Hardcover (Profile Books, 128 pages)
First published 2013; this edition published 2014)
Rating on Goodreads: 2 stars
“A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.
Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.”
First of all, what a beautiful, beautiful cover. I mean, look at it. It’s gorgeous. It’s textured, too, which makes it all the more lovely.
However, the story within wasn’t nearly so lovely to read. In fact, it was dull. Extremely dull. And the science didn’t really make sense – granted, it’s more of a ghost story than a piece of science fiction, but you’d expect the science to add up, wouldn’t you?
The characters are unexciting and not nearly fleshed-out enough. I found that I didn’t really care about any of them, even Meredith. Their experiments are suitably horrific enough, but if I want horrific experiments, I know I’ll stick to Shelley in the future. Frankenstein portrayed the horror of morality in science far better than Printer’s Devil Court has. I know Susan Hill is supposed to be masterful at ghost stories, but truly? I’m not seeing it here. All I see is a jumbled mess of characters and half-baked ideas. If only Hill could have properly meshed them together. Perhaps then it would have been suitably gripping.