Author: Anne Perry
Series: William Monk (17th)
Synopsis (from the publisher): When the body of a small-time crook named Mickey Parfitt washes up on the tide, no one grieves; far from it. But William Monk, commander of the River Police, is puzzled by the expensive silk cravat used to strangle Parfitt. How did this elegant scarf—whose original owner was obviously a man of substance—end up imbedded in the neck of a wharf rat who richly deserved his sordid end?
Dockside informers lead Monk to what may be a partial answer—a floating palace of corruption on the Thames managed by Parfitt, where a captive band of half-starved boys are forced to perform vile acts for men willing to pay a high price for midnight pleasures. Although Monk and his fearless wife, Hester, would prefer to pin a medal on Parfitt's killer, duty leads them in another direction—to an unresolved crime from the past, to blackmail and more murder, and to a deadly confrontation with some of the empire's most respected men.