A forensic pathologist and a forensic scientist combine their talents to start a private practice in the Wye Valley of Wales.
Richard Pryor returns from Singapore in 1955 with enough money to start a practice using the big house he has inherited from an aunt as headquarters. His new partner is Angela Bray, a former Home Office scientist who’s looking for a change after a nasty breakup with her police-officer boyfriend. With their lab tech Sian, their housekeeper and secretary Moira, and their odd-jobs man Jimmy all eager to help, they slowly build up a steady list of postmortems and testing cases for both government and private entities. Two of their inquiries stand out. The first involves trying to identify some bones which are being claimed by two different people. The second may be a case of murder. When the daughter of a prominent barrister is found drowned, he asks Pryor to redo the autopsy because he suspects that her husband, who wanted a divorce, may have killed her. The new firm’s slow, careful investigations yield some surprising results.
In a major departure from his medieval Crowner John series (The Manor of Death, 2009, etc.), Knight, a retired Home Office pathologist, paints a realistic picture of all the job involves. There are no fireworks, just a quietly entertaining look at both an interesting field and life in a Great Britain emerging from the privations of World War II.