From Publishers Weekly
Knight brings his own experience as a Home Office pathologist to this absorbing first in a new series set in Britain's Wye Valley. When pathologist Richard Pryor and Angela Bray, a young biologist on the rebound from a broken engagement, go into business offering forensic expertise, they expect paternity tests and postmortems to be their bread and butter, but one of their first cases involves bones that two women each claim prove the death of a loved one. Later, what is first dismissed as an accidental drowning takes on a sinister dimension as a result of their testing. Knight (Crowner Royal
and 12 other mysteries in his medieval Crowner John series) describes the arcana of autopsy without going into overly graphic detail. While the testing processes considered state of the art in 1955 are crude by today's standards, he succeeds in making them just as interesting. A couple of great plot twists at the end will leave readers eager for a sequel. (June)
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This entertaining slice of nostalgia for life in 1950s Britain should please Anglophiles and will also appeal to fans of forensically detailed crime fiction. Dr. Richard Pryor, recently returned from Singapore, has joined forces with biologist Angela Bray, a former Home Office scientist, to form a private forensic practice in the Wye Valley. The pair are at first worried about making ends meet, but word of their expertise spreads, and they quickly have their hands full with everything from settling paternity cases to identifying dead bodies to proving that a young woman found drowned off the coast was murdered by her husband. Knight, a former Home Office pathologist, shows off his detailed knowledge of forensics, especially as the science was practiced in the 1950s. The appeal of this story lies very much in the engaging cast of characters, the interplay between Pryor and Bray, and the intriguing forensic details. Although the story may be too gentle for fans of taut, suspenseful police procedurals, it will engage those with either a more scientific mind-set or an interest in the period. --Emily Melton