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Book review: Anne Perry's 'Corridors of the Night' is engrossing Victorian-era mystery
Anne Perry - photo by Christie Betzer
"CORRIDORS OF THE NIGHT: A William Monk Novel," by Anne Perry, Ballantine Books, $27, 288 pages (f)

English author Anne Perrys 21st installment in The William Monk series, "Corridors of the Night," is an engrossing Victorian-era mystery set in England that is enjoyable for both fans and newcomers to the series.

William Monk's wife, Hester, is a nurse with a strong moral compass who is witty and quick on her feet. Hester agrees to help an ill friend by taking over her duties in Londons Royal Naval Hospital.

One night while on duty, Hester is approached by a young girl who is distraught and seeking help for her dying brother. Hester is led by 6-year-old Maggie into a previously unknown annex where the young girl and her two brothers, Charlie, 4, and Max, 7, are being kept. Hester is able to successfully treat Max.

To Hester's horror, she discovers that the three young children have been purchased and are being kept in the hospital as a living blood bank in an attempt to treat a wealthy patient who is suffering from white blood disease. Brothers Magnus Rand, a brilliant doctor, and chemist Hamilton Rand will stop at nothing to keep Hester from divulging their secret attempts to cure the disease. Hester and the three young children find themselves held as hostages. William Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, is called in to investigate and find his wife before it is too late.

"Corridors of the Night" has moderate foul language and some intense scenes. There are gunfights, fistfights and weapons, and medical procedures are generally described yet specific enough to give a strong mental image. There are a few implied sexual references. The book also explores the idea of medical ethics and social classes.

Perrys book offers an intriguing look at turn-of-the-20th-century medical practices while presenting a few mysteries.
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