The murder of two women in an artists studio shocks London because one of the women is Elissa Beck, wife of noted surgeon Kristian Beck. Hester and William Monk have their own sorrow, for Kristian is a very close friend.

Because of their friendship, Monk undertakes a professional investigation, which brings him in contact with his old nemesis, Runcorn, who is in charge of the case. To the surprise of both men, they are able to put personal enmity aside and conduct an investigation. Unfortunately, the investigation seems to lead to Kristian as the only possible killer.

When Beck is arrested, Runcorn continues his official investigation. Hester, a nurse, searches for evidence at the hospital and among the Becks social circle and Monk travels to Becks homeland of Austria, hoping that there is something in Becks past that can clear him. To his surprise he uncovers a secret about the Beck family, one so shocking that Kristian himself is unaware of it, and, if made public, could cause his social and professional ruin.

The astounding Anne Perry continues to dazzle the literary and mystery world with FUNERAL IN BLUE. This is an exceptionally strong story that closely examines the prejudices and mores of mid-Victorian times. The interplay between Monk and Runcorn will also please the reader as well as leave her on tenterhooks, waiting for the next installment. (Oct., 352 pp., $25.00) Hardcoverf published October 2001.

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg