Weighed in the balance : a William Monk novel /

by Perry, Anne.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : Ballantine Books Trade Paperbacks, 2010.Edition: Ballantine books Trade pbk. ed.Description: 379 pages ; 21 cm.ISBN: 9780345514059; 034551405X.Subject(s): Monk, William (Fictitious character) -- Fiction | Private investigators -- England -- London -- Fiction | Exiles -- Fiction | Murder -- Investigation -- Fiction | Princes -- Fiction | Princesses -- Fiction | Royal houses -- Fiction | London (England) -- History -- 1800-1950 -- Fiction | Great Britain -- History -- Victoria, 1837-1901 -- Fiction | Legal fiction (Literature) | Detective and mystery fiction | Legal stories | Legal stories | Mystery fiction | Fiction | History | Legal stories | Detective and mystery fiction | Legal stories | Mystery fictionSummary: An exiled German prince falls from his horse in Victorian England and his wife is accused of murder. It's a scandal of international proportions and the man expected to sort out the truth from the lies is series sleuth William Monk. First though he must polish his manners. By the author of Cain His Brother.
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Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult Mystery M PER Available 39270004788794

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

When Countess Zorah Rostova asks London barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone to defend her against a charge of slander, he is astonished to find himself accepting. For without a shred of evidence, the countess has publicly insisted that the onetime ruler of her small German principality was murdered by his wife, the woman who was responsible for the prince's exile to Venice twenty years before. Private investigator William Monk and his friend Hester Latterly journey to the City of Water in an attempt verify the countess's claims, and though the two manage to establish that the prince was indeed murdered, as events unfold the likeliest suspect seems to be Countess Zorah herself.

Reprinted with dossier. Previously published: New York : Fawcett Columbine, 1996.

An exiled German prince falls from his horse in Victorian England and his wife is accused of murder. It's a scandal of international proportions and the man expected to sort out the truth from the lies is series sleuth William Monk. First though he must polish his manners. By the author of Cain His Brother.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

<opt> <anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">SIR OLIVER RATHBONE SAT in his chambers in Vere Street, just off Lincoln's Inn Fields, and surveyed the room with eminent satisfaction. He was at the pinnacle of his career, possibly the most highly respected barrister in England, and the Prime Minister had recently recommended him to Her Majesty, who had seen fit to honor him with a knighthood in recognition of his services to criminal justice.   The room was elegant but not ostentatious. Intellect and purpose were served before the desire to impress a client. Comfort was necessary. Beyond the door was the outer office, full of clerks writing, calculating, looking up references, being courteous to those who came and went in the course of business.   Rathbone was almost at the conclusion of a case in which he had defended a distinguished gentleman accused of misappropriating funds. He had every confidence in a satisfactory outcome. He had enjoyed an excellent luncheon in the company of a bishop, a judge and a senior member of Parliament. It was time he directed his attention towards the afternoon's work.   He had just picked up a sheaf of papers when his clerk knocked at the door and opened it. There was a look of surprise on the clerk's usually imperturbable face.   "Sir Oliver, there is a Countess Zorah Rostova desiring to see you on a matter she says is of great importance--and some urgency."   "Then show her in, Simms," Rathbone directed. There was no need for him to be surprised that a countess should call. She was not the first titled lady to seek counsel in these chambers, nor would she be the last. He rose to his feet.   "Very good, Sir Oliver." Simms backed away, turned to speak to someone out of sight, then a moment later a woman swept in wearing a black-and-green crinoline dress, except that the hoop was so small it hardly deserved the name, and her stride was such that one might have supposed her to have only a moment since dismounted from a horse. She had no hat. Her hair was held back in a loose bun with a black chenille net over it. She did not wear her gloves but carried them absent-mindedly in one hand. She was of average height, square-shouldered and leaner than is becoming in a woman. But it was her face which startled and held attention. Her nose was a little too large and too long, her mouth was sensitive without being beautiful, her cheekbones were very high and her eyes were wide-set and heavy lidded. When she spoke, her voice was low with a slight catch in it, and her diction was remarkably beautiful.   "Good afternoon, Sir Oliver." She stood quite still in the center of the room. She did not even glance around but stared at him with a vivid, curious gaze. "I am sued for slander. I need you to defend me."   Rathbone had never been approached so boldly and so simply before. If she had spoken to Simms like that, no wonder the man was surprised.   "Indeed, ma'am," he said smoothly. "Would you care to sit down and tell me the circumstances?" He indicated the handsome green-leather-covered chair opposite his desk.   She remained where she was.   "It is quite simple. Princess Gisela ... you are aware who she is?" Her brows rose, Rathbone could see now that her remarkable eyes were green. "Yes, of course you are. She has accused me of slandering her. I have not."   Rathbone also remained standing. "I see. What has she accused you of saying?"   "That she murdered her husband, Prince Friedrich, the crown prince of my country, who abdicated in order to marry her. He died this spring, after a riding accident, here in England."   "But of course you did not say so?"   She lifted her chin a little. "Most certainly I said so! But in English law if a thing is true it is not a slander to say so, is it?"   Rathbone stared at her. She seemed perfectly calm and in control of herself, and yet what she said was outrageous. Simms should not have allowed her in. She was obviously unbalanced. "Madam, if ..."   She moved over to the green chair and sat down, flicking her skirts absently to put them into a satisfactory position. She did not take her eyes from Rathbone's face.   "Is truth a defense in English law, Sir Oliver?" she repeated.   "Yes, it is," he conceded. "But one is obliged to prove truth. If you have no facts to demonstrate your case, simply to state it is to repeat the slander. Of course, it does not require the same degree of proof that a criminal case does."   "Degree of proof?" she questioned. "A thing is true or it is false. What degree of proof do I require?"   He resumed his own seat, leaning forward over the desk a trifle to explain.   "Scientific theory must be proved beyond all doubt at all, usually by demonstrating that all other theories are impossible. Criminal guilt must be proved beyond all reasonable doubt. This is a civil case, and will be judged on balance of probability. The jury will choose whichever argument it considers the most likely to be true."   "Is that good for me?" she asked bluntly.   "No. It will not require a great deal for her to convince them that you have slandered her. She must prove that you did indeed say this thing and that it has damaged her reputation. The latter will hardly be difficult."   "Neither will the former," she said with a very slight smile. "I have said it repeatedly, and in public. My defense is that it is true."   "But can you prove it?"   "Beyond reasonable doubt?" she asked, opening her eyes very wide. "That rather begs the question as to what is reasonable. I am quite convinced of it."   He sat back in his chair, crossing his legs and smiling very courteously.   "Then convince me of it, ma'am."   Quite suddenly she threw back her head and burst into laughter, a rich, throaty sound rippling with delight.   "I think I like you, Sir Oliver!" She caught her breath and composed herself with difficulty. "You are fearfully English, but I am sure that is all to the good."   "Indeed," he said guardedly.   "Of course. All Englishmen should be properly English. You want me to convince you that Gisela murdered Friedrich?"   "If you would be so good," he said a little stiffly.   "And then you will take the case?"   "Possibly." On the face of it, it was preposterous.   "How cautious of you," she said with a shadow of amusement. "Very well. I shall begin at the beginning. I presume that is what you would like? I cannot imagine you beginning anywhere else. For myself, I would rather begin at the end; it is then all so much easier to understand."   "Begin at the end, if it pleases you," he said quickly.   "Bravo!" She made a gesture of approval with her hand. "Gisela realized the necessity of murdering him, and almost immediately was presented with the opportunity, as a calling card is on a silver tray. All she had to do was pick it up. He had been injured in a riding accident. He was lying helpless." Her voice dropped; she leaned forward a little. "No one was certain how ill he was, or whether he would recover or not. She was alone with him. She killed him. There you are!" She spread her hands. "It is accomplished." She shrugged. "No one suspected because no one thought of such a thing, nor did they know how badly he was hurt anyway. He died of his injuries." She pursed her lips. "How natural. How sad." She sighed. "She is desolate. She mourns and all the world mourns with her. What could be easier?"   Rathbone regarded the extraordinary woman sitting in front of him. She was certainly not beautiful, yet there was a vitality in her, even in repose, which drew the eye to her as if she were the natural center of thought and attention. And yet what she was saying was outrageous--and almost certainly criminally slanderous.   "Why should she do such a thing?" he said aloud, his voice heavy with skepticism.   "Ah, for that I feel I should go back to the beginning," she said ruefully, leaning back and regarding him with the air of a lecturer.   "Forgive me if I tell you what you already know. Sometimes we imagine our affairs are of as much interest to others as they are to us, and of course they are not. However, most of the world is familiar with the romance of Friedrich and Gisela, and how our crown prince fell in love with a woman his family would not accept and renounced his right to the throne rather than give her up."   Rathbone nodded. Of course, it was a story that had fascinated and bewitched Europe; it was the romance of the century, which was why this woman's accusation of murder was so absurd and unbelievable. Only innate good manners prevented him from stopping her and asking her to leave.   "You must understand that our country is very small," she continued, amusement on her lips as if she understood his skepticism completely, and yet also an urgency, as if in spite of her intellectual awareness it mattered to her passionately that he believe her. "And situated in the heart of the German states." Her eyes did not leave his face. "On all sides of us are other protectorates and principalities. We are all in upheaval. Most of Europe is. But unlike France or Britain or Austria, we are faced with the possibility of being united, whether we like it or not, and forming one great state of Germany. Some of us do like it." Her lips tightened. "Some of us do not."   Excerpted from Weighed in the Balance by Anne Perry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon> </opt>

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