I’d like to extend my thanks to Anne Cater, for inviting me onto this blog tour to read The Art Of Dying by Ambrose Parry, published by Canongate Books.
A gripping historical novel of medicine & murder from bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman, set in nineteenth-century Edinburgh
Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer.
Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths. Soon they discover that the cause of the deaths has evaded detection purely because it is so unthinkable.
- Contains real life characters and events, based on Marisa Haetzman’s research, including:
- Dr James Simpson, pioneer of chloroform
- An antagonist inspired by 19th-century nurse and ‘Angel of Death’ Jane Toppan
- The controversy surrounding chloroform’s introduction to obstetrics practices
- The growth of the women’s movement, which led to the formation of the Edinburgh Seven: the first women to enrol in university in the UK
‘A rip-roaring tale of murder amid the medical experiments of 19th-century Edinburgh . . . brings both city and period to colourful life’
‘Parry’s Victorian Edinburgh comes vividly alive – and it’s a world of pain’
Our Authors – Ambrose Parry
Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-
winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years’ experience, whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this series, which began with The Way of All Flesh, is based.
The Way of All Flesh was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.
The Art of Dying is the second book in the series. The Way Of All Flesh sets the tone, and leads nicely into The Art of Dying.
The series has been optioned by Benedict Cumberpatch’s production company SunnyMarch for a Sky TV series. The Way of all Flesh was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculiar Prize for Crime Novel of the Year 2019, and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the year.
My Review – The Art of Dying
I throughly enjoyed the first book in the series, The Way of The Flesh, so I was keen to read this next book – The Art of Dying. We find Will Raven, now a fully qualified doctor in Berlin, but he soon heads back to Edinburgh and the setting for The Way of All Flesh and a return also of some heartwarming characters. Sarah – no longer a Fisher – now married and Mrs Banks, wife of Dr Archie Banks. She’s moved up in class, by marrying a doctor, and is no longer just the maid. She’s now Dr Simpson’s assistant in his surgery, helping with his patients and preparing medicines and has become very adapt at using chloroform under Dr Simpson’s instruction.
Will, as before is trying to avoid several undesirables, who seem to think he’s the Dr for the job now. Will is also trying to avoid thinking about his ‘colleague’ Mrs Banks too much.
Sarah is finding it hard to concentrate too, but for other reasons to do with her new home life and its outcome. And during this, they are also trying to dismiss any question about Dr Simpsons qualifications and any nonsense surrounding his abilities as a doctor, that are under local debate, it would seem, from Will’s predecessor and whilst trying to dispel any myth about his work, Sarah and Will uncover another medical mystery, which sees them working together again and brings their friendship back round from the awkward silences that seemed to surround them.
Its the mystery that sparks a series of visits around the ‘old town’ of Edinburgh and its that brings about some old unsavoury characters from Will’s past that bring about a change in him that he hadn’t seen coming.
Sarah and Will play off each other perfectly, working in Dr Simpsons practice treating patients and their medical issues with ease. I love historical crime fiction and medical crime historical fiction even more. And this does not disappoint. For fans of Stacey Halls as well as Nicci French as the squalidness of old Edinburgh seeps from the very pages. They take chances and Sarah even more so, due to her status and of course being female, she’s truly up against the odds.
I ask only one thing, more please. And I am hoping by the mentions of an Italian gang, that book 3 continues Will and Sarah’s next adventures.
To buy The Art of Dying – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Ambrose-Parry/The-Art-of-Dying/24879136
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