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)
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.
The author's historical research and detail are impeccable; the writing is highly competent. In her effort to heap up red herrings and plot twists, however, the author mostly succeeds in creating an unconvincing melodrama. Quite early in the book, I wanted someone to throttle the fair and frail Lydia, beloved of our hero only because she is a lovely lady in distress. She's a stock character, a non-entity. The so-brilliant Dr. Thomas Silkstone is reduced to cliché-spouting idiocy in her presence. He has to love her; otherwise he would have little motivation to work feverishly to solve the mystery. I have no doubt the series improves in later novels but this novel does not impel me to continue reading them.
Chronic multi-tasker; Audible feeds my addiction to well loved genres, and allows me to explore new, unexplored arenas
Atmosphere, Detail, Engaging
I usually know within the first few pages (5 min.) if a story will hold my attention - with Tessa Harris, I am locked in almost immediately.... and that doesnt happen very often
Simon has the gift of becoming part of the story.... his voice and inflections add color and detail. He allows the characters to speak through him; he doesn't try to speak for them.
Believe me, I tried...
Tessa Harris is an author I look forward to reading/listening to for a long time...
I enjoyed the mystery. The story held my interest. Thought tthe references to how the main character stumbled upon some of his solutions was interesting.
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 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.
I find it pretty sad that a book about and "starring" an anatomist has several mistakes in descriptions of anatomy. I bookmarked them and went back to listen again, just to make sure I wasn't mistaken. Apparently the author thinks the liver is in the lower abdomen, with the bowel above it. And that the aorta moves blood to the heart, instead of away from it.
Wow. If she can't bother to ensure she gets the details of the protagonist's job right, maybe she should have given him a different job. Or she should care more about her writing and her book. I find that pretty sad.
As for the story itself, somehow it manages to be both boring and melodramatic - everything seems drawn out like a bad soap opera. And a 12 year old servant girl in the 18th century getting pregnant? She probably wasn't even menstruating yet - most service-class women at that time in England didn't get their periods until they were at least 14 or 15. Again - bad research leads to an unsatisfying book. I can forgive little things like that if the writing and plot are good, but that's not the case here.
I'm thankful I got this one on sale! This is the first of the series, and I definitely won't be listening to any others!
Enjoyed the twists and turns. Wish Lydia had been a stronger character to compliment the character of Dr. Silkstone. Look forward to the next book.
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