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The Way of All Flesh

(Raven, Fisher, and Simpson #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,286 ratings  ·  765 reviews
Listening Length: 11 hours and 45 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged

A vivid and gripping historical crime novel set in 19th century Edinburgh, from husband-and-wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Canongate Books (first published August 2018)
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Roman Policier It must be a tribute to Ambroise Paré, a famous French surgeon who lived in the 17th century, considered "one of the fathers of surgery and modern for…moreIt must be a tribute to Ambroise Paré, a famous French surgeon who lived in the 17th century, considered "one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology and a pioneer in surgical techniques" (see Wikipedia page :
MS The pseudonym "Ambroise Parry" is obviously an allusion to Ambroise Paré, a sixteenth century French surgeon, considered by some the creator of modern…moreThe pseudonym "Ambroise Parry" is obviously an allusion to Ambroise Paré, a sixteenth century French surgeon, considered by some the creator of modern surgery.(less)

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Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Edinburgh 1847, a time when ruthless medical experiments were being carried out, quite often by the unscrupulous, those whose patients were of no consequence, who’s lives mattered little when set against the desire for fame and fortune.

Against this backdrop, Will Raven secures himself an apprenticeship with the much respected obstetrician Doctor Simpson.

The story begins with the suspicious death of Will’s prostitute friend Evie, but her death ( as we are about to find out) is only just the begin
This is a deliciously atmospheric piece of historical crime fiction from the husband and wife authors, Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, set in Victorian Edinburgh, a city split between the poverty stricken and dark underbelly of the Old Town and the more genteel wealthy households of New Town. This is a story about Edinburgh's heyday as the prominent player in its contributions towards the progress of medicine intertwined with the murder of young women, prostitutes, deemed to be of little co ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant surprise this book! Great historical crime fiction read, very well written, full of atmosphere and details of Edinburgh in the year 1847. I actually picked this book up at Waterstones Edinburgh recently, they did of course promote it extra as a local book, upfront in the store in stacks, but rightly so, I was not disappointed!
More later, for those who like the combination of crime and history, this is a really good book!
"Science never solves a problem without creating ten more." (George Bernard Shaw)

It's the winter of 1847 in Edinburgh. Medical science seems to pounce upon new and innovative means of so-called advancements. Avant-garde, experimental methods are in both the hands of the charlatans and in the hands of the highly skilled. Your social status, unfortunately, will determine whose hands will guide your fate.

Will Raven, a young medical apprentice, quickly closes the door of Evie's room. Until this mome
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel gripped me! Edinborough, 1840s, poor people, rich people and medical experiments in search of a new medicament. And, a murder or two, naturally. The debut is fantastic! The Authors recreated the atmosphere of the city, were very particular regarding social details and introduced two main characters who, I'm sure will reappear in another novel very soon. Thanks to all my GR friends whose reviews encouraged me to read The Way of All Flesh! :)
*I submitted a full review to Netgally in exc
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Tantalizing • Eerie • Magnificent

"No decent story ought to begin with a dead prostitute, and for that, apologies, for it is not something upon which respectable persons would desire to dwell."
- Ambrose Parry

Think about that title! THE WAY OF ALL FLESH. What is the way of all flesh? Is there a commonality in the behavior of all flesh? Is it a reaction of all flesh? Is it the growth or decomposition of all flesh? Or is it merely the greed of those with flesh? As I was reading this novel, it made
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'The Way of All Flesh' written by husband and wife writing duo Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman under the pseudonym Ambrose Parry is a gloriously atmospheric and authentic 19th century historical crime novel. It really is superb! I read a lot of crime stories, but I don't come across a lot that are set in such wonderful surroundings as this. Victorian era Edinburgh is a dangerous place with all kinds of misadventure and misdemeanors taking place. The plot fizzes with kinetic energy, and the d ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a historical fiction mystery with a medical flavour. Set in Edinburgh in the mid 1800s, this was an interesting comparison to London, where most novels from this period are usually set (in my reading experience anyway!) it was absolutely fascinating to learn about the early development of anaesthesia and how these were tested. No formal trials or safeguards were in place.; but also interesting to see how progress in this field went hand in hand with the ability to perform more successfu ...more
I'm abandoning this at 34%. It may be accurate about the history of medical care in Edinburgh in 1847, but the language is ridiculously anachronistic. I tried my best to ignore "...if he was made of chocolate would surely eat himself, were his appetites not so abstemious" - José Mourinho, presumably, time-travelling back to Edinburgh - but I choked at "As Raven's mother might have put it, he was wearing the clothes; the clothes weren't wearing him." No, Raven's mother wouldn't have put it like t ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a new, historical crime series, which is sure to find many fans. Set in Edinburgh, 1847, Will Raven is a young man who is about to become the assistant to Dr Simpson; an early Obstetrician. Will is a man who is keen to make his fortune; not least as he recently borrowed from a moneylender, in order to help out Evie Lawson. Evie was a prostitute that he befriended and hoped to help – however, when he arrives to visit her and finds her dead, he is ashamed to find himself slink ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Historical mysteries have always fascinated me and to find one focusing on the medical world of the 19th century was something I couldn’t miss.

The story revolves around Will Raven, a young medical student, who becomes apprenticed to a renowned obstetrician, and Sarah Fisher, Dr Simpson’s housemaid, a young intelligent woman who would love to study medicine but due to her gender and class cannot. Although taking a dislike to each other, Will and Sarah end up working together when they find out th
(3.5) This historical novel set in Edinburgh in 1847 has one of the best opening paragraphs I’ve come across in a while. It immediately sets the tone: realistic, sly, and somewhat seedy. If the title sounds familiar, it’s because it’s borrowed from Samuel Butler’s gloomy 1903 meditation on sin and salvation in several generations of a Victorian family. I remember trudging through it on a weekend break to Strasbourg during my year abroad.

Parry (a pseudonym for husband–wife duo Chris Brookmyre and
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, historical, arc
Briefly - Entertaining historical/medical read.

In full
Historical fiction is something I only read from time to time. However I'd seen a few good reviews for this and one half of the writing team is Christopher Brookmyre a favourite author of mine. The other part of the team is apparently his wife, a consultant anaesthetist, who brings her obviously extensive medical knowledge into play here. The book focusses strongly on medicine, the medical profession and their quests for improved treatment. S
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thank you Netgalley and Canongate Books for the ARC.

A lot is happening in 1847's Edinburgh. Will Raven is set upon by thugs for not returning money borrowed from a loanshark. Then the girl he borrowed the money for is found dead. Meanwhile he's moving from the old to the new part of town to start as an apprentice for Dr. Simpson, obstetrician. In between seeing patients he also helps his collegues in finding a workable anesthetic.
The book gives a good account of the use of ether and its sometime
Lili  Marcus
More bookish stuffs: @Lili's Blissful Pages

3.5 stars.

This is Historical Fiction at its best. 

Set in 1840s Edinburgh, this book follows the story of a young man, Will Raven, who has a past he's trying to run away from. He's set to make a name in medicine and was given a chance to be an apprentice of the well-known, esteemed professor of midwifery, James Young Simpson. There, Will Raven meets Sarah Fisher, a young maid who aspires to be more than what she is, a nd especially more than wh
Michael Cayley
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A novel that starts with the suspicious death of a prostitute in mid-19th century Edinburgh, but whose interest lies less in the crime aspects of the plot than in the depiction of the seamy side of Edinburgh life, attitudes to social class, and medical practices of the time. The central characters are a poor apprentice obstetrician with a secret in his own past which he is determined to rise above, and a house maid who helps out in the doctor’s surgery and whose intelligence and skills have not ...more
The Cats’ Mother
I knew going in to this that Ambrose Parry is a collaboration between Christopher Brookmyre, who is arguably my favourite Scottish author (neck & neck with Val McD) and his wife, Marisa Haetzman, who I knew was an anaesthetist. Had I gone in blind, I would never have guessed the former, but I would definitely picked the author to be a doctor who knows Edinburgh well. This takes my favourite genres - crime, historical, and medical, with a strong female heroine - what's not to love - but without a ...more
Literary Soirée
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH is one scary read told at lightening pace in atmospheric 1847 Edinburgh. Young women are found horrifically murdered throughout the city. Medical student Will Raven and housemaid Sarah Fisher reluctantly team up to discover why. A fine read for day or night but be sure to keep the lights on! 5 stars

Grateful to NetGalley and Canongate Books US for the early read. Opinions are mine.

#TheWayOfAllFlesh #NetGalley
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
The plot would make a decent anime, unfortunately, it is not an anime, but a quite pretentious "historical crime fiction" novel.

Let's start with the good stuff - the background, which is the medical discoveries of XIX century, the state of science, the (often risky and /or backwards) attempts to advance it etc. Like, how do you even test the anaesthetic?

Then there are all the clichees and anachronisms in the story, which contrast sharply with pretentious language. I mean, really, all the anime
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid four stars! This turned out way better than I expected! The plot summary caught my interest, and that title was really neat, but I have to be honest, the first few pages I was worried I was reading another male author who would write about women as ‘females’ and in the worst light. Then I realized two things: this Ambrose Parry is a husband and wife writing duo, and the female influence quickly becomes apparent. The wife is a real doctor, and it changes everything. This book was spectacula ...more
Karen ⊰✿
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, uno_2019
Edinburgh 1947 and medical student Will Raven has found himself apprenticed to the very famous Dr Simpson. Will is not the usual gentleman... In fact he is quite penniless and owes money to a cutthroat gang who he tries to dodge as he attends procedures with Dr Simpson. At the same time he is convinced there is a murderer targeting prostitutes and housemaids, including someone quite close to him.
Sarah, the very smart and intuitive housemaid to Dr Simpson, works out quickly something is a bit di
Arybo ✨

Primum non nocere.
Do no arm: the Hippocratic injunction.


⬇️Reviews in 🇬🇧 and 🇮🇹

🇬🇧 3.5

What is The Way of All Flesh about?
It Is the story of a doctor apprentice who works in Edinburgh in 1847, and tries to use ether and his scientific knowledge to help women giving birth to children. There is a problem, however: someone is killing women in labor, usually housemaids or prostitutes who tried to hide their conditions up a
The Way of All Flesh introduces the reader to Will Raven, about to start a prestigious medical apprenticeship but burdened by secrets in his past, an unhealthily close connection to a murder victim, ruthless debt collectors on his trail and a self-confessed dark side to his character.

Despite Raven’s initial determination that the death of a woman he was close to should not become just another unsolved murder of a ‘fallen woman’, readers need to exercise some patience for his investigation into t
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Review coming soon
I was sent an early copy of this book for my independent honest review I read the premise of this and was very excited to get to it. A historical crime with medical content is a refreshing change to many new releases at the moment. Straight away I became engaged in the plot and writing style and couldn't put this down. An early murder and an interesting selection of characters was a big plus for me. Once we started attending births, the research into early anaesthetic and how D
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we meet Will, he is leaning over the body of a dead whore and before the night is through, thugs will accost him. The dead woman is someone he befriended and lent money to. The thugs are looking to collect said money. Thus on Will’s first day of his apprenticeship for Dr. Simpson, he arrives in rumbled clothes, sporting a rather sorry looking eye.

Their newest resident intrigues Sarah, the doctor’s receptionist and upstairs maid. Parry hooked me from the start and I easily slipped into the s
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed this the first novel based in 1840's Edinburgh a medical thriller written by husband and wife team and you can feel the new and old town as we follow will raven in his new adventure as apprentice to Mr Simpson ...more
I read this while on holiday. And that is what it is. A good holiday read. I found some of the expressions seemed out of place if this was meant to be a historical detective tale. But still a good yarn. Having woerked for a time in hospitals in Edinburgh added to the interest for me.
Amy Bruno
Nothing pleases me more than a good Victorian mystery and I am happy to say that I had the best time these past few days while immersed in Ambrose Parry's The Way of All Flesh! Seriously, I was obsessed with this book and anyone that interrupted me while reading was subjected to the look at death :)

Will Raven (which IMO is the coolest name EVER!) is beginning his new apprenticeship to Dr. Simpson, who specializes in midwifery, when he finds a female acquaintance dead. She is a whore and she isn'
Barb in Maryland
So good! This is high caliber historical fiction with a clever mystery tucked into the narrative.

The pace is somewhat leisurely, with the authors painting a vivid picture of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847. The focus is on the medical arts--with an emphasis on midwifery. Dr. Simpson specializes in difficult deliveries and he has just hired young Will Raven as his apprentice. Dr. Simpson's patients come from both sides of town: the upper class, well to do ladies of New Town as well as the poor women
AHHH. I loved this. It took me a while to finish it because of a lack of time, but I absolutely enjoyed this from start to finish.

Murder mystery? Check.
Set in Edinburgh? Check.
Intriguing main characters with strong personalities? Check.
Based on actual facts and real, historical and pivotal medical figures? CHECK.

This was such an entertaining read, but it wasn't JUST entertaining. The story was really good and the tone of the writing felt really accurate. I felt part
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Ambrose Parry is the pen name for husband and wife Chris Brookmyre (known mostly for his crime novels) and Dr Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. It is the latter's interest in medical history that lead to their first collaboration, The Way of All Flesh. ...more

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Raven, Fisher, and Simpson (2 books)
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100 likes · 49 comments
“He heard a whipping sound, something cutting through the air.

Beattie stopped. He let go of Raven, his eyes bulging as he clutched between his legs, a crippling, uncomprehending agony on his face.

He dropped to his knees, revealing Sarah behind him. She stood with a poker gripped in both hands, fire in her eyes.

‘I also have the wit to know that a preening onanist who regards himself a god does not gladly wait upon a housemaid,’ she said.

As these words met Beattie’s ears, the poker whipped through the air again, this time connecting with his skull.”
“Sarah poured the tea, thinking how narrow Mina’s assessment of a woman’s role was, how restrictive. Why couldn’t a woman aspire to more? Why shouldn’t she? Why did Raven get to do whatever he wanted? She was convinced that they were of similar backgrounds and she was damn sure they were of similar intellect, yet he had opportunities that were denied to her, and seemed not always to appreciate his privilege.” 0 likes
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