I received a digital copy of David Hutchison’s new novel, The Book of Skulls, in exchange for an honest review, as part of a blog tour, organised by Love Book Tours, and today is my stop on the tour!
“A Victorian tale of gender-bending, hidden identity, obsession and gruesome murder, set in Edinburgh’s Old Town. 1875. Liz Moliette; a poor orphan of unknown heritage, and Amulya Patel; from a wealthy Indian family, are the only female students at the Edinburgh Medical School, where a hostile attitude towards women is driven by Professor Atticus. However, Liz and Amulya have allies in fellow student Campbell Preeble, The Reekie reporter Hector Findlay and the charming Dr Paul Love.
In dire need of funds, Liz becomes assistant to gruff lecturer and police surgeon Dr Florian Blyth. When a series of grisly murders take place the doctor and Liz help Inspector Macleod in his investigation, which leads to the Edinburgh Asylum, the Burry Man festival and the quack science of phrenology.
The search for the killer comes dangerously close to Liz as she uncovers her own family secrets.“
This is the first book in the Doctresses series.
David Hutchison was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. He worked for many years as a fisherman, crofter, DJ and self-taught artist. His children’s book Storm Hags was shortlisted for the Kelpie Prize. He’s had several short stories published in anthologies (New Writing Scotland, Read By Dawn) and on BBC radio. He is also a filmmaker. He wrote and directed the sci-fi feature Graders, and comedy/meta-horror Baobhan Sith. He has just completed The Book of Skulls, a BAME and LBQT story of hidden identity and murder, inspired by Edinburgh’s murky medical history. Last year he put on the exhibition Medical Inspirations, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Edinburgh Seven; the first group of women to matriculate at a British university. He is currently working on Kore, a supernatural novel where a bank clerk is contacted through her new hearing aid by her dead girlfriend. He also teaches a class in scriptwriting and is hoping to do some online class in the autumn.
The Book of Skulls was a riveting read; I loved the setting and the way in which Hutchison describes it, it was very vivid and Victorian Edinburgh felt completely alive. There were a number of quirky and amusing characters, that made the book feel varied and layered; I really enjoyed the relationship between the two protagonists, Liz and Amulya. I love historical fiction, particularly stories that are set in the Victorian era, so this book was exactly my cup of tea.
I also loved the various themes explored in The Book of Skulls; Hutchison explores some fantastic ideas, for instance the rallying against gender norms and ideals of the Victorian era, and the prejudices of the time. By having strong female protagonists, particularly being from minority backgrounds, it poses a challenge to the societal norms and conventions.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction with a quirky and unusual edge!
Buy The Book of Skulls at:
Thank you so much to David Hutchison and Love Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this engaging and unique book! You can follow David at @davidwhutchison on both Twitter and Instagram, and follow Love Book Tours at @lovebooksgroup on Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you for reading. ❤