On a wintry day in 1863, London police officer William Monk witnesses a horrible incident. A man and woman arguing plunge over the side of a bridge to their deaths. As he investigates whether the woman, Mary Havilland, jumped or was pushed by the man, Toby Argyll, Monk learns that she recently broke off her engagement to Argyll, and that Mary's father, a prominent engineer, committed suicide. But Mary firmly believed that he didn't kill himself.

It turns out that Argyll's brother heads a company that's building an underground sewer system in London. Before his death, Mary's father worked for him, but came to believe that the tunnels where workers were employed were unsafe. After her father's death, Mary also tried to prove that the employees were working under dire conditions.

Monk's quiet capability as a police officer makes him an enticing protagonist who lures readers into Perry's realistic world of 19th-century London. The initial suspense surrounding Mary's and Toby's deaths multiplies tenfold, escalating into an explosive, memorable conclusion in this top-rate installment of Perry's series. (Apr., 320 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick