In The Twisted Root by Anne Perry agent of enquiry William Monk is asked by Lucius Stourbridge to help locate his missing fiance, the widow, Mrs. Miriam Gardiner. Miriam departed a gathering at the Stourbridge estate and, along with coachman Treadwell and the coach and team, vanished. Lucius is crushed; his parents and maternal uncle Aiden Campbell act similarly. But they reveal that Miriam was perhaps a step down in station, over-familiar with servants, and at least nine years their son's senior.

Presently, the coachman is found murdered, and Miriam is presumed the killer. Monk, an ex-police officer fired for insubordination, believes there is more to the crime. With the assistance of his new wife Hester Latterly, Monk pursues an investigation that, with classic Anne Perry twists, leads into Victorian bedrooms and, eventually, the courtroom. ¦ Tom Corcoran is the Florida-based author of The Mango Opera and the new Florida Keys mystery, Gumbo Limbo, both from St. Martin's.

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