William Monk Books

William Monk is the name of a series of historical fiction novels. It is also the name of the series’ primary protagonist. William Monk’s story takes place in the Victorian Era. William, the son of a fisherman, worked as a banker and was mentored by Arroll Dundas who taught him the financial trade.

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Arroll also taught him how to dress and act like a gentleman. William’s departure from the financial arena came when Arroll was wrongfully convicted of railway fraud. William was all but powerless to help him out of his predicament.

And so, William became a policeman, determined to never feel so powerless ever again. William is marked by his ambition which drives him to succeed in the face of impossible odds, this despite making enemies along the way to the top.

Through William Monk’s perspective, Anne Perry injects a lot of sarcasm into this series, setting her protagonist apart by making him proud and highly impulsive despite being so clever. Because of his unwavering sense of justice, complemented by his intelligence and obstinate nature, William often clashes with his superiors. The excellent results he delivers normally emanate from his emotional and passionate approach to his work, and he often elicits problems from all the wrong people along the way.

As with most of her books, Anne Perry provides an unwavering analysis of the Victorian Era, both through the things William encounters and the manner in which his brash attitude drives him to disregard social conventions. William is always the one detective in the William Monk series who will suspect the gentry of criminal activities instead of the servants, showing a disregard for class distinctions that doesn’t win him any favors.

The first book in the series, The Face of a Stranger, surprised readers because it was also set in the Victorian Era and yet Anne Perry managed to distinguish it somewhat from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Series, which is also set within a similar time period.

The Book, curiously enough, finds William Monk after he has lost his memory. He then tries to hide his conundrum even while solving a brutal murder.

William Monk Awards

Of the significant accolades Anne Perry has received over the decades, two have been for her work in the William Monk Series. Perry was nominated for the Agatha Ward for Best Novel in 1990 and 1992 for The Face of a Stranger and Defend and Betray respectively.

Best William Monk Books

The William Monk Series is often compared to the Thomas Pitt Series, though the two books are noticeably distinct, some of the best books in the series including the following:

The Face of a Stranger: William Monk is having a difficult day. Everyone keeps telling him that he is a detective from London called William Monk. But he doesn’t know for sure whether or not that is true.

The accident that felled him spared his life but took his memory. His past has now all but vanished. But Monk is determined to hide the truth, even after he is assigned to investigate a brutal murder and realizes that he has forgotten all his professional skills.

This book introduces 1856 London to readers and Anne Perry does an amazing job of bringing the era to life. The amnesia works as a plot device that Perry uses expertly to ease readers into a world that she intricately builds.

The Sins of the Wolf: Nurse Hester Latterly, who has been tasked with accompanying Mrs. Mary Farraline on a short train trip to London, is distraught when the elderly Scottish lady dies during the night.

When the postmortem examination reveals that Mary died from a lethal dose of medicine, Nurse Hester is charged with murder. William Monk is assigned the difficult task of sifting through the unassailable Farraline Clan to find the calculating killer.

There is little chance that Oliver Rathbone, despite being a skilled barrister, can save Nurse Hester from execution, not without William Monk’s help.

This book continues Monk’s efforts to rediscover his life after a bout of amnesia. Anne Perry’ solid prose make her representation of Victorian Society so much more lively, this while creating highly engaging relationships.

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The “Veronica Speedwell” series is written by Deanna Raybourn. The books are set in Victorian times and follow a historian with a love for lepidoptery. The butterfly hunter and world traveler must thwart a plot to see her abducted.