Posted: October 5, 2009 in Uncategorized


I am reading An Empty Death by Laura Wilson as part of my Reading the Ellis Peters Shortlist project. The story involves multiple murders in a London hospital during the Second World War, and although it has taken me some time to get into the story I am now engrossed in the various strands of the plot and the characters.

The inbred world of the medical profession and hospitals, before accountants and management gurus took over, are two of the very few subjects that I know something about because my father’s elder brother, a surgeon, was superintendent of a London hospital throughout the Second World War.

Do I resist the temptation in my review to point out my minor doubts about certain aspects of the plot? After all…. and this novel is after all starting to grab me.

[The photographs date from the late 1920s, but attitudes and the hierarchy in hospitals were not much different in the 1960s]
  1. >Uriah, I know what you mean about being tempted to point out minor flaws, even in a book that's got you spellbound. A good review does both things – it discusses what makes the book work and it brings up the book's flaws. I'll look forward to your review of An Empty Death; I enjoy mysteries that take place against specific historical backdrops like this one, and I'll be interested to hear what you say about the book.

  2. Dorte H says:

    >Well, as long as you make it clear they are minor flaws I think it is fair enough. After all, very few novels are absolutely flawless.

  3. >I am not quite sure yet if the good points of the book are going to completely counteract my quibbles. Or whether my minor quibbles will become a major deal. But that is all part of the excitement of reading a novel. Thanks Margot and Dorte for your comments.

  4. >I need to think about my review. There are so many good things about the book but the premise of the plot relies on actions about which I have major doubts.

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