begins the hunt by William Monk into who is the guilty party. Into this caustic brew an old friend of Hester’s, long thought dead in the Crimean War emerges. Once a battlefield surgeon, Fitz is beset by nightmares and memory horrors that today we know as PTSD. Hester and Williams’ ward, Scruff, who is studying to be a doctor while he works at a clinic for the poor, befriends Fitz, looks up to him in fact, and tries to help him as best he can. But, in the end, it is Fitz who actually ends up helping Hester make peace with her own past.
From the London docks, to alleyways, cafes, churches and police stations, we are brought on a nonstop journey through the mind of a serial killer. The question is always why? What is it that connects all the victims? Why are they murdered in such horrible ways? Is there a religious connection? Is there an immigrant connection? Is any of it personal as opposed to a larger political ideal? Bigotry and fears raise their ugly head as Monk tries his best to find answers to all these questions, which are finally answered in a shattering courtroom confession.
This book is available September 19, 2017.