The Anatomist’s Apprentice : Dr. Thomas Silkstone

  • by Tessa Harris
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: Dr. Thomas Silkstone
  • 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the first in a stunning mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective.
The death of Lord Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man - except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.
Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment, he agrees to examine Lord Edward’s corpse. But it is not only the dead but also the living to whom he must apply the keen blade of his intellect. And the deeper the doctor’s investigations go, the greater the risk that he will be consigned to the ranks of the corpses he studies.
Tessa Harris, born in Lincolnshire, holds a history degree from Oxford University, and after four years of working with local newspapers she set her sights on women’s magazines. She is regularly heard on local BBC radio and over the years has interviewed such people as Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Archer, Anthony Hopkins, Susan Hampshire, Alan Titchmarsh, Jackie Stewart, Boris Johnson, and Uri Geller. She lives in Berkshire with her husband and their two children.

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What the Critics Say

CSI meets The Age of Reason…Welldrawn, intriguing cast of characters…Full of twists and turns…Vivid details…A pageturner!” (Karen Harper, New York Times best-selling author)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Gruesome but Deftly Plotted

First Simon Vance does a good job with his narration, always does. I thought he did an excellent job with the voices, especially differentiating the young doctor's Philadelphian accent from that of the English characters.

I rather wish that the author of the other review had given some examples of historical errors. I didn't catch anything glaring although I did have some questions. I gave some thought to the estate being passed by inheritance but I just assumed that someone earlier had barred the entail on the estate in question. The book felt more like Andrew Taylor's Anatomy of a Ghost (also available on Audible) than Anne Perry's mysteries. Anne Perry's books generally take some social justice issue and weaves the mystery around how the issue leads up to the crime or impedes the detection of the crime. This mystery is kept within the framework of 18th century thought and social mores with a bit of a forensic stretch now and then.

There are a couple of rather gruesome post mortem examinations so don't try to listen to this one when eating. If you want to follow up with some true 18th century crimes there are several editions of the Newgate Calendar available for free on line and a great web site called Voices of the Old Bailey.

Although it contains a love story it isn't a genre romance and doesn't follow romance conventions.

Recommended for those who enjoy historical mysteries.
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- Sires

Wilkie Collins meets Quincy

What did you love best about The Anatomist’s Apprentice?

The way, just as you thought you knew where the story was going, it changed on you.


What did you like best about this story?

The book has the appropriate mixture of period information, without it becoming a largely historical fiction tale with only a slight dash of mystery. For a mystery fan, you want a true mystery, with a taste of history mixed in for fun, not the other way around. This book does it right.


Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

Doctor Thomas Silkstone.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The true birth of CSI !


Any additional comments?

If you have read Wilkie Collins and enjoy his stories, you will enjoy this book. It is a Wilkie Collins-ish suspense tale, taking place in the 1780's in England. There is some CSI like work done by the main character mixed in for interest. Simon Vance is outstanding as usual, with his characterization of all the players right on the money. There is just the right amount of period detail to let you feel as if you are in the 1700's, without the boring minutiae of detail that I find in some historical mysteries. I will definitely be buying the next installment of Dr. Thomas Silkstone.

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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-27-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.