My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well done mystery involving William and Hester Monk. Part of what I enjoy about these novels is the protagonists are very much part of the middle classes, not the gentry (though in Monk's case we can't be positive since he has no memory of his early life). They have to think about paying bills, and cooking food, and making ends meet. They can't just hie off on mystery solving like Peter Wimsey or Sherlock Holmes.
This novel involves a question of medical ethics and the price of success. If experimentation involving live subjects--human subjects--can bring life-saving results for millions, should we condemn the scientists who conduct the research?
It's much more complicated than that, naturally, but the mystery involves something we very much take for granted in the 21st c., blood transfusions. In an age before an understanding of blood typing, no one knew why it almost always failed. Hester gets involved with a medical researcher who's willing to stop at nothing to find answers, even if it costs lives.
I thought the ending, while predictable, seemed a bit rushed. The novel will be enjoyed by fans of the series, because while it brings us to a conclusion of the crime investigation, it also advances secondary characters who've become part of the narrative.
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