My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 416
Publisher - Canongate Books
Source - Netgalley
Blurb from Goodreads
Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson - a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.
Simpson's protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron's name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.
Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh's deadliest streets to clear Simpson's name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable.
Let me start off saying this is book two in a series, I didn't realise and I don't think I have been hampered by not reading book one. There are a few throwbacks and brief recaps of things that happened with book one so you can get away with starting with this one, if starting mid series doesn't make you twitchy.
The time is 1850, the place is Edinburgh and as is nature, people are dying. However some of them are not as should be and one well respected doctor, doctor Simpson, one of the patients was his. With a smear campaign kicking off and whispers of wrongful death of this patient, his understudy Will Raven reluctantly looks into the case and finds more than he bargained for. Will is prompted into action by Sarah, once a house maid to Doctor Simpson, now married to a doctor herself, Sarah has always been interested in medicine. At a time when women should be seen and not heard, married and tied to the sink, Sarah has always been supported and encouraged by doctor Simpson so she has a dual interest in the case.
The book has quite a few layers to it, Will and Sarah have a past, Sarah is now married, Will is very career focused and being involved with a house maid, for him, would negatively impact his career. Yet now he is back, Sarah is in a very different social standing and Will is having to battle his actions and consequences. Investigating who would have it out for doctor Simpson, the mysterious deaths and one of my fave things about this book, medicine back then! Add to all that we get wee snippets from the killer, an insight into their mind and what they are doing, I think when this is done well it really adds to a story. I do like a book is woven with historical facts, considering I never used to bother with historical fiction I do find myself enjoying them more as I get older. I also like books where you learn stuff as you go coupled with the fact is it set somewhere I have visited! Medicine itself is always evolving, practices changing, attitudes and procedures so I do like when you read of things past and then go off to read more in depth around X subject. I liked this one so much I will be buying book one and looking out eagerly for the next in the series, 4.5/5 for me this time. If you like murder mystery, medicine, books in the past, relationships and investigation this one will tick all the boxes for you!