Grisly #Crimefiction In Edinburgh. Sherry reviews The Book Of Skulls by David Hutchison, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sherry. She blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sherry has been reading The Book Of Skulls by David Hutchison

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Let me start by saying how much I love Edinburgh and historical novels so this was right up my alley. I think I was already half-inclined to love it just from the cover and the setting. The author did the rest. His writing is visual and visceral. Some parts were a bit gruesome but the story called for it, in my opinion. This was not a lovely picnic on Arthur’s Seat on an early fall day. This was a murder mystery with a number of grisly murders….all in the name of science. A touch of Burke and Hare and their life of crime/murder adds to the historical feel of the book.

The protagonist, Liz, is a medical student who happens to be female. An uphill battle in the 19th Century for sure. She makes friends with another female student as they fight for their rightful place in the school. She also makes friends with a young man and the local police medical examiner. She’s accepted as an assistant with the coroner and gets some valuable experience in actual medical science, albeit on dead bodies, not living patients. But then she is also asked to assist in a local clinic and learns valuable skills. She seems to be on her way to being successful as a doctoress even though the powers that be at the school want the females out.

The story has many twists and turns and a number of exciting sequences where the reader fears for the protagonist and her friends’ safety. It was a ride for sure. The author is excellent at building suspense and even though I figured out the villain early, the book was still a page turner and very enjoyable. The side plot with the medical examiner is a great addition to the tale.

Overall, this was a delightful read…even with the violence and macabre parts. I give it 4.5 stars.

It seems there will be more adventures with this protagonist and I, for one, plan to be on the lookout for the next volume.

Desc 1

A Victorian tale of gender-bending, hidden identity, obsession and gruesome murder, set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

1875. Liz Moliette; a poor orphan of unknown heritage, and Amulya Patel; from a wealthy Indian family, are the only female students at the Edinburgh Medical School, where a hostile attitude towards women is driven by Professor Atticus. However Liz and Amulya have allies in fellow student Campbell Preeble, The Reekie reporter Hector Findlay and the charming Dr Paul Love.
In dire need of funds, Liz becomes assistant to gruff lecturer and police surgeon Dr Florian Blyth. When a series of grisly murders take place the doctor and Liz help Inspector Macleod in his investigation, which leads to the Edinburgh Asylum, the Burry Man festival and the quack science of phrenology.
The search for the killer comes dangerously close to Liz as she uncovers her own family secrets.

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PERFECT REMAINS by @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK #CrimeFic #Thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Perfect Remains (D.I. Callanach, #1)Perfect Remains by Helen Sarah Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Perfect Remains is book #1 of the DI Callanach police crime thriller series, set in Edinburgh. I discovered this book and author after reading an article in The Basingstoke Gazette, one of my local papers.

The story opens with a gruesome sacrifice of a woman’s body in a bothy up in the Cairngorm Mountains. Local police believe the body might be that of Elaine Buxton, a missing city lawyer. Detective Inspector Luc Callanach is a recent transfer to Scotland’s Police from Interpol. His arrival has met with some hostility amongst the ranks.

A second woman’s body is found; again, that of a professional woman. Once again, the killer leaves an almost unidentifiable body. With few clues, Callanach is forced to accept help from Professor Harris, a character profiler. However, Callanach feels that Harris distracts the team from the real hunt for the killer.

The murderer leaves only clues he wants the police to follow, but his treatment of the victims becomes erratic as the net closes in.

The storyline flowed well, with plenty of red herrings and plot twists, and a hint of potential romance. DI Callanach was a clichéd flawed detective with baggage to deal with, and the Scottish setting for police crime dramas is a bit hackneyed; however, the book did have me reading long into the night. Callanach’s background is dripfed to the reader, which I liked, and it brought up a few welcome surprises. I enjoyed DI Ava Turner’s character, too; her straight-talking dialogue was fun and refreshing.

I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys police crime books, or those who like a Scottish setting for a book and are happy to read about gruesome murders! I must just add that, unlike most police procedurals, in this story the reader discovers early on who the killer is, and the storyline centres around how the police finally get their man – I know for some people the ‘whodunnit’ aspect is all important, so I think this needs mentioning.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.
Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

About the author

Helen S Fields

Helen Fields lives in North Waltham, Hampshire. Helen has been a barrister and drew on her experience when writing. Perfect remains is the first book in this three book detective series, with book two due out in the summer of 2017. Helen has revealed that the TV rights for this series have already been sold to a big TV company.

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