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The Face of a Stranger
Anne Perry
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The Face of a Stranger (William Monk #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  8,588 ratings  ·  525 reviews
His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detecive. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which makes Monk's efforts doubly diffi ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 556 pages
Published November 30th 2011 by Thorndike Press (first published 1990)
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I felt like clapping as I set down this book after finishing it. I thought it was so fun to read. I actually reached out and patted the book with glee a few times and chuckled to myself once setting it down. :) I can't say many books have entertained me in such a way. I think the complexity of the storyline really had me going. I'm afraid I'm 'hooked.'

I'm so glad Perry was accurate in her account of the 'slums' and the conditions of Victorian times. I appreciated her strictness in presenting soc
This is the first book in an historical mystery series set in Victorian England. It features a police detective who is suffering from amnesia, so while he's solving the murder he's also trying to discover what kind of person he used to be.

It's well written, if occasionally repetitive and often preachy (war is not glamorous, slums and workhouses are bad, classism is unfair, women are marginalized, etc.). I liked Monk and the other major characters, and I look forward to reading more in this serie
It got me hooked on Monk and friends. What a change from modern mysteries/police dramas. The insight into period detail and how it relates to police investigation was nice, but I have found Perry is just a really good story teller. I've read all the Monk books the local library has...
I am in love with the William Monk mystery series by Anne Perry! "The Face of a Stranger" is the first book of ten. It is set in Victorian England and is replete with vivid descriptions of life during that time period. The book frequently addresses the great disparity that exists between the rich and the poor in Victorian England. A decorated English officer who served in the recent Crimean War is found murdered. William Monk, the brilliant local police detective, is called in to investigate the ...more
Jacquelyn Gill
This is the first in a Victorian mystery series, and it starts with a twist: Monk, our protagonist, has woken in a hospital (not a nice place to be in Victorian England) with amnesia. He discovers he's a police inspector almost right away, but subtle clues-- the fact that no one has visited him in his convalescence, or seems particularly excited he's returned to work-- allow him to piece together a picture of his former life that is rather unpleasant. In other words, Monk appears to have been so ...more
I read this for book club and the book club leader LOVES William Monk books and has read about 10 of them. It was really hard for me to get in to for about 50 pages. There is so much description of that era that bored me for a while but by the end of the book, I could totally imagine what it would be like to live there in that time. She is a great author and the story ended up being great. It's full of twists and turns and it's a neat idea that the person telling the story is figuring things out ...more
Jun 19, 2014 ~Geektastic~ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, people interested in realistic Victorian historical fiction,
Recommended to ~Geektastic~ by: Dan

Set in London in the 1850s (no dates are given, but the Crimean War is prominent), The Face of a Stranger is the first in a 20-volume series of novels featuring detective William Monk. In an inventive twist, Monk is not introduced like Holmes or Peter Wimsey, with a full set of eccentricities and inhuman brilliance, but as a completely blank slate- he has total amnesia. I don’t have much experience in the detective genre, but like anyone else present in the current glut of Sherlock Holmes remake
Tiffany Wacaser
It took me forever to read this, not because the story wasn't compelling, but finding the time to sit and read was difficult.

When I read this book, I was reminded anew why I consider Anne Perry to be a genius. Her stories are well-crafted with impeccable details. But even those great attributes aren't what make her great. Her true gift as a writer is her ability to see and understand human nature and to describe so clearly that you can't help but recognize it immediately.

With lines like these y
Robin (RBBR)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Huston
A good first novel to kick off the series. The hero/detective William Monk awakes in a hospital in 1850's London without a memory of who he is, or what brought him there. In uncovering the truth behind the murder of an aristocrat, Monk meets Hester Latterly, a nurse who has returned from the Crimean War, and some very unpleasant things about himself. Four stars overall.

For the longer review, please go here:
3.5 - 4 stars. At times a bit slow, but otherwise engaging and readable. Great character development, especially considering this is the first in a series.
Every time I pick up an Anne Perry book I'm blown away by how real the characters and setting feel to me. I love her use of language, and her portrayals of varied characters, and the use of the relatively-unfamiliar-in-fiction Crimean war puts a different twist on the era while educating the reader in the battle tactics and medical skills available (and small snippets of information, such as nurses typically being male). Her female characters act within the expected societal strictures but are n ...more
After reading more than 1700 pages through the last two volumes, it was time to get away from Safehold, which must be thousands of years in the future, and the next-read mystery from the last century wasn’t enough, so I dipped into this Victorian mystery, scrounged from a hospital waiting room, and found it delightful. The cover illustration characterizing the novel as “featuring Inspector Monk,” which suggests that Ms. Perry has written other novels about him, as well as her Victorian mystery s ...more
Chris Demer
I found this book engrossing and a great read. Set in the 1850's in London, a Detective finds himself in a hospital, having suffered severe injuries in a hansom cab accident.

The most serious injury however is that he has lost his memory! At first he doesn't even recognize himself, his flat, his landlady---anybody or anyplace that should have meaning for him. He is quite terrified about this predicament, but determined not to let anyone know. His superior assigns him a new case when he returns to
I loved Kate Ross's 'Julian Kestrel' Series and Ashley Gardner's 'Captain Lacey' series and I have been looking for another series that I might enjoy as much. This looked like it might have promise.

I've read the first two books in this series over the course of just a few days. I will say that I liked the first one enough to run out to the library just before they closed so that I could pick up number two in the series even though I have a ridiculous number of books already waiting to be read i
Gwen Mayo
In this Victorian era mystery by Anne Perry, William Monk, a London police detective, wakes up in a hospital ward and fears he has been reduced to living in a workhouse. Monk is a man haunted by a past he can't remember and the ever present fear that the stranger in the mirror won't be able to bluff his way through the everyday duties of a police detective.

Assigned to solve the murder of a young aristocrat wounded in the Crimean War, Monk must quickly master detective work while trying to hold
Ana T.
This was my first read by Anne Perry. I had heard of her before but I only got really curious after Rosario started posting about her books and making them sound so interesting.

His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. His mirror reflects a face that women would like, but from the way people respond to him when he returns to the force, he senses that he has been more feared than loved.

The case Monk is given is particularly sensational one: the brutal murder o
Themes: identity, crime, war, family, secrets, memory, class
Setting: Victorian England

Now I remember why I don't read Anne Perry anymore. I don't really like her writing. This book sounded like a change from her Thomas/Charlotte Pitt series, which I did enjoy at one time. I just got a little tired of reading about the seamy side of Victorian life, and she explored deviance in all its forms, the worst crimes she could imagine, and on and on and on. There wasn't much to smile about in her books, e
Do not believe the reviews: This is not a 'richly-textured' historical book at all. Any historical context is as bare as bones; with a few minor changes, the novel could be as easily set in Renaissance England, or modern-day London, as in the Victorian time period where it is in fact set. Not even as a mystery does it work: The characters advance completely by guesswork for the first three-fourths of the novel, making huge jumps in logic and intuition, all in no way supported by the actual evide ...more
Yes, I'm very behind on writing these. And they don't seem to have an image of the edition I have uploaded.

Anyway, so this is the first William Monk novel. I have actually read several of the later ones, which might make reading this one seem odd, but actually, I really enjoyed it. I was a little surprised; there was at least one other of Perry's early books that I'd read and found not very well-written, but this one was quite good.

She sets it in the Victorian age without romanticizing the peri
William Monk is a detective in Victorian-era London, working on solving a complex case involving the murder of a young nobleman, Joscelin Grey. The catch? The book opens with him in the hospital, recovering from a carriage accident and with memory loss so severe that he can't even remember his own name or what he looks like. I was instantly drawn to his character as he comes to the realization that whoever William Monk was, he did not seem to be a very nice or well-liked man. This unusual premis ...more
William Monk's career depends on his ability to solve two cases. One involves the murder of an earl's youngest brother, and thus ticklish dealings with the aristocracy. The other involves self-discovery: he has emerged from an accident with amnesia, and cannot remember any personal details.

I liked the nicely-drawn Victorian setting and the idea that Monk does not necessarily admire what he learns about himself. I didn't like the frequent redundancy, especially the questions Monk is always asking
I haven't read a mystery in I don't know how long... since I was eagerly reading Babysitter's Club books maybe... so it really isn't my genre. But I must say I enjoyed this story a lot! I found the time period to be such a fun addition to the story as well, whether the details were accurate or not I have no idea, but they were fun. The only thing that I had a really hard time with was reading the dialect (I read some out loud to my husband and he couldn't keep a straight face!). I can imagine so ...more
One of the best books I've read in the last 12 months. Characters were complex, flawed, and authentic. Dialogue rang true. The mystery was good and not capable of being figured out with any certainty until close to the end. In candor, I've avoided reading any Anne Perry books until now because of my discomfort with the author's ability to get away with murder with a slap on the wrist several decades ago. It's been my loss.
How are you suppose to solve the murder of a young nobleman who is a hero recently returned from the Crimean War when you have lost all memory of the past? Following a horrible carriage accident, all William Monk has on his release from the hospital is a receipt in his pocket that leads him to his apartment. Gradually, he realizes that he is a police detective in London. But beyond that, and the fact that he comes to understand that he has a reputation for being arrogant, ambitious, and cold, he ...more
The thing about Anne Perry is this: she has an excellent mind for plots, and the most outlandish stock of Victorian names to choose from for her characters. However. The pacing of the stories is quite ridiculous sometimes. Not only does she have to tell you that Monk picked up the teacup, she also has to tell you when he put it down. Usually after a long rumination during which his conversational partner is, apparently, sitting there like a robot waiting for this strange man to start talking aga ...more
Christopher Taylor
I have consistently enjoyed all of Anne Perry's mysteries so far, although I've only read a handful. She writes interesting stories set in a time period I find fascinating - Victorian England - with skill and intelligence.

The Thomas Pitt books focus a bit more on his extended family and friends than I enjoy (wife, wife's friends, children, siblings, etc) much like the Gil Cunningham books, but this new series starts up with a bachelor named Monk who has none of these connections.

In fact, he has
First of the William Monk series, and I've loved them all. Monk works as a policeman, but he's had a head injury and doesn't remember much about all that. He hides his memory loss to protect his livelihood, but he is surprised to see, by the way people react to him, that he must not have been very well-liked. He struggles with this as well as with his memory loss, as he tries to continue the murder investigation that led to his head injury in the first place.
I had never read any Perry before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall I really enjoyed the tiny historical details that went into bringing the Victorian London milieau to life. It was also fascinating to watch Monk try and figure out who he was as a person and how to inhabit a life that he doesn't remember at all (he suffers an accident and loses his memory). It nicely captures the fear one must feel, and the panic to try and keep others from guessing your vulnerability. It was also fun to ...more
This is a clumsy attempt at combining Victorian social and military history, psychological themes and a whodunnit. I was engaged enough to finish it, but the plot was fairly predictable and I think Perry could have done a far better job. I imagine it was an early work, and that Perry became more skilled later on. I wonder if the BBC have filmed it at any point. That might be fun.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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 cate
More about Anne Perry...
The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1) Callander Square (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #2) A Dangerous Mourning (William Monk, #2) Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #3) Resurrection Row  (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #4)

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“Too many women waste their lives grieving because they do not have something other people tell them they should want. Whether you are happy or not depends to some degree upon outsward circumstances, but mostly it depends how you choose to look at thing syourself, whether you measure what you have or what you have not.” 17 likes
“Be aware that you can truly help people only by aiding them to become what they are, not what you are. I have heard you say 'If I were you, I would do this, or that.' 'I' am never 'you'--and my solutions may not be yours.” 10 likes
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