by Ambrose Parry
Genres: Historical Fiction
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Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.
Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.
Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.
With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.
The Way of the Flesh is a brilliant, atmospheric, historical, crime fiction novel that had me completely enthralled. The story is rich in the history of medical advancements and butchery performed during this period; particularly those surrounding the development of anaesthesia.
The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry was a rich, intriguing murder mystery set against the cusp of medical advancements, in Edinburgh, 1847. Ambrose Parry is the combined efforts of husband and wife, Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. Marisa’s research for her Master’s degree was the foundation on which they based this story.
When we meet Will, he is leaning over the body of a dead whore and before the night is through, thugs will accost him. The dead woman is someone he befriended and lent money to. The thugs are looking to collect said money. Thus on Will’s first day of his apprenticeship for Dr. Simpson, he arrives in rumbled clothes, sporting a rather sorry looking eye.
Their newest resident intrigues Sarah, the doctor’s receptionist and upstairs maid. Parry hooked me from the start and I easily slipped into the story.
Our story takes us into the home of the esteemed Dr. Simpson. It is here we truly get to know our main protagonists Will Raven and Sarah Fisher. Will is a medical student doing an apprenticeship with Dr. Simpson in obstetrics. Sarah is a housemaid who works in the clinic at the front of Dr. Simpson’s home. She devours all the medical knowledge she can and longs to work in the field herself. Something unheard of for a woman, let alone a woman of her station.
Will is working for Dr. Simpson and making inquiries as to the cause of death of his friend. When a housemaid Sarah knows ends up dead in a similar fashion, Sarah joins Will in his investigation. The mystery was clever with danger, twists and suspenseful moments. Parry also treated us to a secondary mystery concerning a young doctor who is wooing Dr. Simpson’s sister-in-law.
Along the way we explore some of medical achievements and horrors of the 1800s. May I say, thank you for modern medicine. While dark, morbid and downright frightful, especially for the females of society, I found the information provided to carefully researched, utterly fascinating and brilliantly told.
Sir James Young Simpson was an obstetrician and a significant figure in the history of medicine. I loved how Parry opened his home to us. Dr. Simpson and other famous and not so famous doctors, scientist, and chemist often met after dinner to try different forms anaesthesia. Can you imagine? While the story at its heart is a crime fiction, the story gives equal weight to the medical world. This may not be for everyone but I found these medical aspects to be equally interesting, even if I squirmed in my chair, crossed my legs tightly and shuddered in horror.
I appreciated how the authors wove history and the murder mystery together.
I devour The Way of of the Flesh, in two sittings despite the heavy context. I am hoping we might see another book regarding these characters. I rather enjoyed Will and Sarah’s investigations. The mystery wrapped up nicely as did information on the developments of anaesthesia but I felt the author left the door cracked open for additional tales.The Way of the Flesh by Ambrose Parry offers a brilliant, atmospheric, historical, crime fiction novel that will have the reader completely enthralled. #NewRelease Click To Tweet
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