Will Raven is just about to start as the new medical apprentice to the renown Dr James Simpson, but just before taking up his appointment he finds a friend dead in her bed. Twisted in death the body looks as though it is in spasm, and Will leaves without telling anybody. He has to, his friend is “just another dead whore” as he latter hears her called.
Moving into his new digs Will cannot forget his dead friend as he sets about his new job. But as more bodies are found, contorted in the same way as his fiend, it becomes obvious that somebody is killing women, but why.
Finding an unlikely ally in a young house maid, Sarah, who is fascinated by Homeopathy, and hankers for a job in medicine only open to men from privileged backgrounds, Will begins to look for who was responsible for killing the women.
Set in Edinburgh in the winter of 1847. A time when Doctors and Chemists are racing to find the ideal Anesthetic. A time when women are turning to prostitution to make ends meet. A time when illegal back street abortions are killing too many women who have no other option.
This story is not one that races along. It is a bit of a plod at times but it is well worth plodding through it.
Ambrose Parry paints a great picture of the life and times of the upper and lower classes of Edinburgh society, and nicely places his main character Will somewhere in the middle.
He paints a time when peoples egos outpaced the science they were trying to establish.
Publishers: Canongate Books
Publishing Date: 30th August
Available to pre-order on Amazon