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)
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
First Simon Vance does a good job with his narration, always does. I thought he did an excellent job with the voices, especially differentiating the young doctor's Philadelphian accent from that of the English characters.
I rather wish that the author of the other review had given some examples of historical errors. I didn't catch anything glaring although I did have some questions. I gave some thought to the estate being passed by inheritance but I just assumed that someone earlier had barred the entail on the estate in question. The book felt more like Andrew Taylor's Anatomy of a Ghost (also available on Audible) than Anne Perry's mysteries. Anne Perry's books generally take some social justice issue and weaves the mystery around how the issue leads up to the crime or impedes the detection of the crime. This mystery is kept within the framework of 18th century thought and social mores with a bit of a forensic stretch now and then.
There are a couple of rather gruesome post mortem examinations so don't try to listen to this one when eating. If you want to follow up with some true 18th century crimes there are several editions of the Newgate Calendar available for free on line and a great web site called Voices of the Old Bailey.
Although it contains a love story it isn't a genre romance and doesn't follow romance conventions.
Recommended for those who enjoy historical mysteries.
trying to see the world with my ears
I downloaded this when it was part of an Audible promotion about promising new thrillers. Fortunately, I am not a big fan of thrillers. This is a so- so- historical mystery-procedural, with lots of detail of post-mortems --kind of an 18th century Anne Perry with corpses.
The upside - Although it's not a perfect evocation of 18th century England, the listen is was diverting enough (aside from the rotting corpses) that I would download further novels in the proposed series, hoping that the author perfects her craft and historicity as she goes. Good 18th century-set mysteries are rare.
As usual, Simon Vance makes the best of his material.
Another English-set, first-in-a-series mystery came out the same week might have been a better choice for the Audible list: Twelve Drummers Drumming - contemporary setting, but a more satisfying mystery.
I was thankful this audio book was finally coming to a climax but then I noticed there were
still 40 minutes to go. Sadly it wasn't ending, not when there was one more totally idiot plot twist that could happen. Why did I listen this far? Simon Vance and his fabulous voice and characterizations. The characters and basic premise of the story have promise but the author can't decide if she wants to write a bodice ripper or a mystery. If Lydia is described as fragile one more time in these last 40 minutes, someone could get hurt!
As much as I love Simon Vance I won't be getting any more of this series.
Im a big Simon Vance fan, which is why I purchased this audible. Not to mention, Im a sucker for anything set in England. Overall, the book has a Sherlock Holmes vibe. The characters, especially Silkstone, are likeable - the plot lively enough, althought not overly suspenseful. Its not outstanding, but was an enjoyable read.
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.
I am a fan of the genre but hesitated to pick up this book because of the bad reviews on goodreads - and they were unfortunately correct.
Each small piece of the puzzle was revealed to the audience long before the main character slowly and agonizingly groped his way to the truth. The characters lacked any kind of chemistry, in fact the romance was so forced it was nearly unbearable, making it all the more perplexing since it was completely unnecessary to the story unless it was a failed attempt by the author to raise the stakes. The depiction of the period was nonexistent, where it not for the occasional reference to a tricorn hat I would have forgotten where and when the book was set.
The narrator was good overall except for some instances where the main female character actually showed some backbone - "spoken through her teeth" somehow translated to annoying whine.
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.
The story drags on and on and on with a pompous male telling the story.
It seems as if the tellers voice is "more important" than the story.
I just could not stand the English accent he used..he was so arrogant.
I will try to get my money back on this one.
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