Review: ‘Fatal Evidence’, by Helen Barrell

aFatal Evidence

Published By: Pen & Sword History

Publication Date: 4th September 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473883413

Format: Hardback

Price: £15.99

Blurb

If there was a suspected poisoning in Victorian Britain, Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor was one of the toxicologists whose opinion would be sought. A surgeon and chemist at Guy’s Hospital in London, he used new techniques to search human remains for evidence that had previously been unseen. As well as finding telltale crystals of poison in test tubes, he could identify blood on clothing and weapons, and he used hair and fibre analysis to catch killers.

Taylor is perhaps best remembered as an expert witness at one of Victorian England’s most infamous trials – that of William Palmer, ‘The Rugeley Poisoner’. The case of the strychnine that wasn’t there haunted Taylor, setting up controversial rivalries with other scientists that would last decades. It overshadowed his involvement in hundreds of other intriguing cases, such as The Waterloo Bridge Mystery; The Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead; and the investigation into female impersonators, Boulton and Park. Crime struck even at the heart of Taylor’s own family, when his nephew’s death became the focus of The Eastbourne Manslaughter.

Taylor wrote many books and articles on forensic medicine; he became required reading for all nineteenth-century medical students. He gave Charles Dickens a tour of his laboratory, and Wilkie Collins owned copies of his books on poisons. Taylor’s work was known to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and he inspired the creation of fictional forensic detective Dr Thorndyke; for Dorothy L. Sayers, Taylor’s books were ‘the back doors to death’.

From crime scene to laboratory to courtroom – and sometimes to the gallows – this is the world of Alfred Swaine Taylor and his fatal evidence.

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Poem: I should have known

I should have realised
Long ago
There’s something a little off 
About me.

Everyone knew how
To act
To react
To interact
Inate instructions calling time
Picking up the rules and the rhyme.

No one told me the rules of the game
Or even that we were playing, with
No choice but to play.

I learnt the rules, or a strange
Version thereof from
Books.

Because nobody bothered to sit down
And explain the rules of the game, or
that I had to play.

So when i say or do
The wrong thing, try remembering
You knew the rules, how to act, interact, react,
And I’m still learning with every book I read.

 

 

I wrote a poem last night, it’s had some compliments from a number of people. I’m quite pleased with the metaphor and hopefully it gets the message across.

Review: ‘The One That Got Away’, by Annabel Kantaria

Published By: HQ

Publication Date: 21st September 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781848455122

Format: Paperback (also available as an ebook)

Price: £7.99

Blurb

First comes the invitation…

Something makes Stella click ‘yes’ to attending her school reunion.

Followed by the affair…

It’s been fifteen years since Stella and George last saw each other. Their relationship may have ended badly, but there’s still an undeniable spark between them.

Then

the consequences…

But, once someone gets you back, what if they never let you go again?

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Review: ‘The Watcher’, by Ross Armstrong

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Published by: HQ

Publication Date: 21st September 2017

Format: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 9780008181178

Price: £7.99

Blurb

She’s watching you, but who’s watching her?

Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours.

Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.

But can Lily really trust everything she sees?

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Review: ‘Black & White’, by Nick Wilford

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Publication Date: 18th September 2018

Published by: Superstar Peanut Publishing

I.S.B.N.: 9781370304622

Format: e-book

 

Blurb

What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

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