blog tour, Book reviews, Crime thriller, Historical fiction

The Art Of Dying by Ambrose Parry – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

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.

MY REVIEW 

The Art of Dying is the sequel to The Way Of All Flesh, it can be read as a stand-alone too, but I feel you miss out on the background to Will and Sarah.

Again set in Victorian Edinburgh, Will has returned from Europe, after gaining medical experience, and he is now a qualified medic. He becomes an assistant to Dr Simpson and Sarah, now married to another doctor, still has dreams of becoming a doctor herself, something unheard of at that time.

When people begin dying of an unknown illness, Sarah is the first to believe something darker is causing these deaths. She convinces Will and together they delve deeper and begin to hunt for a killer.

The Art Of Dying is historical crime fiction at its very best, superbly written and full of wonderfully atmospheric descriptions you really get a sense of time and place. It has a dark, twisty plot and well rounded, likeable characters that all add up to a thoroughly compelling read. Just brilliant.

Thank you to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of The Art Of Dying.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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.

@ambroseparry

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Historical fiction

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

A vivid and gripping historical crime novel set in 19th century Edinburgh,
by bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman.

In Edinburgh, 1847. Will Raven is a medical student, apprenticing for the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson. Sarah Fisher is Simpson’s housemaid, and has all of Raven’s intelligence but none of his privileges. As bodies begin to appear across the Old Town, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld. And if either of them are to make it out alive, they will have to work together to find out who’s responsible for the gruesome deaths.

– The Way of All Flesh is the first in a series of historical crime novels. It will appeal to fans of C.J. Sansom, S.J. Parris and historical crime fiction, as well of fans of Brookmyre’s own writing.

– The Way of All Flesh contains real life characters and events including:
▪ Dr James Simpson, pioneer of chloroform
▪ The invention of anaesthesia and its early use in obstetric procedures
▪ The influence of the newly established Free Church of Scotland
▪ The work of photography pioneers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson

– It has already been optioned by SunnyMarch for Film/TV and has sold into seven territories to date.

– Chris Brookmyre is an international bestselling and multi-award-winning author whose books have sold over one million copies. Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of 20 years’ experience, with a Master’s in the history of Medicine which formed the research for this book.


Raven and Fisher will return in The Art of Dying,
publishing in hardback 29.08.19.

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MY REVIEW

Will Raven is an apprentice ‘midwife’ to Dr Simpson a kind, generous doctor with an interest in anaesthesia. Raven owes money to violent ‘loan sharks’ after borrowing to lend money to his friend,  who is then found dead. He feels this was murder, then there are further women found dead with the same contorted bodies.

Sarah is a housemaid, who also works for Dr Simpson, part time, in his surgery helping with patients and clearing up. She has a thirst for medical knowledge and reads medical books avidly but as a women in these times, is disregarded.

Sarah and Raven do not get on initially, but they begin to investigate the deaths of the women and a little romance begins.

There’s a lot of medical information given and about the new fangled use of anaesthesia in medicine and surgery in the 1840’s and it reminds you just how far medicine has advanced. Thank goodness.

Ambrose Parry,  the authors have clearly done a lot of research and while this includes a lot of details in the tale it is not confusing but just reinforces the story and gives background to medicine of the time.

This is a great, wonderfully eloquent tale of historical medical drama, romance and a murder mystery.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

PURCHASE LINK

ABOUT AMBROSE PARRY
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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, including Black Widow, winner of both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 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 novel was based. The Way of All Flesh is the first book in the series. @ambroseparry


PRAISE FOR THE WAY OF ALL FLESH

‘Menacing, witty and ingeniously plotted, Ambrose Parry’s debut draws you into the dark heart of nineteenth-century Edinburgh and won’t let you go until the final page’
S.J. PARRIS

‘Utterly compelling, this tale of Old Edinburgh is so full of characters
and startling incident that I never wanted it to end’
DENISE MINA

‘Parry’s Victorian Edinburgh comes vividly alive – and it’s a world of pain’
VAL McDERMID

‘Pretty damn exceptional’
IRVINE WELSH

‘A dynamic new arrival in this niche category of writers. Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh leads the reader down dark alleys, through aristocratic parlours and prostitutes’ bedrooms, into secret worlds’
NICCI FRENCH, Observer

‘An astonishing debut. The dark and dangerous past is brought thrillingly to life. I can’t wait to read more.’​
MARK BILLINGHAM

‘The city of Burke & Hare has found a new classic murder. The Way of All Flesh is a darkly, stylish mystery underpinned by hard facts and expert research. A hugely enjoyable debut’
LOUISE WELSH

‘Everything you could possibly want in a historical crime fiction novel with extra thrills and chills on the side’
STUART MacBRIDE

‘Fascinating, informative and intriguing. Old Edinburgh brought to life and death within these pages’
LIN ANDERSON

‘A terrific read – Victorian Edinburgh’s medical world resurrected, and brought vividly to life’
GAVIN FRANCIS

‘I adored this atmospheric, enthralling novel. Victorian Edinburgh comes thrillingly to life’
JENNY COLGAN

‘A thoroughly entertaining tale of murder and misadventure in 1840s Edinburgh.’
Sunday Times

‘An enjoyable, dark-edged romp through Victorian Edinburgh . . . The Way of All Flesh is a treat. The historical setting is fascinating, and all of Brookmyre’s wit and storytelling verve are evident in this tale of scalpels and secrets.’
The Times