At a small dinner party with strangers recommended by a mutual friend, newlyweds Monk and Hester meet an armaments dealer and two Americans competing to buy his wares, one for the Union and one for the Confederates. When the host is later murdered, and his young daughter, enthralled by the Union officer, disappears, Monk is hired by the widow to find out what happened, and retrieve her daughter. This leads to the Monks' first trip to America, where they find the girl, and end up in the first big Civil War battle. Hester ends up working as a nurse, treating whoever needs her the most. Monk is highly impressed by seeing her in action. They solve the case, and bring the miscreant, and the daughter, back to London to face charges. As usual, Perry brings the reader into the action, whether it be the battle, the courtroom, or Monk's frightened effort to dive the murky Thames looking for evidence. A subplot about pirates is extraneous, or I'd have given this one 5 stars.
Very typical of the author, though this one touches on the American Civil War. Beginning was quite engrossing, middle was a little dull, and I did suspect "who done it," though I wasn't sure. Definitely worth reading if you liked the other Monk books, but if you're not familiar with the series you would might find it a little hard to follow. (Start with "Face of a Stranger.")
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