Victorian London–a dangerous place. When detective William Monk wakes up in a hospital, he can’t remember anything–a carriage accident two weeks previous leaves him without memory. Frightened of what will happen if his superiors realize what has happened–being fired and left to work in a sweatshop–Monk quickly decides to hide his amnesia as best he can while tackling the most challenging case of his career.
A novel with a strong focus on characters, The Face of a Stranger centers on Monk, his police superior Runcorn, and Hester Latterly–a nurse recently returned from Crimea. Monk is faced with finding the murderer of Joscelin Grey–a well-to-do third son of nobility and veteran of the Crimean War. Grey was found dead in his room with his head bashed in–and evidence that the killer had continued beating Grey for some time after his death.
Not only searching for evidence of a murderer, Monk is also trying to piece together his own identity. Unable for the most part to tell others of his amnesia, Monk is left guessing what sort of man he once was and discovering that he’s not altogether fond of the person he once was.
Anne Perry is something of a veteran at mystery novels, and she is very good. The plot keeps the reader guessing throughout while also developing characters that are both realistic and relatable. Two other Perry novels that I also enjoyed: A Funeral in Blue and Southamption Row. I would highly recommend both the William Monk detective series as well as the William and Charlotte Pit detective series.