January 6 has come to be known as Sherlock Holmes’s birthday. Considering Holmes’s line of work, the “Epiphany” is as fitting a day as any other.
As scientific thinking and exploration took hold of the Victorian imagination, and the public sphere, there was a genuine sense of wonder around those who defied understanding.
Channelling the likes of Alias Grace and The Unseeing, The Poison Thread tells a terrifying tale of confinement and madness. Dorothea Truelove, a perfectly saccharine name for the Victorian charity do-gooder, is a adherent to the study of phrenology. She visits Ruth Butterham, a teenaged seamstress, in Oakgate Prison and begins to suspect there is more to the girl’s story.
My friends and family will probably say, “What makes you not pick up a book?” It’s true — I am incredibly drawn to them. A whole world exists in such a small footprint. But there are a few things that make a book irresistible to me.
Lindsey Fitzharris gives us an unflinching look at the difficult, unsettling world of early medicine through the lens of Joseph Lister’s career. Here, a fierce but kindly man can be seen as a genius with a heart, not a cold figure to be dissected.