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The Anatomist's Apprentice: A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery

Tessa Harris

ISBN 9780758278029
Publish Date 12/27/2011
Format ePub
Categories Kensington Ebooks, Mystery
List Price: $7.99

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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 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…

Advance praise for Tessa Harris and The Anatomist’s Apprentice

'"Tessa Harris has delivered a deftly plotted debut. Just when you think the puzzle is solved, she reveals yet another surprising twist which leaves you marveling at her ingenuity." --Carol Carr, author of India Black

"CSI meets The Age of Reason with a well-drawn, intriguing cast of characters, headed by the brilliant Dr. Thomas Silkstone. Full of twists and turns, Tessa Harris's debut mystery can confound the most adept reader. Vivid details pulled me right into the world of early forensic sleuthing. A page turner!" --Karen Harper

“Tessa Harris takes us on a fascinating journey into the shadowy world of anatomist Thomas Silkstone, a place where death holds no mystery and all things are revealed.” –Victoria Thompson, author of Murder on Sisters’ Row

"From dissection table to drawing room, this visit to late eighteenth-century England is chock full of intriguing twists and turns. Along with the visiting surgeon from the colonies, Dr. Thomas Silkstone, readers will find themselves challenged by the who, the how, and the why of murder at an idyllic Oxfordshire manor house." --Kate Emerson

About Tessa Harris:

Since leaving Oxford University with a History degree, Tessa Harris has been a journalist and editor, contributing to many national publications such as The Times and The Telegraph. She has also acted as a literary publicist for several well-known authors. Winning a European-wide screenplay writing competition led to the optioning of a screenplay, set in 18th-century England. Using her researches into the period, she wrote The Anatomist’s Apprentice.

Maureen McLean Photography

Shadow of the Raven Q&A

At the end of The Lazarus Curse you left your readers hanging on a cliff. Is that situation resolved in Shadow of the Raven?

Yes. In fact a few readers asked me to tell them what happens next! Obviously I’m not going to let on, save to say that while the course of true love does not run smoothly in Shadow of the Raven, it comes a little closer to a resolution.

Romantic Times said: “The twists and turns never stop, making Shadow of the Raven impossible to put down”. How do you keep your plots boiling?

There’s some careful planning, but there’s also an element of chance, too. A word, a phrase or a situation may trigger something completely different in my mind. The plot has sometimes turned on a sixpence and gone off in another direction. I very often start off with a murderer, only to change the identity of the culprit at the end. It certainly makes the writing process exciting for me and, I hope, it keeps the reader guessing all the time, too.

Each novel seems to have a different theme or backdrop. What is it in Shadow of the Raven?

The latter half of the 18th century was a time of incredible social upheaval in the countryside. In England it also saw the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. The villagers and commoners on the Boughton estate face eviction in this novel, as well as having to deal with the fall-out from at least one murder deep in the woods, as well as being rocked by some shattering news.

Your research appears very detailed. How do you go about it?

Most authors of historical novels will tell you that the research is absolutely the best bit! For ‘Shadow’ I visited some wonderful open air museums that focused on rural crafts and traditions. I talked to people who practice the ancient crafts of coppicing and charcoal making, too. I also went on a tour of mills in the Cotswolds, as well as trawling through lots of old documents. Fascinating stuff!

What’s next for Dr Silkstone?

I’m currently working on the sixth novel in this series. The past comes back to haunt Thomas and Lydia in this one. Fans of The Anatomist’s Apprentice will recognize some of the characters and it’s going to get very nasty!


Average Customer Review

Based on 5 reviews


Customer Review

A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery! (Monday, February 20, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

The Anatomist’s Apprentice is the first installment in what promises to be an exciting new mystery series from debut English author Tessa Harris. In the Anatomist’s Apprentice Ms. Harris introduces us to her main character, Dr. Thomas Silkstone. Dr. Silkstone is a young American doctor of Anatomy originally from Philadelphia who travels to 18th Century London to garner additional training from the world famous surgeon who holds court in England’s most prestigious teaching college. Through a twisted turn of events, Dr. Silkstone finds himself embroiled in determining the cause of what appears a questionable death of a member of the aristocracy. In a race against time, Thomas’s analytical mind and hunger for the truth drives him on an exciting journey to unearth the clues that will lead him in identifying the true cause of death. Dr. Silverstone’s unyielding search, which contains both a personal as well as a professional reasoning to determine whether natural causes or foul play is at hand, finds himself drawn to look for answers outside of what the body is telling him. Thomas’s unrelenting inquiries find him the target of someone who means to put an end to his investigative pursuits at any cost. Dr. Silverstone’s actions considered beyond the traditional scope of his duties as an anatomist provide us with an early glimpse of the field that will soon evolve into modern day Forensic Science Investigation. A fast-paced story with many twists and turns that will keep you enthralled until the final pages. The accolades for this book speak the truth; you will not be able to put this book down. As we find ourselves captivated by Ms. Harris’ first installment, one can only wait impatiently for the next chapters in the investigative adventures of Dr. Thomas Silkstone!

A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery! (Monday, February 20, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

The Anatomist’s Apprentice is the first installment in what promises to be an exciting new mystery series from debut English author Tessa Harris. In the Anatomist’s Apprentice Ms. Harris introduces us to her main character, Dr. Thomas Silkstone. Dr. Silkstone is a young American doctor of Anatomy originally from Philadelphia who travels to 18th Century London to garner additional training from the world famous surgeon who holds court in England’s most prestigious teaching college. Through a twisted turn of events, Dr. Silkstone finds himself embroiled in determining the cause of what appears a questionable death of a member of the aristocracy. In a race against time, Thomas’s analytical mind and hunger for the truth drives him on an exciting journey to unearth the clues that will lead him in identifying the true cause of death. Dr. Silverstone’s unyielding search, which contains both a personal as well as a professional reasoning to determine whether natural causes or foul play is at hand, finds himself drawn to look for answers outside of what the body is telling him. Thomas’s unrelenting inquiries find him the target of someone who means to put an end to his investigative pursuits at any cost. Dr. Silverstone’s actions considered beyond the traditional scope of his duties as an anatomist provide us with an early glimpse of the field that will soon evolve into modern day Forensic Science Investigation. A fast-paced story with many twists and turns that will keep you enthralled until the final pages. The accolades for this book speak the truth; you will not be able to put this book down. As we find ourselves captivated by Ms. Harris’ first installment, one can only wait impatiently for the next chapters in the investigative adventures of Dr. Thomas Silkstone!

Was it a natural death or was it murder??? (Monday, February 13, 2012)
Reviewer: Book Faerie

Was Edward's death natural or was it murder?

This is the first Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery and it's a really tangled tale. Set in eighteenth century England, forensics is not a developed science yet. Lydia's brother's death was horrible and she's just not sure that he wasn't poisoned. So she approaches an anatomist and asks him to see what he can find.

Thomas has to work with a dessicated body, but he gets samples to test for various chemical reactions in an effort to determine cause of death. What he finds out is that he's proven the known causes of death have not happened. But he also believes Edward didn't die naturally.

Ms. Harris does a wonderful job of muddying up the water and giving you no real leads. Even a confession by a suspected murderer does not lead to where it should. What she did, didn't kill him. As the story moves along, more people die. And there is more than one murderer...

This is very interesting tale with evil all about. The characters are well developed and have many layers of personality. Edwards' killer was not even on my suspect list and the method of murder was was impossible to detect in that era.

If you like a good twisted tale this one will keep you going. Grab yourself a copy and sit down for a good read.

Happy reading.

Eighteenth Century CSI (Monday, January 30, 2012)
Reviewer: Linda Hasper

The science that we now accept as truth has not always been seen as factual. Anatomy was not always an accepted science and in its early years was even viewed with suspicion. The Anatomist’s Apprentice is set in eighteenth century England when the science of anatomy was young and just being pioneered. It had yet to become accepted as legal evidence. Against this background, we meet Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a transplant from Philadelphia who comes to London to study anatomy with a doctor in London.
He is asked to look into the death of a young Lord in Oxfordshire and he proceeds in a scientific manner, ruling out causes and trying to discover the true reason for the death. He peels back layers of deception as deftly as he peels back layers of flesh. His methods are met with suspicion and doubt but eventually clear the innocent. There is more to this mystery as he persists to find the guilty party.
Well-plotted, leaving no loose ends, the author leads us through facts and false accusations to uncover the real killer and the true motive. The story moves along at a good pace with an interesting plotline and good writing. We ourselves are treated to descriptions of the insides of the human body as Dr. Silkstone slices and dices his cadavers. The author has a little fun with the anatomy description, giving us this image of a pompous doctor: “As an inadequately drained abscess discharges pus, so superciliousness seeped from every pore of this affected little man.” Thomas Silkstone is a likable doctor and detective. His character is based on the many students who came to England and Scotland to study anatomy during the late eighteenth century, and the plot is inspired by an actual murder trial which was the first ever to have an anatomist called as an expert witness. This is the first offering of an intended series which looks like it will be something to follow. Very enjoyable, and a good mystery.

Anatomist cuts through deception in new mystery (Friday, December 23, 2011)

The science that we now accept as truth has not always been seen as factual. Anatomy was not always an accepted science and in its early years was even viewed with suspicion. The Anatomist’s Apprentice is set in eighteenth century England when the science of anatomy was young and just being pioneered. It had yet to become accepted as legal evidence. Against this background, we meet Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a transplant from Philadelphia who comes to London to study anatomy with a doctor in London.
He is asked to look into the death of a young Lord in Oxfordshire and he proceeds in a scientific manner, ruling out causes and trying to discover the true reason for the death. He peels back layers of deception as deftly as he peels back layers of flesh. His methods are met with suspicion and doubt but eventually clear the innocent. There is more to this mystery as he persists to find the guilty party.
Well-plotted, leaving no loose ends, the author leads us through facts and false accusations to uncover the real killer and the true motive. The story moves along at a good pace with an interesting plotline and good writing. We ourselves are treated to descriptions of the insides of the human body as Dr. Silkstone slices and dices his cadavers. The author has a little fun with the anatomy description, giving us this image of a pompous doctor: “As an inadequately drained abscess discharges pus, so superciliousness seeped from every pore of this affected little man.” Thomas Silkstone is a likable doctor and detective. His character is based on the many students who came to England and Scotland to study anatomy during the late eighteenth century, and the plot is inspired by an actual murder trial which was the first ever to have an anatomist called as an expert witness. This is the first offering of an intended series which looks like it will be something to follow. Very enjoyable, and a good mystery.


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