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A good first effort but...,
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This review is from: The Secret Anatomy of Candles (Paperback)
The author lives in Durham and his descriptions of the City run throughout the book. They seem accurate but intrusive; more at home in a travelogue than a "fast moving" novel. I found this and the almost Dickensian descriptions of some characters and places "clunky". It may have to do with Dr Smith having recently completed a creative writing course.
The book opens with the conclusion of a clinical negligence case in a jury trial in Durham magistrates court (did I mention that the author lives in Durham?). This threw me because I had believed jury trials for clinical/medical negligence to have been "banned" in the mid 1960s and for them to have been decided by a judge because of the complexity of the issues involved. I was then primed for a book set (in Durham - did I mention that the author lives there?) in the 50s/60s. But ... The protagonist and his wife drive Audi TTs, his sleazy PI drinks Black Sheep and we are post MMR scare. So 1990s to present day? Unless Dr Smith knows of a MedNeg case decided by a jury in the last 45 years this is an anachronism that starts you wondering, "What else is he going to get wrong?" Not so much suspending believe as suspending disbelief.
The main character's use of rhyming slang is obtrusive: not only because it comes in frequently but also because the full phrase is always used. For example, he would never say "Up the apples" as a real user would, but "Up the apples and pears". I'm not sure that the descriptions of his neurological symptoms accurately reflect either the disease that you are supposed to think he has or the condition that we are led to believe was the alternative diagnosis.
His dead wife's doctor refuses to give him information about her because of "Medical Confidentiality". The author professes to sell accuracy with regard to matters medicolegal. Why then does he not know that a doctor does not owe the same duty of confidentiality to a dead patient as to a live one: particularly when it is the next of kin wanting the facts. Several times the author's claim to medicolegal accuracy does not chime.
If I'd come to it without a knowledge of things medicolegal, I'd have enjoyed it more. As it was, too many things didn't compute. The cases Candles was considering therefore seem improbable.
By the way, the author lives in Durham.
Somebody, either the author or an editor, is responsible for some erratic and irritating punctuation; particularly the seemingly random use of commas. One example that sticks out is the description of York Station as a red, brick building. It's surely a red brick building or even a redbrick building. Where did that comma come from?
A good first effort. It was far from "unputdownable" in my view. I left it alone for a couple of weeks. However, the friend I gave it to when I'd finished with it stayed up all night to finish it.