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A Breach of Promise (William Monk, #9)
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A Breach of Promise (William Monk #9)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,475 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
The plaintiffs in a sensational breach of promise suit are wealthy social climbers Barton and Delphine Lambert, suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah's alleged fiance, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Not even to his counsel, distinguished barrister Sir Oliver Rath ...more
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published September 14th 1998 by Fawcett (first published 1997)
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Beth Wynne I would read them in order. The development of and relationships between the characters makes this almost necessary.
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Community Reviews

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Vickie Buenger
Nov 03, 2012 Vickie Buenger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I try not to read Anne Perry's books back to back because sometimes she gets bogged down in character self-reflection and, in the extreme, self-questioning and self-regret that I feel drags down the story without adding much appeal. If you read a couple in a row, the weight of those personal revelations counterbalances the mysteries and turns what should be a fun and entertaining read into a slog. That's why, even though I own about 25 of her mysteries (Monk, the Pitts, and the WWI series) I oft ...more
Jamie Collins
Four stars, because this is my favorite of the series so far. Perry is still a bit repetitive and heavy-handed with her themes (women are discriminated against and poverty is bad) but I am thoroughly enjoying the characters and the Victorian setting.

A brilliant architect is being sued for breach of promise of marriage, although he insists that he never actually proposed to the girl in question. Rathbone is acting for the defense, but it's a mystery to everyone why the architect won't just marry
Martin Bihl
I was actually disappointed in this work. While I love the depiction of Victorian London, this is the second William Monk mystery that i've read that felt curiously rushed at the end - "curious" because so much of the first half of the book felt plodding and slow. Also, while the concept in that drove the first half was fascinating, the resolution felt highly coincidental and imperfectly tied up. I will keep reading Ms. Perry's novels, but I hope that she regains her form - and would dissuade pe ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2017 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psycho-killers
Coincidence plays an even larger role than normal in this book, but you know what, it makes for a good story so screw it, I don't care. Also, I love when Monk goes Victorian Dirty Harry. Also, no spoilers, but the ending is worth an extra star all by itself. I am a sucker for that crap.
Jan 27, 2015 Hilary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first, this seems like a strangely trivial case for a mystery series. A young man called Melville approaches Rathbone, asking for his help defending a breach of promise suit. Rathbone somewhat reluctantly agrees, but knows he can't possibly win - Melville won't give him any reason, and everything points to an understanding and a plan of marriage!

At the same time, however, Rathbone and Monk are individually coming to recognize the intangible benefits, as well as the costs, of marriage: in fact
Laura Edwards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2013 Leya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keeper-shelf
Rathbone is baffled, he cannot find anything that may help Melville's case, and even when he asks for Monk's help. Meanwhile Miss Latterly is employment in taking care of a returned soldier from India, where he lost his arm and was badly disfigured; there she meets a woman who is desperately looking for her two nieces that were abandoned by their mother. While Monk investigates both Melville case and the missing girls case, he suddenly discovers that they're both intertwined.

I really enjoyed thi
Jun 18, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, 8-star
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery which a co-worker lent me. It’s a William Monk novel and although I’ve read a few books by Anne Perry before, I haven’t read any of this series. I’ll definitely look for more when I want a pleasant read and a good mystery. In this case, Monk is asked for his help by Sir Oliver Rathbone whose client, a brilliant young architect, is being sued for breach of promise. There seems no apparent reason why Killian Melville wouldn’t want to marry Zillah Lambert and Rathb ...more
Rebecca Huston
At the end of the Crimean war, a young soldier returns home disfigured and maimed, and is taken care of by Hester, the friend of William Monk. Monk is caught up in the case of a jilted lover who is suing his former fiancee, Zillah, for a breach of contract, intending to collect a sizeable settlement from her wealthy father. How the two cases connect is the meat of this story. While it's interesting, it's also not my favourite of the series. Still it's a bearable mystery to read, and better than ...more
Despite my poor memory, I couldn't forget this book. It's hard to say much more than the publisher's synopsis without spoilers, but I will say that in A Breach of Promise, Perry shows us that the Victorians were not so different from us in the 21st century -- but they may have been better at hiding it. I do have to say that I object to the characterization of the series as "William Monk" when I've always thought of them as the Hester Latterly series. It's true that as the series goes on Monk tak ...more
May 20, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2014 Toni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I found this book different than the others in this series from the very beginning. In addition to the cases that seem to be separate from each other, personal issues between Hester, Monk, and Rathbone are heating up.
Dec 13, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a number of books by this author from both of her series, but this is probably my favorite of hers so far. This is a part of her Monk-Latterly series and goes into detail about the lives, limitations and expectations of women in Victorian England.
Mary Corbal
Apr 02, 2015 Mary Corbal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La obra empieza de forma menos entretenida, porque no se trata de un caso de asesinato. Sin embargo, justo en la mitad ocurre algo que lo cambia todo. La novela te mantiene en vilo hasta el final.
Apr 08, 2014 Winston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done period mystery tackling present day issues as well.
A. Roy King
A good addition to this excellent mystery series. As I've said before, I enjoy the mid-1850s setting of these William Monk books. The mid-Victorian period is often neglected in favor of the later Victorian, at least in mystery fiction.

Linda Berry
Mar 18, 2017 Linda Berry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As is typical with Ann Perry's novels, the writing is intelligent, the story compelling and the characters well-drafted. She combines fascinating historical facts with the social mores of the Victorian age, and takes you on a sensitive emotional journey.

This one has a surprise twist to a character represented by Rathbone, and a surprise ending to the ongoing romantic triangle of Monk, Hester and Rathbone. I read the whole thing straight through.
Ann Alton
Mar 15, 2017 Ann Alton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love these. I'm not always in the mood for them (it's a cerebral read), but I always think, "oh, I know what's going on!" I'm so sure, turn the page, and.... "huh. Didn't see that coming." Given that this is the 10th book (?) in the series, that's pretty impressive.
Marilyn Fontane
Jun 18, 2016 Marilyn Fontane rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, anneperry
I found it hard to rate A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry; my feelings about the novel were mixed. Certainly the plot was unusual and interesting. Rather than the search for the culprit in the first half of the book followed by the dramatic court scene which adds to the knowledge gained, the court scene comes first and the search afterwards. Poor Oliver Rathbone couldn't add to anything. His role was sad and unfruitful. From there Monk took over and worked to find out what and why it happened th ...more
Colin Mitchell
A book that has received good ratings and a series that I have been following. For me, this one did not match up to some of the others. The main plot line seemed to end mid-book with the death of Sir Oliver Rathbone's client, then there is Hester Latterly's latest patient and Martha Jackson's missing nieces. The story lines came over to me as if they had been cobbled together and did not flow through to a complete story and we are reminded too often of Hester's experiences of nursing in the Crim ...more
Oct 22, 2016 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First sentence: Oliver Rathbone leaned back in his chair and let out a sigh of satisfaction.

Premise/plot: A Breach of Promise is the ninth book in the William Monk mystery series by Anne Perry. In this one, Oliver Rathbone takes up a difficult, near-impossible-to-win case. His client, Killian Melville, is being sued for breach of promise. His friendship with Zillah Lambert was taken--by her family--as a romantic relationship. A whole wedding was PLANNED without him ever having said "I love you"
Oct 02, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2015 Trish rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Anne Perry novel, and I was surprised to find such a heavy theme of feminism in this Victorian setting; I also was surprised by the portrayal of some of the characters' attitudes toward homosexuality and frankly have a hard time believing they'd have such liberal views considering the period in which they were raised. But aside from the author's political agenda, I was frustrated with the story for a number of other reasons.

The story drug on far too long, and the set-up was pai
Aug 31, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Anne Perry read. I feel enough other reviews described the plot that I'll just jump to what I love about Anne Perry's books. The mystery is compelling, but so are the personal interactions. The fact that its set in Victorian era England turns situations that today might be just mildly embarrassing, or not even noteworthy, into huge secrets that some people will do anything - even murder - to protect.

I like the character development too and little bits about the characters are revea
Janet Mahlum
Sep 01, 2015 Janet Mahlum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Killian Melville asks Sir Oliver Rathbone, a friend of detective William Monk, to defend him in a breach of promise suit. He swears he never asked Zillah Lambert to marry him and was unaware, till it was announced, that Zillah's mother was planning a wedding. Rathbone is sure Melville is not telling the whole truth. Why would he refuse to marry? Rathbone asks Monk to do some investigating to try and determine a cause. Both men find nothing. At first I found the book tedious and almost gave up on ...more
Catty K
Sep 11, 2016 Catty K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book as my introduction to Anne Perry because it was the highest rated Anne Perry book that my library stocked. This backfired on me as it deals primarily with the relationships between the main characters and how they've developed over the past 8 books, and the criminal plot is relegated to a 3rd or 4th level storyline depending on how you group the characters' relationships. Most people seemed to rate the novel based on the Hester love triangle and all its developments (no worrie ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Killian Melville, an up-and-coming young architect, is being sued for breach of promise by his mentor, Barton Lambert, because Melville is refusing to marry Lambert’s daughter, Zillah. Melville is adamant that he will not marry, but will not give a reason why, except that he never proposed to Miss Lambert and the wedding plans were all a misunderstanding by Zillah’s mother. Oliver Rathbone, Melville’s lawyer, hires Inspector Monk to search for any reason why Melville is so tight-mouthed. The ca ...more
Most of the plot twists in this mystery were pretty obvious, but I enjoyed it anyway. I don't always mind knowing the solution in advance; it is interesting to see how the author gets us there. (And I think, after a certain number of mysteries read, it gets harder and harder for an author to truly surprise the reader.)

My one criticism is that, somehow, all 3 main characters in this novel have quite modern sensibilities when it comes to gender and homosexuality. Yes, it makes them easier to like,
Nov 08, 2014 Rich rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rathbone takes a breach of promise case, Hester looks after a recently married man severely injured in battle, Monk bounces between the two.

There is a decent idea here, but it is buried under Perry's insistence on hammering out the same themes over and over again. Yes, we get that women were mistreated, yes, we get that people did not understand how to deal with people suffering with major physical/psychological traumas. There is something extremely patronising about the way the author examines
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Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is a British historical novelist.

Juliet took the name "Anne Perry," the latter being her stepfather's surname. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many of them feature a number of recurrin
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Other Books in the Series

William Monk (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • The Face of a Stranger (William Monk, #1)
  • A Dangerous Mourning (William Monk, #2)
  • Defend and Betray (William Monk, #3)
  • A Sudden, Fearful Death (William Monk, #4)
  • The Sins of the Wolf (William Monk, #5)
  • Cain His Brother (William Monk, #6)
  • Weighed in the Balance (William Monk, #7)
  • The Silent Cry (William Monk, #8)
  • The Twisted Root (William Monk, #10)
  • Slaves of Obsession (William Monk, #11)

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