February 25th, 2024
Home | Log in!

On Top Shelf
EXPLOSIVE TRAILEXPLOSIVE TRAIL
Fresh Pick
THE TEACHER
THE TEACHER

New Books This Week

Fresh Fiction Box

Video Book Club

Leap Year Giveaways


Sweet Reads in February

Slideshow image


Since your web browser does not support JavaScript, here is a non-JavaScript version of the image slideshow:

slideshow image
Rumors aren't the only thing that will stir when Abigail returns to Boone County, Texas.


slideshow image
From Loss to Love: A Pilot and an Artist's Colliding Worlds


slideshow image
Caffeine and Commitments: Stirring Up Love in San Francisco


slideshow image
"Her biggest fan �has a fatal obsession."


slideshow image
Bloodlines and Boardrooms: A Paranormal Romance of Power and Passion


slideshow image
A new, action-packed adventure that blends science-fiction technology and magical fantasy elements with a touch of historical romance.


Excerpt of Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry

Purchase


William Monk Series #13
Random House
August 2003
Featuring: William and Hester Monk; Michael Dolgarno; Katrina Harcus
334 pages
ISBN: 0345440064
Paperback (reprint)
Add to Wish List

Mystery Historical

Also by Anne Perry:

A Christmas Vanishing, November 2023
Hardcover / e-Book
The Traitor Among Us, September 2023
Hardcover / e-Book
A Truth to Lie For, September 2023
Trade Paperback / e-Book
A Christmas Deliverance, November 2022
Hardcover / e-Book
A Darker Reality, September 2022
Trade Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
A Truth to Lie For, September 2022
Hardcover / e-Book
Three Debts Paid, April 2022
Hardcover / e-Book
A Darker Reality, September 2021
Hardcover / e-Book
Death with a Double Edge, April 2021
e-Book
A Christmas Resolution, October 2020
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
A Question of Betrayal, September 2020
Hardcover / e-Book
One Fatal Flaw, April 2020
Hardcover / e-Book
A Christmas Gathering, November 2019
Hardcover / e-Book
Death in Focus, September 2019
Hardcover / e-Book
Triple Jeopardy, April 2019
e-Book
Death in Focus, April 2019
Trade Size / e-Book
Twenty-one Days, April 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
Murder on the Serpentine, April 2018
Trade Size / e-Book (reprint)
A Christmas Message, November 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
Treachery at Lancaster Gate, April 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
A Christmas Escape, November 2015
Paperback / e-Book
Corridors of the Night, September 2015
Hardcover / e-Book
The Angel Court Affair, April 2015
Hardcover / e-Book
Death on Blackheath, March 2015
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
A New York Christmas, November 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Midnight at Marble Arch, April 2014
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Blind Justice, September 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
Dorchester Terrace, March 2013
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Treason at Lisson Grove, May 2012
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Hyde Park Headsman, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Highgate Rise, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Long Spoon Lane, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Bethlehem Road, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Seven Dials, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Silence in Hanover Close, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Cardington Crescent, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Ashworth Hall, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Pentecost Alley, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Brunswick Gardens, August 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Belgrave Square, July 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Southampton Row, July 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Face of a Stranger, May 2011
e-Book
Farrier's Lane, April 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Half Moon Street, April 2011
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
A Christmas Odyssey, November 2010
Hardcover
Traitors Gate, October 2010
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Whitechapel Conspiracy, October 2010
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop, October 2010
Hardcover
The Sheen On The Silk, April 2010
Hardcover
Rutland Place, February 2010
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Death in the Devil's Acre, February 2010
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Resurrection Row, October 2009
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Bluegate Fields, October 2009
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Paragon Walk, June 2009
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Callander Square, June 2009
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
The Cater Street Hangman, October 2008
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)
Buckingham Palace Gardens, April 2008
Hardcover / e-Book
A Christmas Beginning, November 2007
Hardcover
We Shall Not Sleep, April 2007
Hardcover
At Some Disputed Barricade, March 2007
Hardcover / e-Book
A Christmas Secret, November 2006
Hardcover
Transgressions, September 2006
Paperback (reprint)
Dark Assassin, March 2006
Hardcover
A Christmas Guest, November 2005
Hardcover
Angels in the Gloom, August 2005
Hardcover
Shifting Tide, March 2005
Paperback (reprint)
Come Armageddon, December 2004
Paperback (reprint)
A Christmas Visitor, October 2004
Hardcover
Powers of Detection, October 2004
Trade Size
Shoulder the Sky, September 2004
Hardcover
No Graves as Yet, August 2004
Paperback
Death By Dickens, March 2004
Hardcover
A Christmas Journey, November 2003
Hardcover
Death of a Stranger, August 2003
Paperback (reprint)
Naked Came the Phoenix, September 2002
Paperback
Twisted Root, September 2002
Paperback
Tathea, August 2002
Paperback
Funeral in Blue, August 2002
Paperback (reprint)
Slaves of Obsession, October 2001
Paperback (reprint)
A Dish Taken Cold, January 2001
Hardcover
Bedford Square, March 2000
Paperback / e-Book (reprint)

Excerpt of Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry

There was a noise outside the women's clinic in Coldbath Square. Hester was on night duty. She turned from the stove as the street door opened, the wood still in her hand. Three women stood in the entrance, half supporting each other. Their cheap clothes were torn and splattered with blood, their faces streaked with it, skin yellow in the light from the gas lamp on the wall. One of them, her fair hair coming loose from an untidy knot, held her left hand as if she feared the wrist were broken.

The middle woman was taller, her dark hair loose, and she was gasping, finding it difficult to get her breath. There was blood on the torn front of her satin dress and smeared across her high cheekbones.

The third woman was older, well into her thirties, and there were bruises purpling on her arms, her neck, and her jaw.

"Hey, missus!" she said, urging the others inside, into the warmth of the long room with its scrubbed board floor and whitewashed walls. "Mrs. Monk, yer gotter give us an 'and again. Kitty 'ere's in a right mess. An' me, an' all. An' I think as Lizzie's broke 'er wrist."

Hester put down the wood and came forward, glancing only once behind her to make sure that Margaret was already getting hot water, cloths, bandages, and the herbs to steep, which would make cleaning the wounds easier and less painful. It was the purpose of this place to care for women of the streets who were injured or ill, but who could not pay a doctor and would be turned away from more respectable charities. It had been the idea of her friend Callandra Daviot, and Callandra had provided the initial funds before events in her personal life had taken her out of London. It was through her also that Hester had met Margaret Ballinger, desperate to escape a respectable but uninteresting proposal of marriage. Her undertaking work like this had alarmed the gentleman in question so much he had at the last moment balked at making the offer, to Margaret's relief and her mother's chagrin.

Now Hester guided the first woman to one of the chairs in the center of the floor beside the table. "Come in, Nell," she urged. "Sit down." She shook her head. "Did Willie beat you again? Surely you could find a better man?" She looked at the bruises on Nell's arms, plainly made by a gripping hand.

"At my age?" Nell said bitterly, easing herself into the chair. "C'mon, Mrs. Monk! Yer mean well, I daresay, but yer feet in't on the ground. Not unless yer offerin' that nice-lookin' ol' man o' yours?" She leered ruefully. "Then I might take yer up one day. 'E's got an air about 'im as 'e could be summat real special. Kind o' mean but fun, if yer know wot I'm sayin'?" She gave a guffaw of laughter which turned into a racking cough, and she bent double over her knees as the paroxysm shook her.

Without being asked, Margaret poured a little whiskey out of a bottle, replaced the cork, and added hot water from the kettle. Wordlessly she held it until Nell had controlled herself sufficiently to take it, the tears still streaming down her face. She struggled for breath, sipped some of the whiskey, gagged, and then took a deeper gulp.

Hester turned to the woman called Kitty and found her staring with wide, horrified eyes, her body tense, muscles so tight her shoulders all but tore the thin fabric of her bodice.

"Mrs. Monk?" she whispered huskily. "Your husband . . ."

"He's not here," Hester assured her. "There's no one here who will hurt you. Where are you injured?"

Kitty did not reply. She was shuddering so violently her teeth chattered.

"Go on, yer silly cow!" Lizzie said impatiently. "She won't 'urt yer, an' she won't tell no one nuffin'. Nell's only goin' on 'cos she fancies 'er ol' man. Proper gent, 'e is. Smart as a whip. Dresses like the tailor owed 'im, not t'other way 'round." She nursed her broken wrist, wincing with pain. "Get on wiv it, then. You may 'ave got all night--I in't."

Kitty looked once at the iron beds, five along each side of the room, the stone sinks at the far end, and the buckets and ewers of water drawn from the well at the corner of the square. Then she faced Hester, making an intense effort to control herself.

"I got in a fight," she said quietly. "It's not that bad. I daresay I was frightened as much as anything." Her voice was surprising: it was low and a trifle husky, and her diction was clear. At one time she must have had some education. It struck in Hester a note of pity so sharp that for a moment it was all she could think of. She tried not to let it show in her expression. The woman did not want the intrusion of pity. She would be only too aware of her own fall from grace without anyone else's notice of it.

"Those are bad bruises on your neck." Hester looked at them more closely. It appeared as if someone had held her by the throat, and there was a deep graze across the front of her breastbone, as though a hard fingernail had scored it deliberately. "Is that blood yours?" Hester asked, indicating the splatters across the front of Kitty's bodice.

Kitty gave a shuddering sigh. "No. No! I . . . I reckon I caught his nose when I hit him back. It's not mine. I'll be all right. Nell's bleeding. You should see to that. And Lizzie broke her wrist, or somebody did." She spoke generously, but she was still shivering, and Hester was certain she was far from well enough to leave. She would have liked to know what bruises were hidden under her clothes, or what beatings she had endured in the past, but she did not ask questions. It was one of the rules; they had all agreed that no one pressed for personal information or repeated what they overheard or deduced. The whole purpose of the house was simply to offer such medical help as lay within their skill, or that of Mr. Lockhart, who called by every so often and could be reached easily enough in an emergency. He had failed his medical exams at the very end of his training through a weakness for drink rather than ignorance or inability. He was happy enough to help in return for company, a little kindness, and the feeling that he belonged somewhere.

He liked to talk, to share food he had been given rather than paid for, and when he was short of funds he slept on one of the beds. Margaret offered Kitty a hot whiskey and water, and Hester turned to look at Nell's deep gash.

"That'll have to be stitched," she advised.

Nell winced. She had experienced Hester's needlework before.

"Otherwise it will take a long time to heal," Hester warned.

Nell pulled a face. "If yer stitchin's still like yer stitched me 'and, they'd throw yer out of a bleedin' sweatshop," she said good-humoredly. "All it wants is buttons on it!" She drew in her breath between her teeth as Hester pulled the cloth away from the wound and it started to bleed again. "Jeez!" Nell said, her face white. "Be careful, can't yer? Yer got 'ands like a damn navvy!"

Hester was accustomed to the mild abuse and knew it was only Nell's way of covering her fear and her pain. This was the fourth time she had been there in the month and a half since the house had been open.

"Yer'd think since yer'd looked arter soldiers in the Crimea wi' Florence Nightingale an' all, yer'd be a bit gentler, wouldn't yer?" Nell went on. "I bet yer snuffed as many o' our boys as the fightin' ever did. 'Oo paid yer then? The Russkies?" She looked at the needle Margaret had threaded with gut for Hester. Her face went gray and she swiveled her head to avoid seeing the point go through her flesh.

"Keep looking at the door," Hester advised. "I'll be as quick as I can."

"That supposed ter make me feel better?" Nell demanded. "Yer got that bleedin' fat leech comin' in 'ere again."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Jessop!" Nell said with stinging contempt as the street door closed again and a large, portly man in a frock coat and brocade waistcoat stood just inside, stamping his feet as if to force water off them, although in fact it was a perfectly dry night.

"Good evening, Mrs. Monk," he said unctuously. "Miss Ballinger." His eyes flickered over the other three women, his lips slightly curled. He made no comment, but in his face was his superiority, his comfortable amusement, the ripple of interest in them which he resented, and would have denied hotly. He looked Hester up and down. "You are a very inconvenient woman to find, ma'am. I don't care for having to walk the streets at this time of night in order to meet with you. I can tell you that with total honesty."

Hester made a very careful stitch in Nell's arm. "I hope you tell me everything with total honesty, Mr. Jessop," she said coldly and without looking up at him.

Nell shifted slightly and sniggered, then turned it into a yell as she felt the thread of gut pulling through her flesh.

"For goodness sake be quiet, woman!" Jessop snapped, but his eyes followed the needle with fascination. "Be grateful that you are being assisted. It is more than most decent folk would do for you." He forced his attention away. "Now, Mrs. Monk, I dislike having to discuss my affairs in front of these unfortunates, but I cannot wait around for you to have time to spare." He put his thumbs in the pockets of his red brocade waistcoat.

"As I am sure you are aware, it is quarter to one in the morning and I have a home to go to. We need to reconsider our arrangements." He freed one hand and flicked it at the room in general. "This is not the best use of property, you know. I am doing you a considerable service in allowing you to rent these premises at such a low rate." He rocked very slightly back and forth on the balls of his feet. "As I say, we must reconsider our arrangement."

Hester held the needle motionless and looked at him. "No, Mr. Jessop, we must keep precisely to our arrangement. It was made and witnessed by the lawyers. It stands."

"I have my reputation to consider," he went on, his eyes moving for a moment to each of the women, then back to Hester.

Excerpt from Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry
All rights reserved by publisher and author

© 2003-2024 off-the-edge.net  all rights reserved Privacy Policy