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The Way of All Flesh – a book review in 200 words

The Way of All Flesh

by

Ambrose Parry

38114460

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

Purchase this book in October when it is available to the general public or pre-order it at Barnes & Noble | Amazon

 

An Echo of Murder – a book review

An Echo of Murder

by

Anne Perry

33656215

I cannot believe I have never read a William Monk mystery before! There are over 50 Anne Perry books and An Echo of Murder is the 23rd book in the Monk series. A fact for which I am incredibly grateful now.

Anne Perry’s William Monk series is set in Victorian London and really, reminds me of the BBC show, Ripper Street. (Or more accurately, Ripper Street reminds me of Anne Perry.) The central character is the sensitive and tough Commander Monk who is aided by his street-smart second-in-command, Hooper, and his brave wife, Hester, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. Monk is also surrounded by an eclectic collection of supporting characters ranging from a reformed shyster to an unlicensed doctor and, of course, a beloved street urchin.

In this installment of the series, the Thames River Police, headed by Monk, must rely on the Hungarian community’s own people for access to and legitimacy in the immigrant neighborhood where a terrible murder has taken place. When it becomes obvious they are dealing with a serial killer, the Hungarians are equal parts suspects and victims.

“We’re not taking people’s jobs. You’ve got to make them see that. We’re just taking care of ourselves, like everybody. We’ve got a right to do that. Englishmen have gone all over the world, where they had no business. Can’t they make room for us here?”

Two themes emerge quickly after the discovery of the first victim: the plight of the immigrant and the home life of soldiers after wartime. Both of these topics are particularly relevant right now and it is both interesting and disheartening to realize how little we have learned throughout history when it comes to both subjects.

“There are things you can’t share, except with those others who were part of it. The people at home don’t want to know. They can’t take it away from, they can only feel useless. There are not words created to describe the horror of some things. and why would you want to burden them with it anyway? They cannot help, and they cannot carry it for you.”

I actually read a second book in the Monk series over the weekend and found it just as enjoyable. And, now I have a third Anne Perry book waiting for me on my shelf! If you are a fan of serial mysteries or just really good fiction, you should try this series.

Rating: 89/100

Buy this book at Barnes and Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

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