The Place: Lancashire, England
The Time: 1740
The Victim: Dolores Brockletower, a squire's wife
The Detectives: Titus Cragg, a coroner, and Luke Fidelis, a doctor
"A Dark Anatomy," the first novel in a series about a pair of 18th-century sleuths, manages to instill a gritty murder tale with humor and humanity. Despite its grim subject matter, it's a delightful read.
The dead woman, a rich man's wife, is found dead in the woods, and coroner Cragg is called to investigate. He must deal with the superstitions of olde England and prickly suspects while launching an early kind of forensic investigation with the help of Fidelis, his young sidekick.
The medical issues at the heart of the murder case may be too explicit for some readers. But they may still be won over by the charming relationship between Cragg and his wife, the wonderful descriptions of the countryside and its people, and the author Blake's ever-present good humor.