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The Anatomist's Apprentice (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #1)

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  5,391 Ratings  ·  834 Reviews
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
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 2012 by Kensington House Pub Ltd (first published 2011)
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Sep 10, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, mystery
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 t
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 ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Jane rated it did not like it
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 cl
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
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.
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 caugh ...more
Nick Johnson
Feb 11, 2014 Nick Johnson rated it did not like it
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, b ...more
Review of audiobook edition, narrated by Simon Vance

Gosh, 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 v
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 tr
Romancing the Book
Apr 03, 2012 Romancing the Book rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Reviewed By~Marissa
Review Copy Provided By~ARC from Publisher

This 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
V. Gingerich
Dec 03, 2016 V. Gingerich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars

Firstly 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 co
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
**edited 12/30/13

As 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 imp
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 character ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Arnaud rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
very good plot!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
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 bro
Nolan Yard
Aug 15, 2014 Nolan Yard rated it it was amazing
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 revie ...more
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
Sep 24, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok
Shelves: mmm-2012
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 investi
Jul 22, 2016 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: npl, goodreads
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
Sarah Nokleby
May 25, 2012 Sarah Nokleby rated it did not like it
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.
Jul 22, 2016 Norav rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
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.
Kayla West
Sep 18, 2013 Kayla West rated it it was amazing
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
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Feb 19, 2012 Jo (Mixed Book Bag) rated it it was amazing
Historical Mystery

The 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
Oct 24, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
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 -
Natasha M.
Aug 27, 2012 Natasha M. rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, detective, georgian
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 ...more
Theobald Mary
May 29, 2012 Theobald Mary rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 12, 2015 Faith rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, audio
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 ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Beth rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this one. I thought it needed better editing; the prose was wooden, the characters not terribly lifelike, and the wording obnoxiously antiquated. Yes, the book is set in the 1780's, but it was written for a modern audience. Authors like P. C. Doherty or Anne Perry manage to make the past come alive in all its awful color and smell with vivid prose that doesn't detract from their communication with the reader. The mystery was okay without being gripping. I'll probably try th ...more
Beth Sowell
May 06, 2012 Beth Sowell rated it liked it
I was initially intrigued by the early forensics in this book, but it ended up having much less details about that than I'd hoped for. I was disappointed that the "damsel in distress" was so flat as a character. There really was little to love about her. She didn't have a strong personality at all and other than the author stating she had chestnut hair and was beautiful we couldn't even picture what she really looked like. All in all it was an easy read. The story was okay. I did like how the au ...more
Dec 20, 2015 Zoe rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Great fun, with lots of period detail. This is a forensics based mystery that occurs about a century before Sherlock was looking at tobacco ash, so dealing with dead bodies is a lot less pretty. Plenty of detail about bodies rotting in heat- sorry- but the hunt for the poison that killed the victim (and who administered it) is still fascinating, the secondary love story interesting, and the twists and turns as to who actually did what makes it a huge page turner. I would have liked to see more a ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Historical Myster...: Dr. Thomas Silkstone by Tessa Harris 6 27 Feb 11, 2015 09:09AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Anatomist's Apprentice 1 4 Jul 29, 2012 12:06PM  
Coffee Talk: February BOM 41 43 Feb 16, 2012 04:51PM  
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From the author's website:After studying History at Oxford University, I began my journalistic career on a newspaper in my home town of Louth, in Lincolnshire. I progressed onto a London newspaper, where I became women's editor. From there I moved to become a feature writer on Bestmagazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another ...more
More about Tessa Harris...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Thomas Silkstone (6 books)
  • The Dead Shall Not Rest (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #2)
  • The Devil's Breath (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #3)
  • The Lazarus Curse (Dr. Thomas Silkstone #4)
  • Shadow of the Raven (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #5)
  • Secrets in the Stones (Dr. Thomas Silkstone, #6)

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“they all listened intently and passed the story on in shades as varied as the turning leaves on the autumn beeches; on each occasion embellishing it with thin threads of conjecture that were strengthened every time they were entwined.” 0 likes
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