A Corruption Of Blood by Ambrose Parry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A Raven and Fisher Mystery: Book 3

Edinburgh, 1850. This city will bleed you dry.

Sarah Fisher is keeping a safe distance from her old flame Dr Will Raven. Having long worked at the side of Dr James Simpson, she has set her sights on learning to practise medicine herself. A notion everyone seems intent on dissuading her from.

Across town, Raven finds himself drawn into Edinburgh’s mire when a package containing human remains washes up on the shores of Leith, and an old adversary he has long detested contacts him, pleading for Raven’s help to escape the hangman.

Sarah and Raven’s lives seem indelibly woven together as they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.

My Review

I am thrilled to be opening the blog tour for this latest book in one of my favourite series. It is also one of the few where I have all three books signed by the authors.

One of the many reasons I enjoy historical fiction like this is because of the way the story is based on read life characters as well as fictional ones, the knowledge that many of the events would have happened and the opinions of many of the characters would have been common. Most of these opinions left me feeling outraged and saddened. I don’t think that I would have been able to stay quiet like Sarah did, and I had a lot of respect for her ability to do so, and her determination to try and prove her critics wrong. She did have her supporters though, from women like her, who couldn’t follow their dream.

Initially Sarah and Raven were investigating different cases, but they do have a link and eventually they ended up working together. Unfortunately, they found themselves in danger and they knew that someone was scared of them getting too close to the truth. What they did discover was heartbreaking. I know that there were many who were capable of acts like this, but can’t imagine what it would be like to know that you had been duped by somebody so cruel. I was completely wrong about all aspects of their investigations but had a lot of appreciation for the eventual outcome.

Whilst there is a lot of focus on uncovering the truth there is also a lot that shows the way life was at the times for many. The poverty, the horrifying decisions that many were forced to make and the attitudes of the wealthy towards those who were less fortunate. All of this combined with Sarah’s determination to be acknowledged is the reason I enjoy this series so much.

I was happy to read a few weeks ago that book four in this series will be published next year. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

If the truth’s in the shadows, get out of the light . . .

Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. He’s left behind his share of enemies, but who dealt the fatal blow?

DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.

My Review

I have had the Laidlaw trilogy since attending a author event a few years ago and then bought this book to read with it. But all four were still sat unread until I had the chance to participate in this blog tour. 

I could have read the original novels prior to this one but because it was described as a prequel I decided to treat it as such. I have no regrets about reading them this way. I didn’t know anything about Laidlaw, apart from that he was a maverick and I have no idea whether any of the characters who feature in this novel appear in the original novels.

Laidlaw was a character I liked a lot. His approach to the gangland hierarchy,  his lack of respect towards his superiors where he didn’t even try and his understanding attitude towards those who he felt needed some sympathy. I also liked his dry sense of humour, one of reasons I enjoy Scottish crime fiction so much is that the humour is nearly always there. It was more evident in this novel when Laidlaw was dealing with someone who he had no respect for so was in most scenes featuring his commanding officer. 

I couldn’t tell which part of it Ian Rankin wrote, despite reading many of his books. I have heard before that there are similarities between both authors and I will have to make space for the trilogy to see if I can see a difference. 

The Art Of Dying by Ambrose Parry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a whispering 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

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a signed copy of this book when it was released and jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour. I had no doubts that it would be just as good as the first book, The Way Of All Flesh. You could read this book without reading that but I would recommend that you do read them in order.

It starts in Berlin, but only for a short chapter, where Raven shows that he doesn’t make life easy for himself. He returns to Edinburgh to work with Dr Simpson again and is wary of how Sarah would be with him, but he is unprepared for what happened with her during his time away. Things aren’t quite as they first seem though, and he is soon aware that she is going to need friends. And they both need to be a support to Dr Simpson even though he doesn’t want them to be involved.

The book consists of three narrators, Raven, Sarah and the unnamed killer. All were brilliant, some of the chapters were very short and made this a very quick read for me. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen with all of them. Whilst enjoying reading about all of them it is Sarah who was my favourite. I loved her determination to be more than ‘just a housemaid’, her loyalty and her spirit. 

The historical aspect was perfect and even though I didn’t understand some of the medical terminology it made this book more fascinating. And I feel very relieved that methods have changed. As for the setting, Edinburgh is somewhere I have visited but I don’t know it well. I need to return and visit the areas mentioned, to try and visualise them as Raven and Sarah.

I’ve always enjoyed historical crime and this series of books is now one of my favourites, despite only being two so far. Book three is definitely one that I am looking forward to reading and hopefully adding to my signed collection.

The Way Of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

In the city’s Old Town a number of young women have been found dead, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. Across the city in the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of Raven’s intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into the city’s spate of suspicious deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

My Review

The Way Of All Flesh was a book that I was lucky enough to  receive a signed copy of at last years Theakston’s Crime Festival, so I was pleased to be asked to join the blog tour.

Edinburgh and its history is something I know little about and I was unaware when I started this novel that many of the characters in the book were real people. I googled often, looking at the history of various establishments and the people involved who were responsible for improving medical practices. 

The two main characters, Raven and Sarah were very likeable. It was evident that Raven wasn’t as he seemed but I didn’t feel that he was a malicious person. His secrets were down to other reasons which were revealed steadily throughout the novel. I thought Sarah was wonderful. Clever, brave and outspoken enough to get into trouble for it. I had a lot of sympathy for her, not being able to do something she would excel at because she was female. I found myself muttering at times at the attitudes by some towards her just because she wasn’t male, one more than any other was the assistant in the chemists. 

It is quite medical but not understanding all of it didn’t stop me enjoying this book a lot. I was pleased to see that there will be another book in the series.