Oliver. How much it costs has nothing to do with how much it is worth.”

“I know that. I meant don’t believe that it is better to allow a helpless man to be murdered by the person he trusted above all others, and for it to go unquestioned. The day we accept that, because it will be uncomfortable to look at the truth it exposes, we have lost all that makes us worth respecting.”

“How very proper—and English,” she replied, but with a sudden tenderness in her voice. “You look exactly as if you would say such a thing, with your striped trousers and stiff, white collar, but perhaps you are right, for all that. Thank you, Sir Oliver. It has been most entertaining to know you.” And with that she smiled more widely, with a warmth and radiance he had not seen in her before, and turned and left in a swirl of scarlet and russet skirts.

The room was darker without her. He wanted to go after her, but it would have been foolish. There was no place for him in her life.

Monk and Hester were at his elbow.

“Brilliant,” Monk said dryly. “Another astounding victory—but Pyrrhic, this time. You will have lost more than you gained. Good thing you got your knighthood already. You’d not get it now.”

“I don’t need you to tell me that,” Rathbone replied sourly. “I would not have done it, had not the alternative been even worse.” But his mind was on Zorah, the brimming life in her, the recklessness and the courage. Perhaps honoring her was worth the cost and the sense of loss now.

Monk sighed. “How could such a love end like that? He gave up everything for her. His country, his people, his throne. How could the greatest love story of the century end in disillusion, hatred and murder?”

“It wasn’t the greatest love,” Hester answered him. “It was two people who needed what the other could give. She wanted power, position, wealth and fame. He seemed to want constant admiration, devotion, someone to be there all the time, to live his life for him. He hadn’t the courage to stand without her. Love is brave and generous, and above all it springs from honor. In order to love someone else, you must first be true to yourself.”

Rathbone looked at her and slowly his face creased into a smile.

Monk frowned. His eyes filled with intense dislike, then anger, then as he fought with himself, he lost the battle, and his body eased.

Deliberately, he put his arm around Hester.

“You are right,” he said grudgingly. “You are pompous, opinionated and insufferable—but you are right.”

On a sunless street deep in London’s dangerous slums, a respected solicitor is found dead—and beside him lies the barely living body of his son.




The police are baffled until shrewd investigator William Monk uncovers a connection between them and a series of rapes and beatings of local prostitutes.

Then it becomes shockingly clear that the son must have killed his own father….

Available in bookstores everywhere.

Published by Fawcett Books.

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