cover image The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh

Ambrose Parry. Canongate, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-78689-378-9

Set in Edinburgh in 1847, this captivating series launch from the pseudonymous Parry (the husband-wife writing team of Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman) introduces 20-year-old Will Raven, a medical student apprenticed to James Simpson, a revered professor of midwifery. The evening before Will is to assume his new duties, he calls on a prostitute he’s befriended, Evie Lawson, in her garret room. There he finds her cold body, horribly contorted in her bedsheets. The bodies of other young women soon turn up in the same distressing condition as Evie’s. Will joins forces with Simpson’s resourceful housemaid, Sarah Fisher, to discover who’s responsible. Parry provides a fascinating look at how medicine was practiced at a period when anesthetics were still not widely used or understood, as well as certain things that have changed little over time: mansplaining, the subservience expected of women of any social class, and religious leaders demanding their God-given right to control reproductive health. Readers will eagerly await the sequel. Agent: Sophie Scard, United Agents (U.K.). (Oct.)