Monday, October 18, 2021

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry

 
First Line: A book is already written before the reader casts an eye upon the page.
 
Circumstances are certainly keeping Dr. Will Raven off-balance. Few things ever upset him, but even he is shocked at the contents of a package that washes up at the Port of Leith, and he still can't understand why a man he's long detested is suddenly pleading for his help to escape the hangman.
 
Back at the home of Dr. James Simpson, Sarah Fisher has her heart set on learning to practice medicine even though almost everyone tells her not to. When she learns that a woman has recently earned a medical degree despite her gender, Sarah travels across the Channel to speak with her.
 
Sarah returns in a strange mood, but Will needs her help. His efforts to prove the man's innocence are failing. Between the two of them, they travel the great social divide of Edinburgh to discover the truth.
 
~
 
Once upon a time, I used to be a reader who had to read any series books in order. No exceptions. In the past few years, I've moved past that, willing to jump in with the newest book and then go back to the beginning if I enjoyed what I read. I've been lucky doing that, seldom choosing a series that didn't tell enough of the backstory to start me off on the right foot. Well... A Corruption of Blood, the third book in the Raven & Fisher historical series set in 1850s Edinburgh, Scotland, was not a good choice to jump into this new-to-me series. I spent almost the first half of the book feeling like an outsider and struggling to get the cast of characters straight as well as all their relationships to each other.

The mystery in this book isn't all that mysterious, although something a bad guy says did make my jaw drop. There were also a few too many romantic entanglements to suit me, although they never did cross my imaginary line in the sand.

What I did enjoy about this book is its depiction of the practice of medicine at that time, its mix of barbarism and advancement, as well as the almost insurmountable divide between the rich and the poor. And-- fancy that-- some of the same problems faced then are the exact same ones we face today. The more things change...

Now that I have my bearings in this Raven & Fisher series, am I going to continue reading? Even though I did like the story on the whole and I did appreciate the historical setting, I think one visit with Will Raven and Sarah Fisher is enough for me. Your mileage may certainly vary.

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
eISBN: 9781786899873
Canongate Books © 2021
eBook, 416 pages
 
Historical Mystery, #3 Raven & Fisher mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Net Galley

12 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one more, Cathy. It sounds like an interesting setup for a mystery, and I do like historical crime fiction. Hmm... I'm a lot like you when it comes to having a history of wanting to start a series at the beginning. Perhaps at some point I'll try the first one in this series, but for now, my TBR is big enough, thanks *sigh.*

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    1. We all have to draw the line somewhere, unfortunately. We can't read 'em all.

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  2. I like vintage murder mysteries somehow very enticing for me. Thanks for this review. Adding it to my TBR

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  3. I often take the same approach of jumping in with the latest one before reading the earlier books in order. That usually works for me, too, but it's a pretty fine line for authors to walk, I think. They risk boring regular readers by repeating too much backstory or completely mystifying new readers by not providing enough. Sounds like this one did the latter.

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    1. Yes, it did. You're right about the fine line authors have to walk. One of the many things that make me glad I'm a reader and not a writer!

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  4. I"ll give it a miss. Too much to read. And you read it so I don't have to.

    Saw a fun PP with Lisa Unger and Karin Slaughters. I don't read these writers, but I enjoyed the discussion.

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    1. That's one of the great things about these author events, live or virtual. I've enjoyed quite a few when I don't particularly enjoy the authors' books.

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  5. There was a lot of laughter.

    Also, I'm looking at the PP's instagram page where there are pictures and videos of Barbara's new cavapoo puppies. The older dog is puzzled by them.

    My favorite is still Denise Mina's interview, where she told of the craziness of Scottish nobles vying for leadership.

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    1. I've been enjoying those puppy videos, too.

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  6. I started the first one in this series a couple of years ago, but didn't finish it. Don't remember exactly why, but although I had looked forward to it, it didn't work for me at that time.

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    1. And this one didn't entirely work for me either. We must've picked up the same vibes.

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