The Art of Dying Review

  • Author: Ambrose Parry
  • Series: Raven, Fisher and Simpson #2
  • Genre: Historical Fiction and Mystery
  • No. of pages: 416
  • Dates read: 01.01.21 – 04.01.21
  • Star Rating: 3 stars
  • ARC published by Cangongate Books

Plot: Edinburgh, 1850. Despite being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson – a whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances. Simpson’s protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths. Will and Sarah must unite and plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets to clear Simpson’s name. But soon they discover that the true cause of these deaths has evaded suspicion purely because it is so unthinkable. 

What a solid way to start the new year. I didn’t expect much going into this, looking at my track record I have always enjoyed historical murder mysteries so I thought I would give this a chance.

First, of all thank you Netgalley and Canongate books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Starting off with the writing, I loved the multiple POVs in this story. I thought it added an extra level of nuance to the story as you got a greater knowledge of the characters and the world they lived in. You also got see a varied picture of Victorian Edinburgh through the different lenses of class and gender. My favourite POV had to be that of the murderer, the very first chapter of the book starts with the murderer explaining a bit about themselves and I thought it was such an effective device going forward figuring out slowly who they are through these quick chapters.

The plot was really interesting. It wasn’t the most complex mystery I have read but enjoyed learning about the motive and the psychology behind the murderer. I also preferred the side plot of Miss Fisher, her husband and Raven, I thought it was super interesting and what kept my attention throughout the novel.

I enjoyed the character of Miss Fisher. I always enjoy female characters who work hard and overcome odds against a society that is set up against her. She is smart, courageous and forthwith which I loved. Raven was a fine character, initially, I wasn’t the biggest fan of him. I couldn’t connect but as the novel went on my feelings changed. He is stuck in his patriarchal ways and that was his downfall for me. He wouldn’t budge until he was really forced to so it took some time for me to personally get invested in the character.

To be honest, I don’t have much else to say. It was a solid book to start off, a good jumping point but it also wasn’t the most groundbreaking book I have ever read. I am not sure if I will continue with series, I will have to see what book 3 is all about.

The next book I will be reviewing is my first ever South Korean book, The Plotters by Un-su Kim!

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