Tessa Harris’ The Anatomist’s Apprentice plunges the reader into the viscera of 18th-century English culture and crime.
In 1780, Pennsylvania native Dr. Thomas Silkstone finds himself on the wrong side of the Atlantic in the middle of a war, but the opportunity to learn the secrets of the human body from one of the world’s best anatomists is too good an opportunity to let slip by. Handsome, young and very much a gentleman, Thomas discovers that the horrific death of a loathed lordling requires his particular skills when the peer’s beautiful sister, Lady Lydia Farrell, begs his help to clear her husband’s name.
No one much liked Sir Edward, but was he hated enough to be murdered? It seemed probable, though it was true, too, that he had suffered from the pox for most of his young life. As beneficiary upon his death of his fortune and estates, Lady Lydia’s rakish husband seemed the obvious candidate… if it –were- murder.
Thomas is drawn out to the magnificent Oxfordshire estate to perform an extremely difficult postmortem. With the body gone a week without preservation and indeed just laid in the family crypt, it will take a strong heart and a stronger stomach to carry out his task.
This book, the start of a very promising series, is replete with a startling number of plot twists, a very likable main character, and fascinating details from the dawn of forensic science. It is available in print, as an eBook, and as audio to download.