Cover Image: The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh

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Member Reviews

I loved the Edinburgh setting and the grisly medical history, especially the advances that were being made with anesthetic at that time and the attention that was being given to make childbirth more bearable for women. The mystery itself wasn't anything mind blowing but it was wrapped up nicely and it kept me intrigued enough. The characters were well fleshed out (excuse the pun) and I would like to see what happens in the next book.

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A captivating story set along the background of edinburgh. It was such a rivetting read, with realistic characters, and a plot that kept me engaged throughout! So much fun, I really enjoyed it.

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I read this book so quickly because I really enjoyed it! Really good mystery, interesting characters and I loved the period setting.

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I chose to read this because of the historical Edinburgh medical setting - very Burke and Hare. It was an enjoyable read, if slow to start with, and will and Sarah are likeable characters.

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This is an outstanding book, extremely well written and the storyline I superb. The historical details are extremely accurate and the characterisation sound. I love the main characters who are well drawn and realistic. Will Raven and Sarah Fisher work well together, despite their different backgrounds but we soon find out that Will has a background that one would not expect of a medical student, certainly not one studying under Mr Simpson. this adds to the intrigue. The fact it is set in Edinburgh is an added bonus, and the setting is presented perfectly. As the body count rises, the mystery gets more tense and the twists and turns will have you breathless. If you like historical mysteries you will love this book.

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Went through a phase of getting "read now" books that sounded vaguely interesting. Never got around to reading this one.

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Written for those readers who enjoy history, intrique and the darkness of murder. Set in the mid nineteenth century this story has the atmospheric backdrop of the society of the period. Women are being murdered across Edinburgh. At the same time one of the most well renowned medical pioneers Dr Simpson is meeting with brilliant minds and experimenting in particular with anaesthesia. Our two protagonists student Will Raven and housemaid Sarah are about to reluctantly join forces to unravel the truth.
This is a fantastic debut novel, clearly well informed and structured to deliver a clever story of murder, medicine and money.

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Rating:

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

This has been a difficult review for me to write - I finished it a while ago, but I never knew what to say about it. For me, The Way of All Flesh was a rather standard novel, which is why I've found it so difficult. 

I requested this on Netgalley because the concept sounded highly intriguing. I love a mystery and a detective novel, especially one set so far in the past as the 19th century. This sounded like everything I was going to love but, sadly, it didn't quite meet my expectations. 

 I liked the characters in themselves. Our main character, Will Raven, was an enigma. There were a lot of twists surrounding his character and his past, which I think were written quite well. I never knew quite what I should believe, which is always a positive in a mystery/detective novel. I also really liked our female protagonist, Sarah Fisher. She reminded me a lot of Felicity Montague from Mackenzi Lee's The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. She goes against the expectations of women of her station in her attempt to help solve the case of the dead girls being found around town.

In general, the plot was decent. I was intrigued by it, but only after around 100 or so pages. The Way of All Flesh didn't necessarily have the best opening to a book, as I felt confused by the 30-page mark and had to restart the book. After about a third of the book, it started to pick up the pace and I found myself captivated by the story as I understood it a lot better than I originally did. I could understand the gist of what was happening and, even though the ending was slightly predictable, I liked the way it was written.

The Way of All Flesh is the first book in a duology. Although the ending does leave room for the sequel with some unanswered questions, I don't think I was interested enough in this book to continue with the duology. I'm happy to stop reading it where I have.

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Fascinating atmospheric historical mystery set in Edinburgh mid 19th century. Good characters and very descriptive.

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In Victorian Edinburgh, medical student Will Raven sets to take on a medical apprenticeship and rise above his station when young women start showing up dead in similarly suspicious circumstances.

I loved the historical detail and descriptive nature of The Way of All Flesh, I could almost smell the putrid stench of Edinburgh in the 1940s.

Overall, an enjoyable read but I found the pacing to be an issue. The last 30% of the book, I found to be rushing towards a climax yet some chapters seemed to be entirely for style over substance. This may be because it was a joint effort in writing rather than a singular author.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book.

3/5 Stars

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I picked this book up because it was set in my birth place of Edinburgh, albeit, set in Victorian Times. A historical and medical story if not something I would seek out but I liked the mystery aspect of it and it was a brilliantly written tale. I really liked all the characters and was kept guessing right up the reveal (where I found that I was completely wrong)

I have seen that there is another in the series, so am really looking forward to reading that one too.

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A lot of research went into this book, with many characters being real people from Edinburgh's history. I enjoyed both of the main characters and their development throughout the novel, as we discover more about them. I was very much engrossed within this story and am looking forward to picking up the sequel in the future.

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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.

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I am in charge of our Senior School library and am looking for a diverse array of new books to furnish their shelves with and inspire our young people to read a wider and more diverse range of books as they move through the senior school. It is hard sometimes to find books that will grab the attention of young people as their time is short and we are competing against technology and online entertainments.
This was a thought-provoking and well-written read that will appeal to young readers across the board. It had a really strong voice and a compelling narrative that I think would capture their attention and draw them in. It kept me engrossed and I think that it's so important that the books that we purchase for both our young people and our staff are appealing to as broad a range of readers as possible - as well as providing them with something a little 'different' that they might not have come across in school libraries before.
This was a really enjoyable read and I will definitely be purchasing a copy for school so that our young people can enjoy it for themselves. A satisfying and well-crafted read that I keep thinking about long after closing its final page - and that definitely makes it a must-buy for me!

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Historical fiction at its best.

What a treat to delve into a rich and enticing world, beautifully described and skilfully crafted. This historical crime novel is set in 19th century Edinburgh, following mysterious and gruesome deaths occurring in Old Town, and an ensuing investigation from a witty medical student.

Full of gritty action and dark discoveries, with a flutter of romance, this book has a wonderful balance and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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This was a really nice thrill through 1840s Edinburgh, shedding light on some historical facts while driving the plot forward at a swift clip. Characters are well developed, descriptions really bring the story to life and it's a genuinely absorbing take on history with a great sense of humour to go along with it. A pleasure to read!

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The Way of All Flesh is the first in a series of historical crime novels from bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman with ‘Ambrose Parry’ being their pseudonym .

“No decent story ought to begin with a dead prostitute, and for that, apologies, for it is not something upon which respectable persons would desire to dwell.”

What a way to open the book….and this sets the scene for the rest of the book, both in subject as well as the overall tone of the narrative. Set in Edinburgh in the 1840’s, The Way of All Flesh takes its reader to a very different time which is reflected through the language. The authors have done an amazing job with the writing style as, throughout the book, it is clear that it is set in a different century in terms of the way the characters speak as well as the choice of words. I’ll be honest, it did slow my reading down but I’m not used to historical novels as its a genre I enjoy but read infrequently. The slower reading was a good thing as it meant I really got involved in the narrative and felt transported to 19th century Edinburgh.

There are a number of characters throughout this book, some very undesirable ones at that!, but the main characters are Will Raven, medical student and apprentice to the renowned and widely respected Dr Simpson, alongside Sarah Fisher. For me, Sarah was the stand out character as she was ahead of her time and had a drive that many women didn’t have (or allowed to have!) at this point in history. Officially Sarah worked as housemaid for Dr Simpson however she was getting more and more involved in his work and the clinics that he ran.

In the opening of the book, it is Will who finds the dead prostitute, Evie, and is suspicious in the way in which she died from the positioning of her lifeless body. Whilst Will had paid Evie for her services in the past, they had also become friends so Will knew that she had money worries…was it as simple that Evie died in unsuspicious circumstances or was something more sinister afoot? When more women die, Will starts to conduct some investigations of his own.

What I found absolutely fascinating, aside from the story line, was the realities of medicine during this period, particular the extremes that some women had to go through in childbirth. I discovered after reading the book is that it contains real life characters and events (which further adds to the authenticity of the narrative) such as Dr James Simpson, pioneer of chloroform and the invention of anaesthesia and its early use in obstetric procedures.

Whilst this book took me out of my comfort zone of reading, I enjoyed both the writing style and plot, I look forward to finding out what Ambrose Parry has planned for the next book, The Art of Dying, which is due to be published in August 2019.

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I was completely submerged in the world of 19th century Edinburgh,, cutting edge medicine, backstreet butchers & nefarious dark dreads! I loved the stories of Will & Sarah as they search for the truth behind a series of gruesome deaths involving young girls & especially in Sarah, you have a character that is so fascinating as she strives to be more than just a housemaid.
Cannot wait to read more!

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Christopher Brookmyre's new collaboration with Dr Marisa Haetzman which i hope is going to be the start of a long series. It's set in the medical world of 19th century Edinburgh with a young doctor and a medically-minded maid who solve a series of killing. Great immersive read.

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This novel tells the story of Raven and Sarah, an unlikely team who work together in 1840s Edinburgh to solve a series of murders. It's a gripping historical crime novel with a background of medicine and the discovery of anaesthetic.
This novel is the excellent work of 2 authors; Chris Brookmyre crime and sci-fi writer and Marisa Haetzman a consultant anaesthetist, who happen to be husband and wife! Here they have joined forces to write a novel full to the brim with action and excitement and incredible historical accuracy. Sometimes I find, that with two authors the writing can be fairly clunky and the different authors' work is very obvious which makes reading the novel difficult and jarring as the styles change. However, with this novel this was not an issue. The whole novel flows seamlessly. It is impossible to see the seams between what the two authors have written and where they link together.
The setting of the novel is well-crafted, the attention to detail is excellent. It's an atmospheric novel, and this well-created setting/atmosphere of 1840s Edinburgh is crucial in this. The authors perfectly manage the setting, it has depth and dimension and seems to come off the page and totally envelope the reader in the smoke of the city.
This is a very quick read. The plot is so fast-paced. The combination of historical novel and crime novel means the novel is difficult to put down! The plot twists and turns as suspects are met and dismissed, and the action takes the reader and the main characters on a rollercoaster of adventures and emotions as we all try to figure out "who-dunnit"!
I really loved the character in the novel too, Sarah was my particular favourite. I was so frustrated by the lack of options and opportunities available to her and other woman in similar situation in the past, and the way she felt during the novel was so understandable and made her very easy to relate to.
Overall I loved this novel. It's an excellent historical crime novel and the medical background makes it interesting and different from other historical crime novels set in the 1800s. If you like E.S Thomson or Laura Purcell you should check this novel out!!

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