From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In Perry's Victorian history-mystery series starring William and Hester Monk (this is the nineteenth installment), the point of entry for the evil that the couple try to right is the clinic for sick and injured prostitutes that Hester runs. In previous novels, Perry has examined all sorts of Victorian social ills, many of which have their parallels today. She does this, very naturally, by having Hester encounter some poor woman who has been abused or exploited. This time, one of the clinic's workers is upset because her father has been defrauded of his life's savings by the charismatic minister of a Nonconformist church, whose mission is to help people in Africa, while soaking parishioners. William, now head of the Thames River Police, is able to construct evidence of fraud. This book moves rather too quickly to trial, but the focus on series character Oliver Rathbone's handling of the trial as a judge is one of the story's best elements. Perry again delivers searing social criticism with well-drawn continuing characters.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist