Cover Image: A Corruption of Blood

A Corruption of Blood

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Member Reviews

A man murdered, his son accused. Gruesome package's getting washed up from the canals. Babies missing. Hidden pasts. Unrequited love. Yep all that must mean Will Raven and Sarah Fisher are back! And again circumstance and poor decisions (that Will is an eejit) have conspired to keep them apart romantically but throws them together to investigate the latest mysteries in Edinburgh.

I do love these books. I tend to prefer earlier historical fiction but these have really grabbed my imagination. This one has some uncomfortable themes but they're sensitively dealt with. Sarah and Wills will they won't they continues, mainly thanks to Will been a bit of a moron in matters of the heart! Occasionally it felt there was a bit too much about that rather than the main plot but not enough for me to even consider deducting any stars. A great series, will definitely be reading any further installments.
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In this third novel of a series, Dr Will Raven and Sarah Fisher use their unique combination of skills to investigate a nasty set of events in Victorian Edinburgh. This is an immersive mystery set in the world of medicine in the city; the setting is vividly conjured up and the characterisation is beautifully done. One for lovers of intricate plots, visceral reads and the intertwining of love and crime.
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This series is definitely going from strength to strength for me.  I enjoyed the first one but found it a bit writing by numbers- ie Tick box for all the elements of historical crime - but it is only as the series progresses that the characters have really shone out of the page and made this book in particular so enjoyable.  It is a gruesome tale of dark times in Edinburgh but really well told. Lots of red herrings, a good, original storyline and a great climax with unforeseen events and outcomes. Great stuff.
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Excellent thriller in this continuing series following the exploits of Dr Raven in Victorian Edinburgh. Baby-farmers, illegitmate children, a son scorned and the rigours of familial inheritance are all explored as Will Raven and Sarah Fisher must unravel the secrets behind a rich and powerful mans murder. As well as work out their own relationship. Well paced and driven, this is a great addition to this series.
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A return to nineteenth century Edinburgh with Will and Sarah, protegees of the famous Professor Simpson, pioneer of Chloroform anaesthesia.  On his way back from a difficult childbirth Will comes across a package which contains a murdered infant.  A local aristocrat is murdered, seemingly by arsenic poisoning and his son is arrested.     Will and Sarah are asked to investigate by Will's fiance, who was a childhood friend of the arrested son.  Its a gripping Whodunit and continues the will they wont they story of Will and Sarah's relationship.   Terrific.
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Another fantastic book in the series! The story delves into one of the the heartbreaking social ills of the time, unfolding against a vividly depicted Victorian Edinburgh. As with the previous books, the advances in medicine made in the time are brought to life, along with the struggles women faced.
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This is the third book in the series of historical mysteries that have a solid grounding in factual evidence. It was a pleasant surprise to find this book was not used like its predecessors as a soapbox for arguing for socio-economic reform. There are elements of this within the story but they do not dominate and as such the plot is much stronger. This is a tale with lots of twists and turns and misdirection that holds together reasonably well. Like the earlier books, it is episodic and has different points of view as well as jumps backward and forwards in time. As such, it is not a gripping read, In addition, there is not a clear goal to the plot, so the story evolves and ambles forward only gaining a clear focus and purpose towards the end.

Characterisation remains quite strong. Reflection is used as a mechanism to fill in detail as well as put points of view across. This is taken into consideration in the plot, as the characters are often called to task for their woolgathering. 

The denouement is handled well and all the threads are neatly tied, but it feels quite contrived because emotions that were so high for so long are just finessed away.

This is definitely the best of the stories so far and quite an enjoyable read.
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Ambrose Parry is the pseudonym used by husband and wife writing team Dr Marisa Haetzman and Chris Brookmyre. As a pseudonym goes, it is a pretty good one, especially for historical novels, as it has a rather convincing resonance to it. Writing partnerships are more common than you might think, and in some cases it remains a mystery as to who contributes what. Not so, possibly, in this case, as Dr Haetzman was a consultant anaesthetist at Wishaw General Hospital in Scotland, and the central characters in this novel are a young doctor in early Victorian Edinburgh – Will Raven – and his mentor, the real life James Young Simpson, a pioneer in the use of anaesthesia (chloroform in the early days) in surgical procedures.

This is the third novel in the series so, as ever, there is a back-story, part of which you can find in my review of the previous book The Art of Dying. Raven’s love interest in that book is a young woman called Sarah who was a domestic servant in the Simpson household. She had a brief flirtation with Raven, but then married another Edinburgh doctor. He died, but left Sarah a considerable fortune, which is helping her pursue her ambition to become a doctor. When this book begins, she has left Edinburgh on her version of The Grand Tour, during which she hopes to meet the first woman to be officially recognised as a professional physician, the American Dr Blackwell.

Meanwhile, Raven has met – and fallen in love with – Eugenie Todd, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of another Edinburgh doctor, and has also become involved in a murder mystery. Sir Ainsley Douglas, a powerful and influential man of means has been found dead, and the post mortem reveals traces of arsenic in his stomach. His wastrel son Gideon is arrested on suspicion of poisoning his father, with whom he has had a fairly unpleasant falling-out. Raven is an old acquaintance – but far from a friend – of Gideon. The two knew each other from university and Raven has a very low opinion of his former fellow student, and is very surprised when he is summoned to Gideon’s prison cell and asked if he will investigate Sir Ainsley’s death.

Sarah returns from her trip to the continent, but she is chastened by her meeting with Dr Blackwell, who suggested that she simply did not have the depth of education required to become a physician. Uneasy and uncertain at the news of Raven’s new romantic venture, she distracts herself from this unwelcome news by investigating an illegal trade which involves the selling of unwanted babies.

As Raven attempts to piece together the events of the last evening of Sir Ainsley’s life, the arsenic poisoning looks increasingly unlikely since – if it had been administered by Gideon – a former medical student would know that the poison is easily traced in the body. Raven has more personal matters on his mind, too, as he suspects that Eugenie and her father are keeping something from him about the young woman’s past.

There are some grisly scenes in the novel involving both the living and the dead, but the story is suitably – and fiendishly – complex. Readers will have to wait until the very last few pages for all to be revealed and, for what it’s worth, I didn’t foresee how the plot eventually worked itself out. There are no prizes on offer for guessing which parts of the narrative are written by Dr Haetzman, but these authentic descriptions of surgical procedures and spotlights on the history of medicine blend seamlessly with the crime fiction plot to make for a riveting and convincing murder mystery. A Corruption of Blood is published by Canongate Books and is available now.
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The Raven, Fisher, and Simpson novels are a brilliant take on crime stories where our detectives are in fact a doctor and a (former) housemaid. Raven is, frankly put, a dick but I like that he is believable as a Victorian man. Fisher has so much spunk and tenacity and I am always excited to see where her story will go next. 

A Corruption of Blood feels quite different to the previous two novels as the crimes feel as though they are somewhat happening in the background to the events that have been going on in Raven and Fisher's personal lives. This book leans more towards the genre of historical fiction than mystery / thriller / crime. It is still an enjoyable story however it is not quite what I expected it to be.

As with the other books in this series, it is abundantly clear that one of the co-authors is a doctor as the medical information feels thoroughly thought through and is presented in a manner that is accessible to all readers 

I hope that we will be seeing more from these characters in the future as it still feels as though there is a lot of there stories to be told.
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Really enjoying this series it just gets better. 
The relationship between the characters is great especially for the time it is set and also a lady Persuing her dream even though society might not allow it. 
I also love the investigation and where the evidence might take them.
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Third book in the Doctor Will Raven series where helps Sarah (once a maid with a thirst for medial knowledge but now a woman of means) uncover a despicable trade in babies. Will becomes engaged to Eugenie, a seemingly innocent young woman from a good family. But what is the mystery that surrounds her and her childhood friend Gideon? Gideon has turned to Will for help to clear him of his fathers murder. The two strands of the story are deftly drawn together. Plenty of twists and a fast paced read set in Victorian Edinburgh.
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My thanks to Canongate Books for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘A Corruption of Blood’ by Ambrose Parry in exchange for an honest review. As I began reading after the publication date, I bought its audiobook edition for an immersive experience. 

This is the third in the excellent Raven, Fisher and Simpson series of historical medical crime thrillers set in Edinburgh during the mid-19th Century. 

Ambrose Parry is the pen name of novelist Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman, who brings her medical expertise to the novels.

I am naturally cautious about spoilers for events in the previous novels for those who might not have read them, so will only give a brief outline. 

It is now 1850 and Dr Will Raven finds himself disturbed by the contents of a package that has washed up at the Port of Leith. He is also drawn into an investigation linked to a suspicious death that involves both extremes of Edinburgh’s social divide.

Meanwhile, Sarah Fisher continues to pursue her dream of practicing medicine. Hearing that Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree, is in Paris Sarah is determined to seek her out. 

This was a superb novel that was well plotted in terms of the mysteries and evoked its atmospheric setting to perfection. It also integrated social and political issues of the day. 

While Raven and Fisher are fictional characters, Dr. Simpson and others are historical figures. The authors include a Historical Note in which they detail which parts of the story really happened and which were the products of their combined imaginations. 

As with the previous novels in the series, ‘A Corruption of Blood’ was an unequivocal 5-star read for me. 

Highly recommended.
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My first book by this author. 
I am a huge fan of historical crime and I give bonus points when there is historical accuracy and some research into the subject matter as well. 
There are strong female characters and a feminist undertone to the story. The middle lagged a little but the climax at the end and the big reveal was unexpected. 
A good read. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a free copy.
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Once more Will and Sarah are investigating together. To begin with it appears as if they're investigating two seperate cases but could there be a connection between the death of an influential man and a missing baby. Can they figure out this twisted mystery?

Always great to be back in the world of Will Raven. There is something about him that just has me wanting him to succeed no matter what. Plus i love the connection between him and Sarah. She is also an amazing character. I still want them to get their happy after but I love that he wasn't willing to keep her from her dreams, he supports them which is so refreshing. The mystery itself was well written and cleverly put together. I had figured out some bits but not all and i really enjoyed how it came to together. The ending was so well done for this especially how Gideon's story ended. I hope theres more adventures to follow. A brilliant mystery.
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A Corruption of Blood is the third chapter in this wonderful historical medical mystery series set in Victorian Edinburgh. Although each book is a complete story, the larger and ongoing character arc of Raven and Fisher builds up with each book. I think they should be read in order for the characters and their behaviours to make sense. This was one of the darker ones of the three. Many real historical characters appear on the pages along with Raven and Fisher.

The story picks up a few months after the end of the previous book, Sarah is in Paris to meet Elizabeth Blackwell, famous as the first woman to get a medical degree, in the hope of studying further herself, while Raven is still working as associate assistant to Professor Simpson's and living in his house. Sarah returns home disappointed and then learns that Raven is engaged to Eugenie, daughter of an eminent doctor. We see Raven and Sarah get into different complicated situations which require further investigation. Sarah needs to hide her feelings when they are thrown together in apparently two different investigations - the poisoning of a wealthy person apparently by his son and the discovery of a dead baby wrapped up in a parcel by the Water of Leith. What follows is an investigation through Victorian Edinburgh with its sights and smells. We learn about the dark side of life for women in the Victorian era and the choices or lack thereof forced on them.

While the mysteries are solid, the other compelling reason to read these books is the developing relationship between Will and Sarah. Their character arc builds throughout the three books and it will be interesting to see how their relationship moves forward from this point onwards.
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This is the third book in the Raven Fisher Simpson series but the first that I have read. There are some references to things that must have happened in the first two books but this reads perfectly well as a stand alone.
Not an easy subject to read (or write I daresay) but completely compelling so it is well worth it. Set in Victorian Edinburgh, the writing conveys the grimness of the underbelly of society as well as showing how the other half live. 
Dr Raven is called upon to prove the innocence of the son of a very wealthy man who is accused of killing his father and along the way makes the connection with the baby that was washed up in Leith with tape around it's neck.
Highly recommend and I will be looking out for the first two books.
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I was sent a copy of A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry to read and
review by NetGalley.  This is another engaging Victorian yarn by the writing duo known as Ambrose Parry.  I always find it to be a welcome reunion to read about Will Raven and Sarah Fisher, with the consistency of the writing and the prior knowledge of the characters personalities and relationships.  While this series of novels are not necessarily rip-roaring page turners, page turners they still are – with a complete sense of time and place and an almost quiet sense of urgency about them.  I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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A third outing for Will Raven and Sarah Fisher, and once again I'm loving Ambrose Parry's characters and the story they're living.

Raven and Sarah's mystery to solve this time includes baby farming, the death of a rich yet cruel man, and a plea for innocence. Alongside this, Raven is pursuing a new love interest, and Sarah is trying to establish medical educational opportunities for herself in a world where female doctors do not exist.

I love the medical bits, the grisly bits, and the sense of history - the context provided at the end of the story fleshes out the historical detail even more. Touching and tangible, this is a great read.
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‘A Corruption of Blood’ is a beautifully written historical mystery, set in Victorian Edinburgh. Dr Will Raven is drawn into a disturbing case when a package is found floating in the Leith docks. Although used to some gruesome sights in his work, this plays on his mind, and he feels compelled to investigate. His skills are further required when an old student adversary faces the hangman. Will he step in and try to find out the truth? Meanwhile Sarah holds onto her desire to study medicine and travels abroad to meet the first woman to obtain a degree in the subject. Will this persuade her she is on the right path? Or should she listen to those who try to put her off following her dreams?

I loved how history and fiction were intertwined, using recognisable parts of Edinburgh and some real life characters to tell an excellent multi-layered story. And we got to find out about the lives of those at the top of Edinburgh society, as well as those struggling to survive in a harsh and unforgiving city. There were secrets and lies so shocking that some were prepared to kill to keep them hidden. I was gripped from the start and felt compelled to keep reading, as bit-by-bit the story unfolded.  I can’t wait to read more in this series. Highly recommended.

I was given this ARC to review.
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Third in the excellent series following the trials and tribulations of Dr Will Raven and his “associate” Sarah Fisher as once again they are drawn into investigating the nefarious activities of Edinburgh’s underworld. Poisonings, baby-farmers and primogeniture all feature along with the ongoing “relationship” or lack thereof between Raven and Fisher. A great read that doesn’t rely upon having read the first two but why miss out on such a good series?
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