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

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,093 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
When a brilliant young architect suddenly ends his engagement to a socially prominent woman, her outraged parents file a sensational breach of promise suit. But the case comes to a tragic halt when a murderer strikes. Sleuth William Monk investigates. A Mystery Guild selection.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 7th 1999 by Ivy Books (first published 1997)
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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
Vickie Buenger
Nov 27, 2012 Vickie Buenger rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2009 Martin rated it it was ok
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
Jan 09, 2015 Lee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 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
Feb 07, 2013 Leya rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 24, 2014 Toni rated it really liked it
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.
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
Mary Corbal
Apr 04, 2015 Mary Corbal rated it really liked it
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 12, 2014 Winston rated it really liked it
Well done period mystery tackling present day issues as well.
Janet Mahlum
Sep 01, 2015 Janet Mahlum rated it really liked it
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
Meryl Sussman
Mar 15, 2015 Meryl Sussman rated it it was amazing
There is much to love about this book. The characters are three-dimensional with complex pasts and presents. Sir Oliver, a barrister, is struggling with a mysterious defendent who refuses to explain why he cannot marry a woman who seems absolutely perfect. In desperation, Sir Oliver engages the services of another dark hero, William Monk, to uncover any damning information in the woman's past that might dissuade her parents from continuing the suit. Monk, who has lost his own past due to amnesia ...more
Katie Bee
Jan 04, 2015 Katie Bee rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
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
Aug 31, 2015 Trish rated it it was ok
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
Laura Edwards
Sep 06, 2015 Laura Edwards rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garden Girl
Jan 22, 2016 Garden Girl rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy Anne Perry. I could not put this book down. Hester is nursing a wounded and disfigured
soldier at his home with his young wife. Our favorite attorney, Sir Oliver, is embroiled in a case that should never have gone to trial - a family is suing a young and gifted architect whom they say had proposed marriage to their beautiful daughter, then declared he would not marry her; thus "a Breach of Promise". There are additional plot lines equally engaging. Perry drew me in immediately and
Dec 13, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it
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.
Smalltownreader Shaw
I am torn on my rating. While this was the standard Inspector Monk mystery (Victorian England, Jack-the=Ripper era) my desire is to rate it higher because it is one of THOSE books.

I read a sentence, gasped out loud, and then re-read the page again. It was a great beach read, and my companion was startled when I actually voiced my reaction.

Cannot remember the last time I read one of THOSE books. Your entire idea of what you think is occurring is thrown out of the window, and you are left to piec
I believe this is the first work I've read by Anne Perry. Despite being set in Victorian times, it had some of the characteristic markers I associate with and enjoy in Regency fiction. I figured out the reason Killian wouldn't marry Zillah long before its reveal, but it's totally believable that none of the characters ever guessed it. I could also buy some of the characters' progressive thinking on women's rights, but unfortunately the progressive views characters voiced on homosexuality came ac ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Tracy rated it it was ok
This one became very tedious for me. The dialogue from chapter to chapter seemed so similar I thought I might have lost my place in the book and was re-reading some of it. A young man has become engaged to a young lady and now says he absolutely cannot marry her, but there is no obvious reason. The protect the lady's reputation her parents have little choice but to sue him for Breach of Promise. Rathbone does his best to defend Melville, and the Lambert's attorney will clearly go to any means ne ...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
Dec 27, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it
I wouldn't say this is a really well written book, but the setting and characters are very compelling. The plot starts out extremely slow and then is almost too fast at the end, but the plot is not what I liked most about it. I've read some later books in this series and it was interesting to see how much the characters had developed over time, in a realistic true-to-themselves and to the era. After reading this one, I definitely want to read more of the series. It gives an in-depth experience o ...more
Jan 23, 2014 Evelyn rated it liked it
Surprisingly, I think this is my first William Monk book. I liked the plot. There were lots of twists and a couple of downright surprises ... nay, shocks. I kept wondering why the subplot of Martha and her nieces had been pursued. But everything came together in the last part of the book. I did think she was a little tedious with repetition in her narrative and descriptions. Interior monologues would be repeated. But the look at what society was like at the time how women were viewed was eye-ope ...more
Jan 08, 2011 Moontyger rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
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,
Oct 05, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
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
Kate Loveday
Oct 07, 2012 Kate Loveday rated it really liked it
This is the second Anne Perry book I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Her depictions of Victorian England are detailed and fascinating, and also reveal the frenzied efforts of mothers to find a wealthy husband for their daughters in that era.
Killian Melville is a brilliant young architeect. He approaches Oliver Rathbone to represent him in a breach of promise action brought by his patron, Barton Lambert and his wife Delphine,in respect of their daughter Zillah. He gives no reason for his
June Ahern
Jul 27, 2013 June Ahern rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Anne Perry's mystery novels. Some I like better than others. This one I liked a lot. Ms. Perry writes about High Society - the beauty and ugliness of it. She writes about poverty, the darkness, despair and poverty beyond what we could imagine. In it all, is the murders, the lies and the sleuthing of William Monk and Hester Latterly, a nurse and rebel of social rules.

In this story a marriage promise is broken and a sensational court battle takes place. Within that trial much is rev
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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
More about Anne Perry...

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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