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The Crack Magazine


The Art of Dying

Ambrose Parry, Canongate

Young doctor Will Raven is a man with a past, some of it shady. But when he leaves Berlin to return to his hometown of Edinburgh, circa 1849, he manages to find a position with the esteemed Dr James Simpson, who regards Raven as his protégé. Also working at the practice is Sarah Fisher. Raven and Fisher were once an item, but the then student doctor felt that he couldn’t ask for her hand as she was but a mere housemaid. Now however, she is very much Simpson’s assistant and, much to Raven’s chagrin, married to an older doctor. It’s a set up ripe for rip-roaring storytelling and Ambrose Perry (actually a pseudonym for married couple Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman) gives it both barrels. Stir into the mix a whispering campaign against Simpson (a real-life figure credited with popularising the use of chloroform) and a serial killer on the loose, and you’ve got the kind of artful page-turner that drags you along at a whip-crack pace.