The Anatomist's Apprentice is the first (and debut) book in Tessa Harris's new series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone.
I initially picked up the book based on the description - 18th century, London, England, mystery, early forensic detection, as it seemed to fall into one of my favourite genres - historical mysteries.
Lady Lydia Farrell's brother dies a horrible death in his own bed. Was he the victim of some unknown condition? Or was helped along the way to his Maker - by her husband? She seeks the advice of a well known anatomist - Dr. Silkstone - hoping he can shed light on what really happened to her brother. Silkstone uses his medical skills, but also seems to have a keen eye and ear for ferreting out details about situations and people that may reveal the truth.
The Anatomist's Apprentice is a period piece and as such, it does move at a more leisurely pace in terms of plot, development and language. I sometimes wanted to hurry things along. Harris's historical research was very well done and showed in the details. Where the book fell down for me was the whole romantic entanglement between Silkstone and Lady Lydia. It started to fall into bodice ripper territory for me (a place I try not to go). Once I found out who the publisher was - Kensington Books - it made sense.
Harris does deliver a good twist at the end. She has two further books planned for Silkstone. This will appeal to readers who would enjoy, in the words of the author "...a cracking yarn interwoven with a love story, set against a fascinating historical backdrop."
Read an excerpt of The Anatomist's Apprentice. You can find Harris on Twitter