A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry, Canongate 2021

DISCLAIMER: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is the third outing for Ambrose Parry, the wife and husband team of consultant anaesthetist Dr. Marisa Haetzman and crime writer Chris Brookmyre, and once again I have to admit it’s another absolutely cracking tale of mystery and murder.

This time around, the team of Will Raven, Sarah Fisher, and Dr. James Simpson have to deal with two seemingly unconnected mysteries. First up is the apparent murder of the well-to-do Sir Alastair Douglas by his son Gideon. Much to Raven’s surprise, he is drawn into the mystery when Gideon, an old adversary from his college days, asks him to help prove his innocence. At the same time Sarah, recently returned from Europe, is called upon to find out what happened to the child of the Simpson’s housemaid, an investigation made difficult by the fact the child was anonymously given up for adoption some years before. However, it’s only when the two of them begin to work together on their respective cases that they start to make headway with their investigations. And then there’s the mystery of the gruesome packages being fished out of the water at the Port of Leith.

Compared to the previous two novels, this one gets off to a bit of a slow start. We’re given a fair bit of filler and backstory early on, though unsurprisingly this all bears fruit later in the narrative. However, the pace soon picks up as the two main characters settle into their respective stories, and before long the narrative is fairly galloping along. As with The Way of All Flesh and The Art of Dying, it’s the details that bring the story to life, and there are subtle clues and threads hidden throughout the text, many of which only reveal their relevance as the protagonists piece together their own parts of the puzzle.

One thing that did stand out for me was the development of both Will Raven and Sarah Fisher. They’re still being infuriatingly dense when it comes to expressing their feelings for each other, but their skills as detectives have come along in leaps and bounds from the first two novels. Whereas they almost stumbled blindly into the various clues and answers in the first two books, in this one they seem much more assured of their roles in uncovering the truth of the mysteries they have been presented with. This is even more apparent when they work together, with both of them playing up to the strengths and expectations of their respective social positions.

All in all, this is another great book, and definitely on a par with the first two. If you haven’t sampled the delights of Ambrose Parry yet then I strongly urge you to give the series a try, and if you have already devoured the first two books then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one just as much. I just hope there’s going to be more to come.

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