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

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3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  3,625 ratings  ·  588 reviews
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.
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jennifer
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...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
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
Jane
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...more
Nick Johnson
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
Kb
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
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.
Erica
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...more
Romancing the Book
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...more
D.G.
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 very little investigation whatsoever - he barely look...more
Mary
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
Carly
**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...more
Mary
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...more
Sarah Nokleby
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.
Mary Theobald
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...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
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...more
Amy M
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 -...more
Kayla West
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...more
Irena
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...more
Anna
Jun 01, 2014 Anna rated it 2 of 5 stars
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...more
Beth
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
Luanne Ollivier
The Anatomist's Apprentice is the first (and debut) book in Tessa Harris's new series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone.

I initially picked up the book based on the description - 18th century, London, England, mystery, early forensic detection, as it seemed to fall into one of my favourite genres - historical mysteries.

Lady Lydia Farrell's brother dies a horrible death in his own bed. Was he the victim of some unknown condition? Or was helped along the way to his Maker - by her husband? She seeks th...more
Natasha M.
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
Martha D
Title: The Anatomists Apprentice
Author: Tessa Harris
Rating: 1/5

Summary: 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 uncon...more
Linda

The Anatomist’s Apprentice is a story of the early days of forensic pathology. Thomas Silkstone is a 25-year-old anatomist. Born in America he is at Oxford. When Sir Edward Crick dies under mysterious circumstances Dr. Silkstone is called in to investigate the death. He soon gets caught in a web of lies, deceit and more death.

This was a fairly enjoyable mystery set at about the time of the American Revolution. Sometimes it was a really graphic look at forensics. At other times it was an over-rip...more
April Kane
Tessa Harris’ The Anatomist’s Apprentice is the first book in a new series focusing on the exploits of 18th Century anatomist, Dr. Thomas Silkstone. While studying in England in October 1780, Dr. Silkstone is summoned to investigate the mysterious death of Sir Edward Crick. As his investigation progresses he falls deeper and deeper in love with Sir Crick’s beautiful sister, Lady Lydia Farrell. Lady Farrell is married but trapped in a somewhat now loveless union.

I really had a difficult time gett...more
Erin
This book could have been 50 pages shorter but at the end the attempt to build tension and make it like a thriller was just too much to bear. I skipped the last 50 pages because you know who the murderer is and I didn't even care enough about the details to finish reading it. The attempt at building romance felt clunky, and the manipulation of the core characters was weak. I get what the author was trying to do but dang GET IT DONE ALREADY. Soooo much back and forth, soooo much brooding. It neve...more
Catherine Thompson
Dr. Thomas Silkstone is the titular apprentice--though he seems to be a fully qualified anatomist--who is called upon when the young Lord Crick dies in mysterious circumstances.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. The idea of early forensic science is one that should provide a good deal of interest. Unfortunately, in Tessa Harris's hands, the story became one of a muddled romance more than a mystery. To me, the real mystery is how the book was published at all. It's as if the manuscript ne...more
V. Gingerich
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...more
Jen3n
This was not good.

It wasn't a very coheisive or well-written book. And it was really badly researched. If you're going to write a mystery set in the Georgian period then you probably read a book about it or at least Google the time period. Ugh.

And don't even get me started on the unnecessary, tacked-on romance portion of the program. Double "ugh."

Simplistic, underwritten, brain-dead. Thinly drawn, simplistic characters, an obvious mystery, and I really should mention AGAIn how very distracting a...more
Dawn
I didn't finish this book so I will not presume to write about the story, setting or characters in any depth. I will only mention my reasons for not completing it.

I completed the first 7 chapters and then skipped ahead to for the last five to find out what happened. I had great hopes for the story but right from the start I was unimpressed. The writing was poor and the medical knowledge was lacking. I am by no means an expert in the medical field but even I know that rigor mortis does not last...more
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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
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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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