William Monk badly needs the job of tracking down the ivory stolen from on board the Maude Idris. Just returned from a voyage to Zanzibar, the ship had docked at the Pool of London with four armed seamen on board to guard her precious cargo. But by next morning the ivory had gone and one of the men was dead. Summoned by Clement Louvain, the ship's owner, Monk reluctantly begins his investigation into the theft and murder, hindered by his ignorance of the river world, but spurred on by the will to prove himself and by the huge fees he's being offered.
Meanwhile Hester faces hard problems at the Portpool Lane refuge. Sick prostitutes are arriving daily and the medicines needed to help them are running out. When a man turns up promising to pay an enormous sum for the Gare of one particular woman, Rester is astonished to find that the man is Clement Louvain himself. So who is the woman he is so generously helping ? And why is lie offering so much money ? Will Monk discover what Louvain is hiding before it is too late ? The Shifting Tife is the latest novel in the popular and critically acclaimed William and Hester Monk series by international best-selling author Anne Perry.