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The Art of Dying (Way of All Flesh 2) –…
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The Art of Dying (Way of All Flesh 2) (vuoden 2019 painos)

– tekijä: Ambrose Parry (Tekijä)

Sarjat: Will Raven (2)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
545369,711 (4.09)3
There's a fine line between kill and cure.Edinburgh, 1849. Despite Edinburgh 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.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:Mitch1
Teoksen nimi:The Art of Dying (Way of All Flesh 2)
Kirjailijat:Ambrose Parry (Tekijä)
Info:Canongate Books (2019), Edition: Main, 416 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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The Art of Dying (tekijä: Ambrose Parry)

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näyttää 5/5
This is the second in a historical fiction crime series set in the Victorian Era in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1849. In the previous book, The Way of All Flesh, which took place two years earlier, Will Raven, at age 19, was newly apprenticed to the eminent physician James Simpson (an actual figure from real life), who specialized in gynecology, or as it was known then, midwifery. Simpson was also famous for his discovery of chloroform which transformed surgical practice at the time.

Now Will is a doctor, having spent time abroad studying at top medical schools on the continent, and Dr. Simpson has offered him the position of his new assistant. When he returns, he is both astonished and dismayed to find out that Sarah, a former housemaid to Dr. Simpson, was now married and also serving as an assistant for Dr. Simpson’s clinic. Before Raven left, he and Sarah had something of a relationship, but Raven, bound by ideas of “propriety” believed there could be no future with a housemaid, and had not even contacted Sarah since he left. He could not forget her, however, and found that his feelings for Sarah, now Mrs. Banks, had not diminished. Shockingly, to Raven’s mind, Sarah’s husband Archie was a doctor but cared little for social opinion over his relationship with Sarah. He had told her, “Life is too short to be held back from pursuing one’s wishes by something as vapid as what other people might think.” In this he was the opposite of Will Raven.

When Raven returns, Sarah tries to enlist his help to redeem Dr. Simpson’s reputation after one of his patient’s died unexpectedly. In fact, there are a number of unexpected deaths occurring, and the narration alternates with a woman who is a killer, and whose identity we only learn late into the story.

At first Raven resists Sarah’s entreaties; he is still overly concerned with his own reputation. Other complications weave through the plot: So much about the human body was still a mystery and perplexing those who dedicated their lives to healing; Raven was still involved with a loan shark who retained power over him; there was money going missing from Dr. Simpson’s household; something was wrong with Sarah’s husband; and Raven was struggling with being in such close proximity with Sarah.

By the time Raven finally joins Sarah in trying to get to the bottom of what is killing patients, and finally lets his reason temper his ego in determining the cause, it may be too late for all of them, for they are all in danger.

The authors conclude with a Historical Note, in which they state that many of the characters and incidents depicted are based on real events and real people, and they provide examples.

Discussion: It should be noted that Ambrose Parry is the pseudonym for the married couple Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. Brookmyre has written over twenty novels for which he has won a number of awards, and Dr. Haetzman is a consultant anesthetist. The information provided on the authors explained that Dr. Haetzman uncovered the material for this novel while doing research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine.

This book was shortlisted for the 2019 McIlvanney Prize (Bloody Scotland’s annual prize awarded to the best Scottish Crime book of the year) and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year (one of the UK's top crime-fiction awards).

Evaluation: Although there were two authors writing this novel (see Discussion, above), the writing was seamless. The Edinburgh setting appealed to me, as well as the evolution of the main characters. There were a number of twists, and the ending caught me by surprise. ( )
  nbmars | Aug 3, 2020 |
This book dazzled me from the beginning. I plunged into 1850 Edinburgh so deeply that it was difficult to emerge from under the authors' spell. I didn't want to stop reading to eat dinner and dessert with my family. Even chocolate cake couldn't overcome the power of this book. I gobbled up my cake in the 21st century and rushed back to the 19th century as quickly as possible. And then I was back in Edinburgh . . .

The dark streets where women didn't dare walk. The sordid slums of the poor and beautifully-decorated parlors of the wealthy.

The social hierarchy that dictated who could marry whom. The scandal when a brave few threw off societal restraints and married for love.

The ever-present threat of dying in childbirth. The number of children who died in infancy or early childhood.

The list goes on.

I felt like I was physically there. More importantly, I was emotionally present. The tumultuous emotions swirling in the atmosphere were my emotions, the characters existed in my life, and I cared about them deeply.

I immediately liked both Sarah Fisher Banks and Will Raven. (He's usually called Raven in the book). Sarah is smart, eager to learn about medicine, and chaffs under the social dictates for her gender. Though she and Will were romantically involved in the previous book, he refused to marry someone beneath his social class and fled to Europe to study medicine. In the meantime, she married Archie Banks, a doctor with quite egalitarian views who encourages her to study medicine.

When Dr Simpson's reputation is smeared, Raven and Sarah butt heads over the proper response. She wants to investigate; he wants to stay out of it. I enjoyed watching the two spar over this and other issues. Even when they team up, the two don't always work well together. Both have secrets. Both are stubborn and have huge blind spots. And Sarah's marriage puts a barrier between them. When they need to be in agreement, too often they miss clues because they interpret them in different ways. This gives their unseen enemy an advantage, an advantage that the killer will exploit . . .

At points, the killer narrates from a first person point of view. Though it soon becomes obvious who this woman is, I didn't work out how all of the elements fit together until the climax. Her voice commanded my attention. She demanded that I see her impoverished childhood, abused teenage years, the way she became who she was, even when I wanted to look away.

The Art of Dying is a beautifully-written historical mystery. The book captivated me, sweeping me away with its masterful prose, deep characters, and tight control of the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed it! An enthusiastic 5 stars.

(Thanks to Netgalley and BlackThorn press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.) ( )
  MeredithRankin | Apr 9, 2020 |
The art of Dying in the second Ambrose Perry mystery—the first, The Way of All Flesh, was published in August 2018. The novels are set in mid-19th Century Edinburgh's medical community. Both novels feature Will Raven and Sarah Fisher. Will is a young physician with ambitions. Sarah is an exceptionally intelligent former housemaid, who despite her sex has become an assistant to well-known physician, Dr. Simpson. the Way of All Flesh was a solid read, but the Art of Dying has surpassed it, in terms of the central mystery, pacing, and character development. Once I was well into the book, I couldn't put it down. Yes, reviewers say that a lot, but I mean it.

In The Art of Dying, Sarah and Will stumble onto a surprising number of deaths, all associated with one nurse. Will pursues these cases in hopes of discovering a new disease and making his name. Sarah suspects something more sinister.

The characters range from Edinburgh society to its slums and its criminals. Some jealous doctors are attempting to stain Dr. Simpson's reputation, Will is feeling increasingly trapped by a debt he owes Edinburgh's most notorious loan shark. Sarah finds herself pregnant as it becomes clear that her new husband has terminal cancer.

Pick up this title for the excitement it provides, the fascinating glimpse into a specific moment in medical history, and the characters who you will come to care about deeply. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Nov 11, 2019 |
Travelling in Europe Will Raven has cause to kill a man in an attack. As a doctor he is filled with remorse but on retiring to Edinburgh and finding that his love Sarah has married another is another pain. Raven resumes working for the renowned Doctor Simpson and starts investigating a series of unexplained deaths which are linked to one woman.
This is another excellent outing for the writers that make up Ambrose Parry. Again the setting is 19th century Edinburgh of contrasts in society and the history of medicine is to the fore. Here the focus is on the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic and the dangers of it as well. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Oct 24, 2019 |
‘Raven thought he was looking for a new disease. Sarah thought that something more sinister was afoot.’

I really enjoyed the first in this series from husband and wife co-authors writing under the pseudonym of Ambrose Parry, and I was very much looking forward to this, the second. And I wasn’t disappointed. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I think readers will get more of the nuances between the characters, and understand them better, if they come to this having read The Way of All Flesh.

Two years on from the events of the first book and Will Raven is now living in Europe, qualified as a doctor, but still unable to escape the sinister violence that seems to follow him wherever he goes. As we open, he and his friend Henry, together with their two female ‘friends’, are attacked in an alley in Berlin. Henry is shot in the leg, and Will manages to fight off the attackers, killing one n the process. The repercussions of this are felt later in the book and, I suspect, in other books to come. Whilst not the only reason, the attack convinces Will that he should return to Edinburgh, accepting the post of assistant to his one-time mentor, Dr James Simpson. But two years have passed, and the Simpson household and its inhabitants have changed – not least the situation of Will’s sleuthing accomplice from the first book, Sarah Fisher.

On his return Will is plunged into a complex series of seemingly unconnected events: colleagues of Dr Simpson accuse him of causing the death of one of his female patients; Will’s nemesis and loan shark, Flint, drags him into further problems; a new member of the household is tidying up Simpson’s affairs but the mysterious James Quinton hides his own secrets; and all the time unexplained deaths, often several members of the same family, are confounding the medical establishment.

For fans of historical crime fiction this is a joy: the characters get deeper and more complex as we go on, and in particular Will and Sarah come to represent aspects of wider society. Sarah is passionate about medicine, and in the face of a male-dominated profession she is desperate to find a way to succeed. She finds a mentor in the figure of Mrs Glassford, a champion of women’s rights campaigner Mary Wollstonecraft. Inspired, Sarah dreams of finding ways of achieving her aims, and the lure of studying in America raises itself as a possible future. Will is also determined to make a name for himself, but his background and dark past seem to hold him back. Together the pair start to investigate the malpractice claims against Simpson and discover a shocking truth that neither of them can have imagined.

Parry uses a sly technique of giving us, from the start, the thoughts and motivations of the killer, whose identity is revealed about half-way through the book. The book then becomes a hunt across Edinburgh for the killer, with enough twists and turns to mirror the wynds and closes of Edinburgh’s Old Town. For indeed the grand city of Edinburgh is a character in itself, the disjunction between the rich and the poor, the establishment and the shady criminal underworld, the New and Old Towns. It has been used often in the past by authors and suits the mood of the Parry novels perfectly.

This is developing into an excellent series, and the conclusion of this particular novel sets up a third book very nicely. What will happen to Will and Sarah? Without giving anything away, their relationship in this book is a story in itself, with tragedy and missed opportunities giving them the classic ‘will they, won’t they’ plot device. This is an excellent, thoroughly enjoyable crime thriller, with enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing, a superb setting, and characters that are more than just two-dimensional. Definitely recommended. ( )
  Alan.M | Sep 1, 2019 |
näyttää 5/5
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There's a fine line between kill and cure.Edinburgh, 1849. Despite Edinburgh 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.

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