Tag Archives: victorian novel

71. D.E. Meredith on Doctor Forrest: “Howling-at-the-moon kind of Gothic”

The author Denise Meredith is someone with whom I’ve lately become Twitter pals, and she and I are kindred spirits in our love of the fog-beset and gas-lit aura of Victorian crime literature. In this line Denise has begun a series of mysteries centred on the double-act of pioneering forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his mortuary sidekick Albert Roumande. The first was Devoured (2010), the second, just published, The Devil’s Ribbon, a deliciously dark and page-turning treat for all souls who are similarly drawn to the red meat of sensation.
Denise was recently asked by the Writers Read blog to offer some impressions of things she’s enjoyed reading lately, and she was kind enough to give Doctor Forrest the following reference (in which I especially like the comment about women):

“This book is a one off. Highly original, despite the fact the book is (in many ways) a homage to all things gothic – think Dorian Gray, meets Bram Stoker, meets Dr Faustus meets Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde meets I’m not sure what. It’s about three middle aged men, once schoolboy friends, now medical doctors. One of them – Dr Forrest, a vain, sexy cosmetic surgeon – goes missing, presumed dead. The men have complex relationships with each other, mainly revolving around failed ambitions, lies, envy, ego and their relationships with women. It’s very intriguing on the last score, especially reading it as a woman. I loved Kelly’s emotional honesty, his take on London which was spot on from the slightly scuzzy impression of Parliament Hill and Hampstead Heath to the oh so hopelessly middle class-ness of serving up scallops and salsa verde for dinner. As if. Only in Hampstead, darling! I relished the descriptions of cloying bourgeoisie pretension, overarched by howling at the moon kind of gothic. Just what the doctor ordered, especially as my current book’s set in London, too!”

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23. Charles Palliser commends Doctor Forrest

No literary-minded soul with a love for the fiction of the nineteenth century/Victorian era could fail to be an admirer of the contemporary novelist Charles Palliser, whose The Quincunx: The Inheritance of John Huffam, with its richly repaid debts of love to Dickens and Wilkie Collins, was so deservedly a sensation on first publication in 1989-1990. The Sensationist, Betrayals and The Unburied have since followed, all very different but equally marvellous works. I’ve never met Mr Palliser but he was so kind as to read an early copy of The Possessions of Doctor Forrest and I’m really delighted to report that he had the following words to say:

‘I found it gripping and most unusual. It’s fiendishly clever in the way it keeps the reader guessing. I had an inkling of what was really going on because of the witty use of literary parallels but I hadn’t worked out more than a part of it and it kept me intrigued to the end. It combines the mystery element of a good detective novel with the creepiness of a horror story. And as an added bonus, the author writes good prose: colloquial and vivid.’
Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx

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