In the first in a stunning mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective.
The death of Lord Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man - except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.
Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment, he agrees to examine Lord Edward’s corpse. But it is not only the dead but also the living to whom he must apply the keen blade of his intellect. And the deeper the doctor’s investigations go, the greater the risk that he will be consigned to the ranks of the corpses he studies.
Tessa Harris, born in Lincolnshire, holds a history degree from Oxford University, and after four years of working with local newspapers she set her sights on women’s magazines. She is regularly heard on local BBC radio and over the years has interviewed such people as Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Archer, Anthony Hopkins, Susan Hampshire, Alan Titchmarsh, Jackie Stewart, Boris Johnson, and Uri Geller. She lives in Berkshire with her husband and their two children.
©2011 Tessa Harris (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“CSI meets The Age of Reason…Welldrawn, intriguing cast of characters…Full of twists and turns…Vivid details…A pageturner!” (Karen Harper, New York Times best-selling author)
The narration was as good as could be expected with this absolutely wretched prose. I decided I would give this a listen as I have quite enjoyed Simon Vance's readings. However, this book is just awful. The characters are flat, the plot is not remotely clever and again, the descriptions are ridiculous.
Just spare yourself. It's a cool concept, but someone other than Tessa Harris needs to execute it.
This book was enjoyable if you didn't think too hard about anything that happened. Obviously the writer did a lot of excellent research and knows her subject matter (early forensic science) very well. My big problems with this book are: some continuity errors (aka the doctor is beaten almost to death, but ten pages later injuries don't bother him and is never mentioned again) and some of the motivations for character's actions are a bit stretched. The romance seems quite forced. By the end of the book, it almost feels like the author is throwing in extra stuff just to make the book longer, or in an effort to make the plot twistier, which isn't necessary. Anyway, fun enough if you're on a long drive, but don't expect excellence.
Tell us about yourself!
Decent book. The story was well thought out and it moved but it wasn't great. Having listened to a lot of mysterys based in London, this one was a little different because of the time period - late 1700s.
Vance does a good narration, four starts for him.
The performance was fine. I had no issues with the reader. My complaint is entirely about the book itself.
As the title of this review says, I wasn't sure if it would ever end. (To be honest, I'm not sure it ever does because I never finished it. I took a break to listen to another book and cannot bring myself to pick this one back up.) The book foreshadows events, then completely changes what the foreshadowing means. There are so many characters that it is difficult to keep track of who everyone is. Scenes drag on much longer than they should.
I had hoped that the book would discuss the forensics of the case, but that is barely touched on. The times when it is brought up are interesting, but those are very few and far between. I wanted to get to know the characters, but they are just as vague in my mind as when I started listening. (I made it about 75% of the way before giving up.)
Just skip this book. There's too many good audiobooks to waste space on your listening device.
I had such I hopes for this series - I love the genre and the reviews were good, but I just cannot listen one more minute. I was hoping to find another author in the same league as Louise Penny or Laurie R. King, but this is not the case. The characters are poorly developed, many just broad stroke caricatures (grossly obese coroner carrying food into courtroom, meek petite fragile wife, handsome brutish ex-military scheming husband, mild mannered but brilliant and handsome doctor who falls for fragile female, etc) with predictable lines and dialogue that is like watching a tennis match with unsurprising and uninspired give and take. The excessive use of flowery adjectives and gratuitous descriptors made it saccharine. Granted, I stopped at chapter 25 (~ half way), but I cannot imagine any plot twists, character development or sudden epiphany could occur that would give this book a reprieve.
Simon Vance has a wonderful voice. Fan girl!
The story was very intriguing. I will admit the romance angle threw me but I was super engrossed in the story. Good read for historical fiction and mystery lovers!
The summary of the story -- a period mystery, solved by a New World anatomist, some last minute twists and turns (I did not see the villain coming, the ending was great and unexpected) promises great things, BUT the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Liiiiike what exactly is the appeal of Lady Lydia? Why is he considered an Apprentice when he is already a university lecturer?
A great novel; I could hardly put it down. It may not be for those squeamish readers who cannot handle a few instances of detailed medical descriptions. The story was woven well, and could keep you guessing around every corner. The tone throughout was pretty even-keeled, emulating the logic and method of the doctor, but when action picked up it could really grip you in the suspense. The murder mystery was fantastic, suspicion thrown here and there, a red herring or two, and plenty of twists by the end. I dare say I had guessed a few of them, but not all of the means/motives. It felt solved once or twice, only to have something new come to light which altered the whole proceeding. By the last few chapters I had a pretty good idea about the bigger picture before the reveal. I rather pity the residents of that estate... so much treachery, debauchery and death. All because of some so-called gentlemen. Quite the only satisfactory wrap-up after all though. I am glad the doctor persevered despite the locals' ignorance. It was a very different game to find justice in the time before medical examiners and toxicology reports. I think my favorite characters were the old anatomists. Dr H was introduced so uniquely, and his demeanor endeared him to me instantly - straightforward and practical man of science, but warm and could read people, a good heart and good Schnapps. =)
Well read by Simon Vance, a veteran narrator who has never yet failed me, with his classic English dialects, dialogue voices always consistent and properly distinguishable.
The story was rich in detail, but lacking in suspense. Simon Vance has a nice voice.
He did. Simon's characters were diverse. I enjoyed listening to his voice more than the story.
I don't think I would cut any parts, but I would encourage the author to turn up the volume... it was a little stale.
Yes, it's interesting enough to listen to.
I would recommend with caveat or two. Those being; that the characters in this book seem oblivious to what information they know that they might need to tell someone else about. People were a little clueless to CSI type things, but I had a hard time swallowing that they were as oblivious as the Author painted them.
Voice acting true to characters.
The birth of CSI
It was interesting, but not as fast paced as the murder stories we are used to in the 21st century. Characters are also naive, but true to the times. Annoyingly clueless at times.
Report Inappropriate Content