Read The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris Online


In the first in a stunning new mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective. . .The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man--except his sister, the beautiful LadyIn the first in a stunning new mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective. . .The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man--except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment he agrees to examine Sir Edward's corpse. But it is not only the dead, but also the living, to whom he must apply the keen blade of his intellect. And the deeper the doctor's investigations go, the greater the risk that he will be consigned to the ranks of the corpses he studies. . ....

Title : The Anatomist's Apprentice
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780758266989
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 310 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Anatomist's Apprentice Reviews

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-24 20:03

    Things that drove me crazy about this book:1 - The title. Dr. Silkstone is highly regarded in his field and pretty much does his own thing in this book, with a couple of mentors (who basically are just there as window-dressing), so who is supposed to be the apprentice? 2 - The romance. Wow - this was a tacked on, unnecessary invention (I wonder if the publisher thought it would sell better?). There was nothing like a developing interest - it was way too fast - and it really didn't add anything to Thomas's motivations in delving deeper into the case. Plus, Lydia wasn't very interesting at all.3 - The actual mystery wasn't truly solved using any of the "forensics" of the case. There were other deaths (see #4), but the main one - that of Edward Crick - was solved by observation and knowledge of herbal medicine. Thomas basically stumbled upon this one...4 - Too many superficial characters and too many deaths for no apparent reason. Talk about a convoluted plot - and all connected to Lydia (she's a Venus flytrap - run, Thomas, run!). And most of these characters, living or dead - Edward, Lavington, the maid whose name I have forgotten - are quite superficial, so readers are probably not going to care if they drop dead. All it does is make the story drag on.There were a few things that did interest me, such as Thomas's experiments, but not enough to be interested in a sequel.

  • Laurie Anderson
    2019-02-28 01:01

    Historical fiction authors who don't get their history right and marketing departments that make matters even worse with a dreadful cover make me break out in hives.This series is set during the American Revolution, but in England. This, the first book, is set in 1780, with Henry Laurens (earlier President of the Continental Congress, among other things) imprisoned in the Tower. I picked up the book looking forward to a story set during a time period I know very well, but at a remove from the war experience of Americans.I was disappointed.Anacronisms in detail and language (not to mention that ridiculous cover) make it feel VERY much like it is set in the late 1800s. Reading other reviews that describe it as "Victorian" or "akin to Sherlock Holmes" makes it clear that I am not the only one confused by the muddling of two very different time periods. It's a shame, because I enjoyed the main character (though not his love interest) and the medical descriptions, though I don't trust the research enough to believe that they are true to the limits and practice of medicine in the 1780s.Research standards for historical fiction written for adults are notoriously low, which is how stuff like this gets published. The standards are a bit higher in children's literature (though not high enough, imho). Maybe we need to create a new genre: Historyish Fiction.

  • Tracey
    2019-03-21 23:55

    It's a sad fact that my complainy reviews are often much longer than my happy ones. Perhaps it's easier to see where something goes off the tracks than to see why something stays humming along; that might be part of why there are so few truly great books. Perhaps it's just catharsis to – in the language of this book – perform a thorough post-mortem on a bad book. Or perhaps it's just more fun to eviscerate a truly bad book. Don't know. I'll put some here, and save the rest for my blog; it's less scary, I think, to have a huge page of text in that venue than this. The plot: young Lord Edward Crick dies abruptly and hideously. He was a nasty piece of work, and had been syphilitic for more than half his short life, so most assume that's what did him in – until rumors begin circulating that he was poisoned. There are lots of people who were not sorry to see him die in agonies, but one is a better suspect than the rest: Captain Michael Farrell, Crick's roué brother-in-law. As things begin to look ugly for him, Crick's sister Lydia appeals to a cousin, a medical student in London, and the cousin turns to a young instructor, the transplanted Colonial Thomas Silkstone, renowned for his work as an anatomist. Thomas cannot resist a lady in distress, and brings to bear all his now-primitive then-advanced techniques to try to find the killer. And of course along the way he falls for the lady. This story as a whole reminds me strongly of a combination of Garrow's Law - with the period and the illicit affection between the brilliant young professional and the noble married lady (though Lydia is a completely different species from strong, intelligent Lady Sarah Hill); Murder Rooms - about Dr. Joseph Bell; with a little of Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding series thrown in. I enjoyed the beginning of the book well enough, but … that, unfortunately, sank under the weight of issues with the story-telling. By the halfway point I just wanted to know who was supposed to have killed the jerk and how (which answer, unsurprisingly, was not worth the wait). There were problems with the style that began as minor annoyances and escalated to near painful levels.The writing is very deliberate and occasionally redundant. Harris does not hesitate to use the same word several times in a short stretch. Some characters' every move is described with superfluous detail. It seems to me there are lots of places where a better chosen phrase might have made such blow-by-blow stage directions unnecessary. It seems like a very amateurish mistake, that of a writer bound and determined that her reader know precisely how a scene played out in her head. This is a writer who doesn't trust her readers, I think.In the same vein, there are a number of eye-roll-inspiring Captain Obvious moments:- A character puts a finger to his lips, and the narrator carefully explains that this meant he wants someone to be quiet.- Two men sit at a table glaring at each other after chapters of rapidly developing antagonism, capped by a sentence laying out the fact that the one doesn't like the other.- "Lydia was confused. 'I don't understand,' she said …" Some passages are not for the faint of heart. This might be inevitable given that the main character, Thomas Silkstone, is an anatomist (medical examiner), but squeamish readers ought to be aware that the detail here, as in the stage direction, is extreme. There are flies and maggots, and stinks and gases, and all sorts and kinds of viscera in all sorts of conditions belonging to all conditions of people. (There is never a time when my throat doesn't close a little if maggots are involved.) There are situations in which Silkstone, a consummate professional with solid control of himself, becomes queasy, by which you can imagine the descriptions. Or not. Best not. Simile is almost comically overused. In places the word "like" appeared at least once in every paragraph – there were long stretches where everything was being compared to everything. Part of one paragraph: "Oxford lay beneath them like a gleaming necklace of cream-colored knuckle bones threaded on a tendon of river that ran through a narrow valley below… The young doctor peered out of the window like an eager child …" *sigh* The language used to describe human organs was especially rather ... extraordinary. I don't think I mean in a good way; I'm too puzzled by some of it to really even know. I never thought of the liver as proud, for example, and the extended description of the stomach at one point is just peculiar. A specimen heart is "the bulbous organ", described as this "once garrulous, now silent heart". Garrulous: "excessively talkative, or wordy" – so …huh? It was "like a strange exotic fruit waiting to be cut", and a moment later Thomas poised, "about to enter the red pavilion of the heart". The worst, the very worst, was "the old woman's liver, crouched like some sleeping cat deep in the abdomen". That proud, feline liver. Some similes were used more than once, and while some were clichés (a (still living) heart thumps like a drumbeat), some were weird enough – and repetitious enough – to stand out: - "Once he had finished cutting, he folded the large flap of skin back so that it lay like a square of crimson silk on the dead man's chest" and - "the velvety mucosa lay folded like a bolt of rich, red fabric". And - "The professor listened sagely, like a priest hearing a confession" (particularly odd, since not one of the characters seemed to be Catholic)- "When he performed in front of students in the anatomy theater he was a priest. His chalice was a knife and the actions he executed were rituals; above reproach and incontrovertible. His unquestioning congregation held him in awe." - "As parishioners look to their priest during their act of worship, so did they regard Professor Hans Hascher. He now stood poised before them, no chalice but a knife in hand, like some hierophant about to perform the most invasive of rituals."One elderly character's hair is described as "grizzly". I'm assuming it isn't "grisly". Although … he is an anatomist … hygiene standards were lower … No, the same adjective is later used for someone else's hair. So "grizzly". Like the bears. (Actually, it is technically right: gray or grayish. I would have used "grizzled" (or simply "graying"), though. Because, you know, bears.)Oh my lord, now that I have found a place to check it I have done so. It IS "grisly". Wow.One small but rather serious note: it took me a little while to pay attention to it, but Thomas, from Philadelphia, is often referred to (by the narrator, not by ignorant fellow characters) as "the New Englander". I purposely listened to the beginning again: he is from and of Pennsylvania. New England does not and never has included or referred to Pennsylvania. That hurt a little every time I heard it. Similarly, Captain Michael Farrell is Irish. He is read with an Irish accent, his voice is often described as having a brogue, the adjective most used about him is "Irish". Yet – about as often as "New Englander" is used – his charm is described as "Gallic". The French and the Irish have often had a close working anti-British relationship, but to my knowledge they have never been interchangeable. Unless … there is the smallest possibility that this is how Simon Vance reads "Gaelic" – but he's not stupid. (Nope: I checked. It's "Gallic".)There was a predictability amounting to inevitability to some scenes, and really the story as a whole. In one scene, Thomas noted that someone is sleeping soundly. I immediately reacted with "He's dead." I didn't guess the details, but I was ultimately right. As the case reached a dead end, a little deus (or infantus) ex machina was introduced; as this pushed the investigation in a new direction, it was as though ideas ran out and new corpses began popping up. A cheap trick was played on the reader – I could almost hear the author chortling "Ha! Fooled you!" Yes, you did. It was tacky. Shut up. A cheap trick was also played on a main character – but by that point I didn't feel sorry for him. By that point I thought all the characters were fools, all weak, and I couldn't wait to be shut of the lot of them. Simon Vance is THE only reason I finished listening to this.Yes, of course I need to expound on this. There will be spoilers, I daresay, so if despite all my slander it's still something you might read, skip the blog, fair reader. The first minutes/pages of the book make an oblique claim that Silkstone was real, that modern historians overlook him but that he should get credit for vast swathes of forensic science. I haven't performed an exhaustive search, and won't; this isn't worth my time. But if he was real, he's poorly done by here. If he wasn't real, then the author's pretense that he was means that this book doesn't deserve the one star I have to give it. One last note: when I gave the story one star on Audible, a message popped up expressing sympathy that I didn't like it, and would I like to return it? Would I! And so I did. I like Audible's style.

  • Jane
    2019-03-07 20:01

    What a piece of JUNK. The blurb says the writer has a degree in history from Oxford: I award her an honorary doctorate from the James Fenimore Cooper School of Literary Offense.1. A man from Philadelphia is repeatedly described as "the New Englander."2. An Irishman constantly exhibits "Gallic" charm.3. The murder victim, whose skins turns yellow, is "livid."4. A socially awkward encounter leaves a man "distraught" twice on the same page.And let's not even discuss the anachronisms, or the loud clank made every time the author drops a chunk ofSamuel johnson into her text.Kate Beaton, the wonderful Canadian cartoonist, has a strip in which Tolstoy reads a bad review of War and Peace on Goodreads. The reader has put W&P on his "poop shelf." I am renaming my abandoned shelf right now, on account of this poop of a book.

  • Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
    2019-02-24 21:03

    Author seems addicted to adjectives, and attempts "period dialogue." Reads like a first novel, which I believe it is.If I see a "forsooth" I'm out of here.

  • Kb
    2019-02-23 23:06

    Well, I managed to get through this book by skipping over boring passages where nothing important was happening, so I won't mention a few of the plot points that seemed to come out of nowhere, because I can't guarantee I didn't miss something along the way. However, there were factual errors that irritated me throughout: an English kitchen garden with "cinnamon" as one of the medicinal "herbs" growing in it? A four-days-dead corpse with rigor mortis? A chancre on the penis of a man who had caught syphilis 11 years earlier? These are the careless errors of a writer who takes shortcuts. Another shortcut the author takes is relying on stereotypes (a professor with a bad German accent, a gluttonous judge) to carry the story along instead of creating characters with more realistic qualities. A bit more attention to psychological realism would make the central characters more sympathetic, too. However, if you enjoy old black and white films from the 1930s and 40s, then perhaps this style of storytelling won't bother you as it did me. I'm not even sure how I finished the book. Normally I would have lost interest and given up, but there were so many plot twists to get through before the final answer was revealed that I decided to stick it out until the end. It was a hard slog, though, and for very little reward. I won't be looking for the sequels to this book.

  • Nick Johnson
    2019-02-22 21:40

    Started well but ended up a bit tedious, to be frank. Beach book fare at best. Hidden behind all the quasi period, "Age of Reason" stuff is a pretty standard "Murder on the Orient Express" grade tale of poisoning, bludgeoning and strangling (Oh My!). For a book that teased with science, many of the key "Aha!" moments were left as limp cliffhangers where the protagonist realised something (what? NO idea) and then moved on with a square jaw, a sense of honour and a resolve to do the right thing, by thunder. What exactly he realised was seldom fully resolved but it evidently had a bearing on events later in the story. I got a little ticked off at having to check back and then realize that nothing had been exposed at all, other than the fact that Thomas had worked it out. Good for Thomas! I however hate being made to feel that I hadn't been paying any attention whatsoever, particularly since I had worked out most of the rather obvious leads as they crashed from the over worn shelf of "whodunit" cliches. I would have got a genuine kick out of understanding how Tommy Boy had determined all of the the forensics involved. But don't fear, lest you doubt his scientific chops. Our hero single handedly invented the concept of thin layer chromatography, care of the his pet rat Franklin no less. Please. Not Elizabeth Salander figuring out Fermat's last theorem on her way to her show down with Pops, but you get the picture.As for Lydia, she struck me as the one who should have been locked up. Much like the lady Angela Lansbury portrayed on "Murder She Wrote", dead bodies seemed to trail her around and it would be a good idea not to have her interact with anyone. In the author's defence some reviewers have complained about the use of New Englander to describe a Philly Boy. Wrong today no doubt, but was it so inaccurate back in 1700s England? Oh, and Irishmen are often referred to as having Gallic charm in the UK, so it is a minor point. There now, that's off my chest. Writing this all down made me realise that i really did not like this book much at all. Shan't be bothering with the sequel.

  • wanderer
    2019-03-19 19:58

    Three and a half starsFirstly and most importantly: DO NOT read this over dinner. Also be careful with snacking- no beef jerky, sausages, or liverwurst sandwiches. (As if anyone eats the latter.)Okay, we may proceed.After finishing this book and feeling somewhat at a loss as to how to rate it, I read through a bunch of reviews to see what everyone else was saying. Strangely, I agreed with almost all of them, from one-star to four-star. (I seldom read five-star reviews.)The bad reviews are all correct: tacked-on romance, too much bodice-ripping, contrived plot, stiff dialog in spots, slow plot. It read like a first attempt, and at times I gritted my teeth.In spite of all that, I liked this book a lot. I want to read the sequels. I gave The Hubs an unsolicited and unnecessarily long summary as he was trapped behind the steering wheel.Why did I like it? As a reader who cut my teeth on the classics, slow pace doesn't bother me. I don't know enough about anatomy to get annoyed over the inaccuracies more learned individuals pointed out. And I love the Victorian era, mysteries, and medical descriptions enough to overlook a bit of tacky romance.My favorite character was the second person killed off. Otherwise, besides one family of servants, I found the characters unlikable and/or bland. But that's okay. I seldom like any of the characters in Agatha Christie's books. You don't really want to like them if they might land up dead or as the villain.I love how the writer cleverly concocts her figures of speech for maximum humor and repulsiveness. A city is described as " a series of knucklebones joined by the tendon of river". The anatomist dissects an organ and his knife "slices into it like a ripe peach". The characters seem always to be diving into plates of pink meat at inopportune times. I imagined the author smirking as she wrote, knowing she would turn some stomachs but incite some grins at the same time. I must close. Breakfast time. I smell bacon.

  • D.G.
    2019-03-23 20:02

    Review of audiobook edition, narrated by Simon VanceGosh, what a mess! The Anatomist's Apprentice had a sledgehammer approach to mystery with no subtlety and musical chair murders. There were several bodies and they were all killed by different people as if the first murder inspired everybody to hack each other for no conceivable reason, instead of thinking with their head.Dr. Silkstone loved to wax poetic on internal organs (gross!) and the clues to the mystery just fell on his lap. There was very little investigation whatsoever - he barely looked at the symptoms! I know the author wanted to keep to the science of the time, but it seemed as if nobody had any instinct whatsoever or any logic. Lydia had the Cooch of Doom - all the adult men in the book wanted her and seemed to be willing to do all sorts of crazy shit to have her. I didn't care for her AT ALL - Thomas, I would be wary if I were you.Simon Vance did a good job with the narration but the book didn't live up to this talent.Definitely not continuing the series.

  • Siobhan
    2019-03-12 03:01

    After reading Alex Grecian’s Murder Squad series, I knew I needed more historical crime fiction in my life. I wasn’t all that fussed about the when or the where, but I needed more. Thus finding the first three Dr. Thomas Silkstone books going at an exceptionally cheap price left me buying them instantly. They seemed to fit what I was looking for, and I’m not one to turn down cheap books. I admit, they did sit on my bookshelf for a while, but in the end I couldn’t ignore them any longer.If the truth is to be told, I’m rather disappointed.Upon adding the book to my currently reading shelf, I noticed the average rating. I try not to let such a thing put me off – after all, I have read many books with average ratings around the three stars mark and have enjoyed them. Therefore, I tried not to be influenced by the ratings, instead working through it as I would any other read.I can safely say I understand the low ratings. It is not that the book is really bad; rather it feels as though it was falsely advertised. It is advertised as a mystery, yet it read more as a drama. I wanted the forensics of old, I wanted the police work of all – I wanted all of the good stuff that creates a historical crime fiction. Instead, there is very little by way of mystery with a lot of drama thrown in. When I was reading it as a pure mystery novel, my rating was sitting at a tentative two stars. When I was reading it as a drama, my rating was upped to the three stars I gave it. It really is about how you approach the book.In all honesty, I could say a lot more, but it appears as though a lot of what I want to say has already been said in other reviews. In short, it’s not the mystery I was expecting. Instead, you’re given a historical drama that includes all you would expect – love, hatred, death, and the other everyday aspects of life.An okay read, but not what I was expecting.

  • Romancing the Book
    2019-03-08 02:00

    Reviewed By~MarissaReview Copy Provided By~ARC from PublisherThis is a first book from Tessa Harris and she has done a brilliant job! It is also the first in a mystery series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone. For those of you who like period mysteries featuring forward thinking men, this is the book you need to read. I liken it to the Sarah Woolson Mysteries by Shirley Tallman or the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, both of which feature progressive women sleuths in historical references.Taking place in 1780 England, our hero, Dr. Thomas Silkstone, is a doctor practicing dissection and autopsy to help him understand diseases and the causes of death. When Lady Lydia Farrell approaches him to perform an autopsy on her brother, he immediately falls in awe of her. While this book is strictly a mystery there is an aura of romance about it that begins so subtly it is almost non-existent.One thing I loved about Silkstone is his tendency to think in terms of dissection. For example, when first riding into Oxford, his thought was that it looked “…like a gleaming necklace of cream-colored knuckle bones threaded on a tendon of river…” Contradictorily, he also speaks of the human body and its organs in terms of landscapes: “From the gray, spongy marsh of the inner cerebrum, from the undulating hills of the cerebellum to the boggy lowlands of the hypothalamus, the trails and routes of the brain were chartered territories inasmuch as explorer surgeons had traversed their silent landscapes many times.”Harris’ writing is intelligent and eloquent. She puts together words that do more than bring together a story; they evoke the true speech and culture of 1780. I learned several new words and phrases during my reading and, after using an on-line dictionary for the first few chapters, discovered a glossary in the back of the book to help with the lingo. Cock a snook may not mean quite what you’re thinking while phapian translates to prostitute.The mystery is well-plotted and weaves the story with CSI-like investigations, LA Law-like courtroom dramatics, and a Sherlock Holmes-like integrity in digging for the truth, no matter how the truth wills out. I am highly anticipating the second book in this series and can’t wait to see where it leads Silkstone.

  • Erica
    2019-02-25 23:47

    This amused and entertained me throughout several workdays.Good Ol' King George is on the throne and we get to follow Dr. Thomas Silkstone, Philadelphia transplant, as he traipses about England, doctoring and solving mysteries.The story starts with a murder because what good, old-fashioned mystery doesn't? This particular victim winds up being murdered by pretty much everyone in the book, himself (the dead guy) included. I'm still not actually sure how he died; I think it was an amalgamation of attempts on his life along with some help from STDs. But that doesn't actually matter. What matters is that one death was caused by another death and begets another and then another and yet another and most-lovely but personality-bereft Lydia is at the heart of it all. She's the one whom all the men want. She's got good milkshakes, I suppose. And yet, there's not much to her; she's mostly demure, she is easily distracted, she is somewhat vapid and mostly, she's boring. But she's really good at getting Death to come knockin' at her door!You know, now that I think of it, I didn't like any of the characters in the story. What I liked was the melodrama of it all. It's old-fashioned in that you just nod your head and let all the people do their preposterous things and everything winds up tidily put away in the end. It reminded me a bit of an old Agatha Christie novel (you know, as opposed to those new ones...) but without the cleverness.I think this is what's known as a cozy mystery, though if you're offended by pre-marital sex - and let's face it, Lydia's a wanton hussy, really - or people constantly dying via one violent fashion or another, this may not be the book for you.

  • Carly
    2019-03-01 01:37

    **edited 12/30/13As soon as I saw the ridiculously attractive cover-art and intruiging title, I couldn't wait to tear into the story. To my disappointment, I found I really shouldn't have judged this one by its cover. The story takes place in England in the late Georgian period--about twenty or thirty years before Jane Austen's time. The main character, a surgeon from Philadelphia, is brought into the case of a suspicious death by the beautiful Lady Lydia. Graphic death scenes, a shallow and improbable InstaLove romance, and generalized "historical atmosphere" follow.Call me crazy, but one thing I tend to expect of historical novels is some level of historical accuracy. Harris clearly did some amount of research for this book, but in my opinion, she just didn't do enough. ...Due to my disapproval of GR's new and highly subjective review deletion policy, I am no longer posting full reviews here.The rest of this review can be found on Booklikes.

  • Mary
    2019-02-27 21:39

    Dr. Thomas Silkstone is an accomplished doctor and anatomist, so I listened to the first portion of the book expecting the introduction of the "apprentice." I half-expected Lady Lydia to overcome her squeamishness and delve into the next dead body, but sadly, she remained fragile and doe-eyed throughout the novel. Her vulnerability was, apparently, enough to win over Dr. Silkstone's affections, but there wasn't enough character development to support a meaningful connection between the characters, and the romance seemed flat and unnecessary. I would have preferred more emphasis on the forensic science and on the development of Dr. Silkstone's character. The author has a talent for relating descriptions to anatomy, though, and that made for more than one apt metaphor. (Enough to make me read the sequel? Over my dead body. Ha ha. Only joking...) I might listen to the next in the series - I really liked Simon Vance's narration.

  • Arnaud
    2019-03-22 21:58

    very good plot!

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2019-03-10 21:56

    The title is confusing. Thomas is the main character and he does have a former mentor. He meets another anatomist later, but both of these old men are just there for the sake of the story. Thomas is nobody's apprentice in this book. As I said, confusing title. The death of Lady Lydia's brother, Sir Edward Crick, was the cause of a lot of gossip in Oxfordshire. The only person who loved him was his sister. She asks Dr.Thomas Silkstone to find the real cause of her brother's death.I don't mind broken or not-so-tough female characters, but for almost the third of the book Lady Lydia tested my nerves to no end. I wanted to strangle her. Screaming, clutching her hands to her breasts, widening her eyes, being scared, constantly looking vulnerable (we are not allowed to forget the vulnerable part), and I still couldn't feel anything. Most of Lady Lydia's servants, especially her maid Hannah, are annoying. (view spoiler)[ She spills anything she brings and her testimony during the inquest was really not what you would expect from a faithful servant. I don't mind her telling the truth, but telling it with so much disrespect is what bothers me - young lord was panting like a dog, Lady Lydia's mother is not right in the head, etc. As soon as she saw she has her audience she was all over it. The thing is I can't see a 1700s servant doing something like that. (hide spoiler)] Thomas's housekeeper is a laudanum addict. He has to bribe her to heat water for him to take a bath. Poor man ends up in his laboratory, not in his room. It's eighteenth century. I doubt the servants and housekeepers had that much freedom. These are not really important things which make this story a good one, just something which annoyed me.So, the characters are really annoying (Lydia leads), but the story is pretty good.

  • Nolan Yard
    2019-03-15 23:55

    I'm surprised by people's low-rated reviews, which demean the author's hard work. These reviewers don't consider what it takes to write a novel. It's not easy -- the planning, writing, editing, revision, marketing, publishing. For some the process takes years. Think about it. After all that hard work, the author submits to criticism from everywhere on the internet. You don't see people harshly criticizing your entire work for the year at your 9 to 5. Do your managers/ bosses write scathing reviews of you at year end?One person complained about the protagonist's love interest not being motivation to solve the case. I ask the reader to re-read the last quarter of the book. Another whined at the "tedious" ending. This is a novel. The act of reading one is the practice of cogitation. The ones that aren't "tedious" and don't make you think are not worthy to be a novel. Moreover, this is a mystery. You're pretty much signing up for cerebral exercise and intellectual stimulation. If you want lazy thinking, just watch TV.This is an excellent book, full of well-drawn characters, flawless pacing, sophisticated voice, and themes of dark humanity. It makes you think. It is a novel. And a good one, at that.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-19 02:03

    I wish I had judged this book by its cover and left it at that. The cover was nice, but the mystery wasn't very good. I was expecting a cool historical mystery with interesting forensics happening to solve the crime. I was let down. Some nits to pick:First of all, the title. Who is the anatomist and who the apprentice? Is Thomas the anatomist in the title? Because he seems to be, but then I don't know who his apprentice is supposed to be. If Thomas is the apprentice, who is the anatomist? One of the old anatomists? Because he's fully graduated into his profession. I kept waiting for the apprentice to appear. This did not happen.Insta-romance abounds, starring Lydia. She was at the center of everything, and every man loved her, but we are never shown why she would cause such a reaction. She was boring. Not a good character in any way. The romance was unnecessary and the dialogue was eye-rollingly bad.The ending was just short of ridiculous--completely disappointing and over the top. Not going to read another book in the series. There are so many good historical mysteries out there and this is not one of them.

  • Mary
    2019-02-22 21:53

    By all rights, I should love this book, which is billed as "a historical forensic mystery," but I was distinctly underwhelmed. There were several times when I just thought I was too bored to finish it.The premise is great--set in England, just before that little unpleasant business with the Colonies--a young doctor, an anatomist, comes to England to further his knowledge at Oxford.There's a mysterious death of a young lord, and his beautiful (but married) sister implores Dr. Silkstone to investigate to clear the air that there was anything untoward about her brother's death. Of course there was something amiss, and Dr. Silkstone vows to figure out what happened. There's the predictable red herring of the sister's jerky husband might be responsible, the attraction between Dr. Silkstone and the sister, who's in a bad marriage, plus the servants hated the brother who died, yadda, yadda, yadda.Bad dialog, dull plotting, and characters that I did not give a farthing for pretty much sum up how I feel about this book,and I probably would not bother with another in this series.

  • Anna
    2019-03-19 21:59

    hmm ... the word "stunning" was used in a couple of descriptions of this work; unfortunately, I cannot agree. I do have to agree with many of the other reviews here.I found it very difficult to engage in this story and the characters. There is no character development -- Dr Silkstone and others are dropped in the middle of London and Oxford, but you don't really get a feel for the times or places. You are given a smidgen of factoids about anatomy, the war with the American colonies is mentioned several times at random. Everything and everyone just feels incomplete.I have noticed that there are more books in this series ... maybe some more of Dr Silkstone's backstory will emerge then.Fortunately, there are many other historical mysteries to choose.

  • Sarah Nokleby
    2019-02-26 22:51

    Groan. You can't judge a book by it's cover. There, I will use a trite cliche to describe a book full of recycled, worn-out phrases. The description seemed interesting, but the characters were annoyingly transparent, the love story gaggy and over-written, and the plot passable. I have no idea how much she researched the time period; she is a history graduate. But I never felt like I was learning anything about forensics of the era.Not interested in any sequels to this story.

  • Norav
    2019-03-17 22:58

    Un policier historique qui se laisse lire mais qui ne m'a pas assez enthousiasmé pour que j'envisage pour l'instant de poursuivre la série.Beaucoup de rebondissements. Généralement, c'est très bien dans les policiers mais là, j'ai trouvé qu'il y en avait vraiment beaucoup trop et que du coup, à un certain moment, ça partait dans tous les sens.

  • Dolceluna
    2019-03-10 23:56

    Giallo di stampo classico ambientato nell’Inghilterra di fine Settecento. Epoca della quale ci fa respirare tutte le atmosfere. Ne è protagonista il Dottor Thomas Silkstone, uno dei primi “anatomisti” dell’epoca: il suo lavoro, controverso e dibattuto ai tempi, consiste niente meno che nel sezionare e analizzare i cadaveri, per studiarne le ragioni della morte. Insomma, fa ciò che oggi si chiama “autopsia”, solo che a fine Settecento, agli occhi dell’opinione pubblica, questa pratica, tanto nuova e scioccante, era considerata quasi un tabù. Quando la sorella di un conte si reca da lui per chiedergli di analizzare il cadavere del fratello, morto tra orribili spasmi, Silkstone accetta il compito e si rende presto conto che quello del conte non è stato un incidente come tutti credono…si butterà così a capofitto in un rebus mortale nel quale i cadaveri, ahimè, aumenteranno.Questo di Tessa Harris mi ha ricordato alcuni tra i più semplici gialli del maestro John Dickson Carr, dei cui geniali protagonisti (quali Merrivale) il Dottor Silkstone è però un pallido ricalco. Anche le sfumature amorose della storia tra un protagonista e una una bella donna, sola e indifesa, mi hanno ricordato quelle che si trovano nei romanzi di Carr.E quello che pare un intreccio un po’ (troppo) ingarbugliato, nelle ultime pagine si scioglie in una semplice, geniale e grottesca risoluzione che non mancherà di stupire il lettore.Tuttavia, sul fascino della figura che dà titolo al romanzo, l’autrice avrebbe potuto giocare un po’ di più.Quattro stelle ci stanno tutte.

  • Kayla West
    2019-02-28 21:47

    Sir Edward Crick is loved by few and disliked by most. He has a tendency to drink too much, gamble the same, and care mostly for himself. He is a sickly man...or say they say...and takes ill quite a lot.Gossip meanders about, like a lady of the night, when he dies abruptly and painfully, it seems, in the grand estate he lives. Most suspect his brother-in-law, the man who was known to hate Edward most of all. But, Sir Crick's sister Lydia has much faith that her husband did not, in fact, do this horrible deed. So she searches for someone who can prove to everyone who the culprit truly is.Enter Dr. Thomas SIlkstone, an anatomist from Philadelphia, who is currently studying in England under the tutelage of a renowned and retired surgeon. He is considered an outcast in his surroundings due to the nature of his particular line of work. What does he do, you might ask? Well, he relishes in working with corpses, Relishes might be a strong word. In fact, it is not the state of the body that he relishes (be it alive or dead), it is the fascination with the human body in general.Anyway, Lydia makes her way into Silkstone's path, hoping he can do what others have refused. An autopsy on her brother's dead body. She has been told that the decaying process is too far gone for the cause of death to be determined as anything but natural. However, her heartfelt pleas about proving her husband's innocence in the eyes of the gossipers catches Silkstone's heartstrings, and he agrees to perform the autopsy on the badly decayed corpse.He soon finds that Edward's death was, in fact, murder. But how...and why?Could it have been a crime of passion or could the reasons behind his death be part of a much larger plot?The moment I laid eyes on this book, I knew I just had to read it. It somewhat reminded me of The Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary. Well...the cover at least. The Anatomist's Apprentice is a phenomenal story and will definitely keep you guessing until the very end.

  • Jo(Mixed Book Bag)
    2019-02-24 00:54

    Historical MysteryThe death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip throughout Oxfordshire. No one mourns the dissolute young man--except his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, Lydia seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.The premise sounds simple but the book is not. In 1780’s England anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone is treading a new path in forensic pathology. He must use existing methods but also explore additional methods for finding the cause of Sir Edward Crick’s murder.If you want a quick run to a solution this book is not for you. Each discovery leads to a new conclusion and that conclusion does not always hold up. Dr. Silkstone travels between Warwick Axxizes and London several times in the course of the story. Weeks and months go by while he tries to determine the cause of Sir Edward’s death. During that time a whole cast of characters play across the pages. The plot twists and turns leading up to a surprising conclusion. Tessa Harris did a great deal of historical research. That research plays a big part in setting the stage for this book and future books in the series. Reading The Anatomist’s Apprentice is part history, part mystery and even part romance. A Glossary in the back of the book adds information on the historical facts contained in each chapter. The Anatomist’s Apprentice is a great start to a new historical mystery series. I will be looking for the next books to be published.Kensington Mysteries published The Anatomists Apprentice by Tessa Harris in 2012.

  • Amy
    2019-03-14 21:44

    I had a difficult time choosing how many stars to rate this book. I listened to the audio version and the reader, Simon Vance, was absolutely fantastic. I especially enjoyed his interpretation of Sir Theodisius! After I realized I shouldn't eat while reading the book, I enjoyed the medical/scientific passages greatly. I quickly found my favorite characters and the characters that I hated (because they were meant to be, of course).However, I had several problems with this book. The first being - who the hell is the anatomist's apprentice? Was the author referring to Dr. Thomas Silkstone? Partway through the book I realized that the title didn't seem to make sense.One major problem was the romance. Although I know that many marriages during that time period were arranged in some fashion or another, we are lead to believe that one character falls in love with another...but I felt absolutely no connection between the two characters! Because it later becomes somewhat of a major plot point, I believe that should have been developed further, especially from the female's perspective. We are given no hint during the first couple of meetings that she has feelings for him. Ugh!The ending was a bit melodramatic for my taste. Yes, it is a murder mystery, but the last few chapters got a bit ridiculous. I really don't know if I will read Tessa Harris's next book, but since this was her first, maybe I'll give book number two a try whenever it is published.Overall, if you like period pieces with romance and don't shy away from descriptions of dissection, give it a try.

  • Natasha M.
    2019-03-05 00:43

    Towards the end I couldn't stop thinking how this must be the equivalent of the penny-dreadfuls of yore. There were simply far too many small details that bothered me to the point of distraction. Why wasn't the daughter of an Earl EVER IN MOURNING DRESS (not to mention respecting mourning periods)? I'm no expert on this particular time period but I couldn't help but feel that their attitudes towards the "colonialist" in their midst (what with the American Revolutionary War going on and all) was a little blase, not to mention the fact that I felt the Earl and his family (Earls only below Dukes and Marquess in terms of ranking) were very familiar with servants and others of low birth--one just wouldn't mix. England ought to be hyperventilating over the colonial war for multiple reasons as it leads (in its own way) to the French revolution and the last thing the nobility wants is the people revolting and there should've been far more characters swinging at Tyburn. Don't get me started on her Irish husband.The mystery, if we can call it such, did a little bit of twisting but in the predictable way that made it less interesting and instead left me sighing, rolling my eyes and wishing the author would get on with it so I could finish the book, put it down and never pick it up again.

  • Theobald Mary
    2019-03-11 03:48

    I took this book to Curacao with me to read on the beach because of all books, I enjoy historical mysteries best. And as a historian, I appreciate it when the author does the research to accurately set the scene, something Tessa Harris accomplishes very well. The story takes place at the time of the American Revolution, but it is set in London and Oxford where an American-born anatomist has come to study this new science with the foremost English expert. Dr. Thomas Silkstone is asked to examine a body and determine how the man died. Unfortunately, the body is two weeks old and the description of the examination is not for the squeamish. People suspect the young nobleman has been murdered, but how and by whom? Or did he die of syphilis? And what about the little 12-year-old servant girl who drowned in the lake on the earl's estate as few weeks earlier? As Dr. Silkstone studies various poisons, he learns that many people had reason to murder the dissolute young earl, especially those who are in line to inherit the title. Thomas's growing love for the late earl's beautiful sister further motivates him to solve the crime. But as he comes closer to the answer, several more deaths occur and his own life is threatened.

  • Dawn
    2019-03-23 23:54

    I didn't finish this book so I will not presume to write about the story, setting or characters in any depth. I will only mention my reasons for not completing it. I completed the first 7 chapters and then skipped ahead to for the last five to find out what happened. I had great hopes for the story but right from the start I was unimpressed. The writing was poor and the medical knowledge was lacking. I am by no means an expert in the medical field but even I know that rigor mortis does not last 4 days. I could have survived both those issues until the Lady Lydia Farrell shows up and Dr. Silkstone turns into a complete idiot over her delicate nature. It was at this point that it started to read like a historical romance and not a medical mystery but it didn't succeed at either, so I quit.

  • Faith
    2019-03-20 21:58

    I abandoned this audio book at the 59% point. The upside of listening to the audio version of this book is that I didn't have to strain my eyes reading this. The major downside was that I couldn't skim over the worst parts, like the insta-love. The anatomist, Dr. Thomas Silkstone, seemed turned on by how weak and needy his love interest was. It sort of made me sick. It didn't help that the male narrator gave her a simpering voice. I don't even know who the "apprentice" was supposed to be in this book. Silkstone worked on his own and was already capable (when he wasn't mooning over his married love interest) and renowned. I don't care who, if anyone, murdered the dead guy. Life is too short to read this.