Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Anatomy of Death (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Anatomy of Death (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Anatomy of Death

(Dr Dody McCleland #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  793 ratings  ·  141 reviews
At the turn of the twentieth century, London's political climate is in turmoil, as women fight for the right to vote. Dody McCleland has her own battles to fight. As England's first female autopsy surgeon, not only must she prove herself, she must prove that murder treats everyone equally...

After a heated women's rights rally turns violent, an innocent suffragette is foun
Paperback, 307 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Berkley Trade (first published 2007)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Anatomy of Death, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) If it's in special format, there are many sites where you can convert it online to something compatible with your ebook software. …moreIf it's in special format, there are many sites where you can convert it online to something compatible with your ebook software. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  793 ratings  ·  141 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Anatomy of Death (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a historical mystery with the emphasis heavily on the history rather than the mystery but I enjoyed it anyway. The story takes place at the time of the Suffragist movement in England and there is one very informative and distressing description of force feeding which told me more than I really wanted to know. Nevertheless the main characters are charmingly British and the mystery such as it is, is solved with a bit of a twist in a satisfactory way. The book is nicely written and is full ...more
Dr Dody McCleland returned from a year in Edinburgh where she had qualified as an autopsy surgeon. Back in London and at home with her sister Florence, she was to discover that her job as England’s first female autopsy surgeon wouldn’t be accepted by many. It was early in the twentieth century and change was coming – but many didn’t want that change. And with the suffragette movement gaining momentum, the violence at a women’s rights rally wasn’t unexpected.

The horrible death of one such woman w
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More a cosy crime than a gripping murder mystery, this book is set in an interesting period of British history with interesting characters. Set around 1910, Dorothy McCleland, Dody to her friends has recently qualified as a doctor in Edinburgh. Unable to be trained as a surgeon because she is a woman, she instead trains to be an autopsy surgeon and finds a part time position in London with the Home Office. Her family, although wealthy, are accepting of this as they are also less than conventiona ...more
Jülie ☼♄ 

I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating crime mystery which takes us on a nice historical look at the times while solving a crime.
Factual details about the Suffragette movement and women fighting for the right to vote and get equal rights make this a fascinating read and gives insight to the plight of women's roles in England in the 1900's.
The protagonist is Dr. Dody McCleland, England's first female autopsy surgeon who is struggling for recognition in a male dominated area, and where not only f
The Lit Bitch
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book caught my eye right after Christmas. I was coming off of a historical mysteries binge and I was eager for another new heroine. I was so excited to read this one but I had to get through a couple of other books on my review calendar before I indulged.

Then the urge disappeared and I didn’t pick it up again for a couple of months. I was finally ready for something new and was eager to get to know Dr Dody McCleland. Not only is this book based in the Edwardian era (my favorite) but Dody is
Primrose Jess
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
The word "Meh" comes to mind to sum up my thoughts on this book. It was ok. Not horrible. Not amazing. Not atrocious. Not even terrific. Just a shoulder shrug and a "meh" kind of book. Which did bum me out because the premise for the female lead character as one of the first forensic medical examiners was a good one that interested me. Yet, I found the story to be rushed, characters would start to develop and then stutter along for awhile, and overall, I think with everything happening in the s ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Almost, but not quite.
An Edwardian mystery with a female pathologist protagonist. There's also an army man turned policeman, a bunch of suffragettes, and a couple of Irish revolutionaries. There might be a series worth investing time into here. If the author decides what she wants to do with her characters. Still, I'm not sure I'm interested in finding out.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
This is a solid start to a promising mystery series that takes CSI-ish police procedural and puts a historical twist to it, with a great heroine, interesting class nuances, and a focus on the big political issues of Victorian Britain.

Set in November 1910, the novel follows Dr. Dorothy 'Dody' McCleland, the UK's first female autopsy surgeon. Newly returned from university in Scotland, Dody finds herself immediately plunged into work, assisting in an autopsy almost the second she gets off the tra
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Against the backdrop of the suffragette movement in turn of the century Britain, Felicity Young introduces Dr Dody McCleland, the first female autopsy surgeon. Fresh from training with the preeminent surgeon of the time, she is eager to start her job at St Thomas Hospital but finds she must recuse herself from her very first case for the corpse is an acquaintance, a suffragette, who has died in a vicious riot sparked during a peaceful demonstration calling for women's right to vote. Despite bein ...more
Tara Chevrestt
LOVED this book. I have nothing bad to say about it. It has everything a strong woman could possibly desire in a fiction book.

Suffragettes. Dody's sister Florence is a suffragette becoming further embroiled in the militant movement. There's riots, force feedings, passion for the cause, foiled attempts to make a statement...

A rule-breaking heroine. It's pre 1910 and we have a lady medical examiner. She even works at a women's clinic free just to get experience because back then hardly a soul woul
The Anatomy of Death
4 Stars

One of the first female pathologists, Dr. Dorothy “Dody” McCleland is called in to autopsy the body of a suffragette killed during a riot. Upon learning that the victim is a friend of her rebellious sister, Dody is determined to uncover the truth about her death even if it means trusting Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Pike, the man assigned by the police to investigate or perhaps cover up the crime …

An entertaining mix of historical fiction, mystery and romance.

I enjoyed this first in the Dr Dody McLeland series set in London in 1910, around the time of the Suffragette movement. It starts with a peaceful march on Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament to protest for votes for women with protesters brutally disbanded by police. It was interesting to read more of the fight for women’s suffrage.

During the fight between police and protesters, people are killed, and Dr Dody McLeland is called on to autopsy the bodies. It was also interesting to read more a
It's the early 1900s and the Suffragette movement is making serious waves in England. At a protest march, things turn ugly and 3 women are killed, including Lady Catherine Cartwright. It is at this time that Dr Dorothy 'Dody' McCleland has returned to London as a newly-qualified autopsy surgeon; the first female in the field.

Dody happens to be called on by the Home Office, as the very first engagement of her brand new employment contract, to conduct the autopsies on the 3 victims, but when she
Not a bad outing for a series first.

Dr Dorothy (Dody) McCleland is one of the first female pathologists in London, and an assistant to the great Bernard Spilsbury.

The case revolves are the suffragette movement, making this a timely read, as 2018 is the 100th anniversay of women getting the vote in the UK.

There is a march that is attacked by the police and women are assaulted and several turn up dead. Dody along with Inspector Matthew Pike must find the killer.

A workmanlike book, but not outstand
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
I can't tell you how long I've been waiting to read this book! At least a couple of years. It's one of those that publisher priced ridiculously high in e-format, and it took them that long to put it on offer which reduced it from £9 to under £4.

Anyway, I knew when I read the synopsis that I'd like it, and in this regard Felicity Young did not disappoint. It's a mild murder mystery, and you don't have to strain your brain too hard to understand who is the villain, but it's a curious take on the r
Cheryl A
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it
After checking this title out three(!) times at the library, I finally got around to reading it, having continually been put off by the artwork on the front cover and the synopsis on the back cover. Both hinted at a more romantic bent to the novel, rather than a forsenic storyline. I was right and wrong at the same time.

Dr. Dorothy McCleland arrives back in London as a specialist in the "beastly science" - autopsy, the only speciality open to women doctors in 1910. She is quickly called to her f
Emily Craven
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I thoroughly enjoyed this book much to my surprise. The cover is not the best I've ever seen to be sure! But this author has definitely convinced me I need to pick up more mysteries, particularly if they contain such plucky women. The suffragette era fascinates me and this book made it vivid and alive, exploring the view points of the time in a way that was neither boring nor judgemental. I love the main character Dody (what an odd name) who is sensible, intelligent and courageous. If you like m ...more
While there is a murder which is investigated and excitingly solved in this novel, it's not the sole focus of the narrative. There is a lot about the suffragette movement, the treatment of the suffragette's in prison, early forensic science, and so on - wonderfully engaging. Dr Dody is wonderful, I definitely want to read the next book in the series. ...more
Rhonda Powling
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating novel. It combined facts from an interesting period (set in London at the time of the suffragette movement) with a crime mystery. It was very easy to read and kept me captivated until the end. A "cosy" along the lines of the authors from the Golden Age, in the vein of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. ...more
What is better than a work of historical fiction in which the history is well-researched and powerfully presented? .... Nothing, I tell you! Young's first mystery novel about Dr. Dorothy McCleland and Chief Inspector Matthew Pike is a gem.

Dody is not an entirely original leading lady as far as personality and moral fiber goes, but Young has managed to present her as a heroine we can both enjoy hearing from and admire. Her quick mind and capable demeanor give us the strength we like to see from
The Anatomy of Death is the first in a new series by Felicity Young. It features Dorothy (Dody) McCleland, a young woman who has gone into the medical field at the turn of the twentieth century. Denied the chance to become a surgeon for the living (because of her sex), she trains as an autopsy surgeon and becomes England's first female doctor of this type. She has just returned to London from her studies in Scotland--all set to take up her post as an assistant to Bernard Spilsbury--Scotland Yard ...more
I enjoyed this. Early twentieth century London, social issues of the time, strong female characters and a murder to solve. What's not to like?

When Dr. Dody McCleland returns home to London from her medical training in Edinburgh - as one of the first women to be trained as an autopsy surgeon - she learns her sister Florence's dedication to the cause of female sufferage has increased in a major way. The group has become militant and is beginning to consider violence along with demonstrations and d
Barb in Maryland
Well, this is not a first book, but it does read like one. The author really crammed too much into this--so much so that I was confused about the focus of the book.
Dr.Dorothy (Dody--unfortunate nickname)McCleland has just won the privilege of being an autopsy surgeon for the London police in 1910. But, we hardly see her at work at all, so don't get too excited about that.
Her younger sister Florence is a militant suffragette, so we get a lot about the suffrage movement. Indeed, at least half of t
Oct 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Not bad for a debut book at all. Dr. Dody McLeland is one of the first female anatomists in London and the story kicks off with her returning home after being gone for a year studying for and training in her craft. The author notes at the end that she fudged the history by a decade as the firt records of female anatomists in England don't occur until 1820. That suits me fine because I'm primarily looking to be entertained - as opposed to getting a completely accurate history lesson - and this bo ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I also finished the book and I am just as enthousiastic as hazeleyes. One of my favourite historical mysteries of all time. Of course I loved the (subtle) MK references, I think my favourite one was the remark regarding the height regualations.

In addition to the Murdoch mysteries it made me think a little bit of Casualty1900 and Bramwell, two series I absolutely adored. But don't get me wrong it stands very much on its own.

Please tell me that this is the beginning of a series. I would so l
May 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Lots of promise here, but the writing was clunky enough that this never really hit the detail-saturated, atmospheric historical/romantic mystery zone I was hoping for. Certainly this was nowhere close, to, say, Anne Perry's Hester and Monk. It almost felt like a spot of YA (is it YA?). I loved the choice to set the book in Downton Abbey London (definitely jonesing for 1900-1918 set fiction right now) and the promise of a female forensic patholigist lead. Pike was endearing enough, and his daught ...more
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this historical mystery, first in a series based on Dr Dody McCleland, an autopsy surgeon at a time in history when women are still struggling to be given the vote. Dody's opposite number is Chief Detective Inspector Matthew Pike, a man with issues of his own.

A Dissection of Murder begins with the death of a suffragette during a women's rights rally. Dody is pretty sure the obvious explanation is not the true one, and sets about assembling a case while also attempting to gain Pike's t
Greg Barron
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A Dissection of Murder is a nuanced, well-written novel, vivid with historical detail and peopled with interesting characters. I really liked Dody and Pike, the two main characters, and they came fully to life for me - I can picture them in my head as if they're standing in front of me.

Perhaps because of the sympathetic 'voice' of Dody, A Dissection of Murder had a gentle feel to it, surprising considering the pathological details, description of a hanging and the harrowing scene where hunger-s
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book - one that not only entertains you with plot and character but always makes you feel like you are learning something along the way. In this case it is about the Suffragettes and the different ways in which they sought the right to vote. I was very impressed by Young's specific attention to historical detail - at the end she describes the many different real events and characters which feature throughout the story - and I looked up a few things as I was reading.
I liked the V
Shirley Schwartz
This is the first book in the Dr. Dody McCleland series. I had inadvertently read the second one first, so wanted to read this now, After the two books, I've decided not to continue with this series. My main complaint is that the main characters in the series are not likeable. Dody is too sanctimonious and her sister Florence too ditzy. And as I had noticed in the book I read first, there is too much emphasis on social issues and women's rights. I like to read a book for enjoyment, not for unend ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Murder at Queen's Landing (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery #4)
  • Murder at Half Moon Gate (Wrexford & Sloane, #2)
  • Limelight (Penny Green, #1)
  • City of Lies (Counterfeit Lady, #1)
  • Murder at Kensington Palace (Wrexford & Sloane, #3)
  • Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3)
  • The Rookery (Penny Green, #2)
  • City of Secrets (Counterfeit Lady, #2)
  • An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell, #6)
  • A Useful Woman (Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #1)
  • Murder on Black Swan Lane (Wrexford & Sloane, #1)
  • The Spotted Dog (Corinna Chapman #7)
  • The Devil’s Due (Sherlock Holmes Adventure #3)
  • Art in the Blood (Sherlock Holmes Adventure, #1)
  • Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Murder (Sherlock Holmes Adventure #2)
  • Whichwood (Furthermore, #2)
  • The Three Locks (Sherlock Holmes Adventure #4)
  • Snared: Escape to the Above (Wily Snare, #1)
See similar books…
I was born in Germany and educated at an English boarding school while my parents travelled the world with the British army. I think the long boring plane trips home played an important part in helping me to develop my creative imagination.

I settled with my parents in Western Australia in 1976, became a nurse, married young and had three children. Not surprisingly, it took ten years to complete an

Other books in the series

Dr Dody McCleland (5 books)
  • Antidote to Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #2)
  • The Scent of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #3)
  • The Insanity of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #4)
  • A Donation of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #5)

Related Articles

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
156 likes · 58 comments