Edged out of the Metropolitan Police in the wake of The Sins of the Wolf (1994), ex-Inspector William Monk has set up shop as a private inquiry agent when proper, passionate Genevieve Stonefield asks him to trace the movements of her husband, Angus, a prosperous businessman who left home three days ago to meet his Dionysiac twin brother, Caleb, and never returned. Angus's wife is convinced that by now she's a widow, and indeed Monk can find no trace of Angus despite the unsought assistance of Drusilla Wyndham, a suspiciously forthcoming lady with designs of her own. Hester Latterly, the nurse who's long cherished an unrequited passion for Monk, is reduced to tending typhoid victims and thwarting La Wyndham's nefarious designs as Monk--impeded by Perry's lead-footed narrative style and endless dialogues that dot every i--searches the slums of Limehouse for Caleb. Finally confronted, the evil twin exults that he's killed Angus without leaving any evidence; but the comically overextended courtroom sequence that follows leads to a climactic plot twist that's celebrating its 109th anniversary this year. Despite the reliable period trappings and the stylishly inert prose, Perry hits rockbottom with this overinflated, malnourished fable.