The William Monk Novel Series

One of the reasons I enjoy the Outlander audiobooks so much is, that the narrator Davina Porter is doing such a marvellous job with it. She really brings all the characters to life and gives each of them a very unique voice. A while ago I decided to check out other audiobooks narrated by her, because I very much enjoy her voice. I got the audiobook of first Anne Perry’s “William Monk” novels and even though Davina Porter did a great job with this one as well, I didn’t even finish listening to it, because I wanted to know how the events would unfold and I could find that out much faster if I read the book instead of listen to it :-)

Which lead to me reading the first one and the second and… well, 3.5 months later I’ve read the 18 books that have been published so far (thanks to my Kindle). I’ve finished with the last one last night and this morning feel kind of hollow, like there is something missing in my life. Considering that I spent most of my free time in the last two weeks (when I wasn’t working on school stuff, caught up with TV shows, went out to do stuff) reading these books, it might explain where that huge hole is coming from. Seriously, over the last two weeks it was such a natural part of my day to grab my Kindle and read. And now I have to wait till 11 April before the next book is published.
I’m very much reminded of a similar time in summer 2009, after I had finished reading the first six Outlander novels. Which might be about the same amount of pages, because the Monk novels are 350 – 400 pages, whereas  the standard Outlander book is 1300-1400 pages.

Why couldn’t I stop reading? Basically, because I cared about the characters so much. Not as much as I care about Jamie and Claire or as I care about Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers (the other novel series I’m addicted to), but I still cared a lot. Maybe because from the start I pictured them looking like this :-)

If these novels would ever be turned into a movie or TV series, Richard Armitage and Emily Mortimer definitely would be the perfect cast IMHO.

I can’t really explain what kept me hooked from the start, because the crime mystery part of the books wasn’t necessarily so much different from other crime novels set in the 19th century. So it comes back to the characters, I guess.
William Monk, a police detective who loses his memory after an accident and puts parts of his past life together piece by piece and who doesn’t like the man he obviously has been. He’s a rather earnest, dark, not always likable character at first. But he has a deep sense of justice and that’s what he’s fighting for and that the one thing he has in common with Hester Latterly, who is much more self-confident, open-minded and practical as women in this time used to be. Which drives Monk crazy for the first 8 or so novels. But then they finally admit to their feelings and get married and lived happily ever after *g* Not quite, because of course the crime mystery element of the series goes on and on and there is case after case, which he (with her help most of the time) has to solve.

Reading a series which spans about almost 10 years (in canon) in such a short time helps to very clearly see the growth and evolution of those characters, not just those two main characters, but also several supporting characters, who the reader gets to know and care about.
One of my favourites is Sir Oliver Rathbone, a lawyer who works closely with Monk (and Hester) and who always had very strong and clear sense of justice himself, brilliant lawyer as he is. But during the last two books his sense of right and wrong starts to dissolve, when he resorts to illegal and/or immoral means to fight an obviously unjust ruling in court. Does doing the greater good really excuses blackmail of any kind? Very interesting dilemma and I’m sure it’s going to come back to haunt him in the next book.
And that’s why I almost can’t wait till 11 April. Which is only 25 days away. Days filled with work and other stuff, so there won’t be much time to miss Hester, William, Oliver and all the others too much anyway..

3 Comments

  1. I agree with you about Richard Armitage being the perfect William Monk if they should make a series, or a film. I haven’t read all the books in the series, either series, but may get back to them some day.

    I read many of the Monk and Inspector Pitt books after the Pitt series was on TV, I think in the 90’s. Only one they made I think? This was before I knew who Richard Armitage was. Hope there’s a TV producer out there that reads your post.

  2. Hey, glad to see i’m not the only one who likes Anne Perry and Elizabeth George. Did you try Perry’s Pitt-novels, too? Additionally I’d recommend Martha Grimes, Peter Robinson, Caroline Graham, Charlotte MacLeod and Elizabeth Peters. Have fun!

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