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)
50ish retired public radio news broadcaster, female, rancher. I love good writing from historical fiction and interesting, off beat mysteries to history of religions and interesting biography coupled with excellent voicing. I have no use for poorly delivered reading. I'll suffer though so-so writing if the content is engaging, but if the narrator is bad, I'll buy the book and read it myself.
I love the idea of this early forensic doctor. Too bad the author had to resort to the "Man saves weak maiden" storyline. Honestly stomach turning.
Eclectic lifelong reader
To say more would involve spoilers . Let's just say that soap operas have nothing on this plot!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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