In a stunning feat of the imagination, Anne Perry encloses readers within the magic circle of her genius and brings to life the lost world of England's Victorian Age. Hoofbeats clatter on cobblestones, gaslight glimmers through fog, and in the exclusive privacy of elegant drawing rooms, powerful men and women once again live the splendor and shame of that matchless era. With The Twisted Root, Perry holds us rapt with a chilling story of love, betrayal, and consummate evil.As private investigator William Monk listens to young Lucius Stourbridge plead for help in tracking down his runaway fianc e, he feels a sense of heavy foreboding. Miriam Gardiner disappeared suddenly from a croquet party at the luxurious Bayswater mansion of her in laws to be, and has not been seen since. But on Hampstead Heath, Monk finds the coach in which Miriam had fled and, nearby, the murdered body of the coachman. There is no trace of Miriam.What strange compulsion could have driven the beautiful widow to abandon the prospect of a loving marriage and financial abundance? Monk's attempt to answer that question proves a challenge, as Miriam Gardiner's fateful flight ends in a packed London courtroom where brilliant barrister Oliver Rathbone wages an uphill battle to absolve her from a charge of murder. And in a race with the hangman, Monk and clever nurse Hester Latterly themselves now newlyweds desperately pursue the elusive truth . . . and an unknown killer whose malign brilliance they have scarcely begun to fathom.