The Way of All Flesh


Ambrose Parry


The Way of All Flesh is a historical thriller set in Scotland in the mid-1850s. If you know anything of Scotland at that time, you will know that Edinburgh had then become the seat of medical innovation. This story is set when the use of anesthetics were beginning to be formulated, tested and used on patients. There are plenty of fascinating medical tidbits to satisfy those interested in the macabre history of medicine, and it was nice to read them embedded in a work of fiction.

The story also revolves around a young apprentice doctor and a housemaid determined to rise above her station. They both work with a lauded obstetrician who is using new techniques in the hopes of better survival rates for mothers and babies. Unfortunately, there is someone killing working women – housemaids and prostitutes – who find themselves in the “family way” and looking to remedy the situation. This, and the sketchy backgrounds of a couple of the physicians introduced in the book, make for an intense read.

This is an interesting, twisty mystery by two authors, Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, writing under a pseudonym. I will definitely be picking up any other books they collaborate on.

(A preview copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 80/100

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