— But you will be ready to say, what was your hope in doing this? — What did you look forward to? — To any thing, every thing — to time, chance, circumstances, slow effects, sudden bursts, perserverance and weariness ... Every possibility of good was before me, and the first of blessings secured ... — from Emma, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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August 11, 2012

The Anatomist's Apprentice



As it turns out, there were (still are) a lot of books (not just these three) that lingered, unfinished, while I moved. {And I just remembered that I never finished Greenery Street, either, and I was enjoying it!  Thank goodness for semester-long library loans!}   Here's another lingerer that I just finished listening to this morning.

I've been enjoying the relatively new series of Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther mysteries by Imogen Robertson, set in the 1780s, (have you read them?) and I think this one (the first in a new series) caught my eye because it was set in the same period, and had a similar premise (a lot of similarities, as it turns out).  Dr. Thomas Silkstone is a young doctor from Philadelphia, working in London under the mentorship of a famous but now blind 'anatomist '(a doctor who performs autopsies and does other kinds of postmortem examinations of dead people).  When young, sickly Lord Crick dies in horrible agony, and the local doctors see no need to look further, his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell, asks Thomas to investigate.  There's an unsatisfactory husband, an unscrupulous friend, an aging parent, a servant who blends her own kinds of medicine, and a romance in the expected place.

I liked this book -- both for its period detail and its suspenseful, if not especially surprising, plot twists.  It's hard to describe my major quibble with it, without committing a spoiler, but let's just say that when the mystery is solved, and there's still a chunk of book left, you almost know already  that something else is going to happen.  I thought the ending of this book -- not who did it, but how we were taken there -- was too drawn-out and so a little unsatisfactory.  But it looks like there are already two more Dr. Thomas Silkstone books in the works -- I'll look for them -- and maybe some of those kinks will be worked out.

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