Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry (Whitney Finalist)

Title: Acceptable Loss
Author: Anne Perry
Enjoyment Rating: 7/10
Referral: Whitney Finalist
Source: Library Copy
Books I've read this year: 37

I'd heard great things about Anne Perry's Victorian-era William Monk series, although I'd never read any of the books until Acceptable Loss, which is the 17th book in the series. Perry does a great job of seamlessly integrating the relevant events of the previous sixteen books, as well as setting the scene of a dark, dangerous Victorian London, in the opening chapters. While I always felt that I didn't understand the depth of the relationships between the Monks (William, the commander of the river police, and Hester, a nurse) and the Rathbones (Oliver, an attorney, and Margaret, who works with Hester at the home for former prostitutes), it was easy enough to pick up on the story.

The problem for me is that there wasn't all that much of a story. Acceptable Loss feels like a traditional whodunit, where someone (in this instance Mickey Parfitt, who owned a floating child porn boat on the Thames, a man who no one is sorry to see removed from the earth) turns up floating, strangled with a distinctive necktie. That necktie is easily identified as belonging to one man, but the whole time, everyone keeps thinking that someone else, Margaret's father, actually committed the crime. Guess who did it? I don't want to be a spoiler, but let's just say that the book ends with the Rathbone's marriage rocked to the core.

I think that a plot like this one can work well for a dedicated reader to the series, especially since I've gleaned from Acceptable Loss that Perry is interested in the long-term development of her characters, but I found it somewhat unsatisfactory to read in isolation. However, the book is rich in detail and the characters are interesting enough that I'm almost persuaded to pick up the series from here and keep on reading.

1 comment:

Doreen said...

I've read every single book in this series, and it does make more sense when you know more of the background. It is very much ongoing character development. I actually like Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series even better. There are more than 20 books in that one. I got hooked when I had to read and do a book report on "The Cater Street Hangman" for one of my classes, I think it was sociology? Something about women's studies? Can't remember for sure. Anyway, very interesting, not just for a quick read, but for the historical issues discussed. At one point, Perry was publishing these books at a rate of two a year, and I think the quality of the story line there suffered some, but overall I've really enjoyed reading both series.