Tuesday 18 April 2023

First Blood

Finished April 8
First Blood by Claire Rayner

This is the first in a series set and written in the early 1990s featuring pathologist George Barnabas. Barnabas is American, from Buffalo, but has worked in the UK for several years as this book begins. She has just taken a position in East London, as the chief (and only) pathologist at the Royal Eastern Hospital. 
George has also recently ended a relationship when she discovered that the man she thought she loved wasn't supportive of her career. She finds the oddity of her gender brings both positive and negative attention. 
As she finds her way into the culture of the hospital she makes some friends, encounters some misogyny, and tries hard to prove herself. When called to her first scene, it is unclear whether there is actually a crime, but the attitude of some of the men present causes her to get her back up and insist on doing a full investigation, with a range of tests. She also takes her own scene of crime Polaroid pictures based on a colleague's discovered usefulness of such a practice. 
George is lonely, both for friends and for a man in her life, and she does find some friends during the course of this book. In terms of male company, there are a couple of men who engage with her, and there is banter, but it definitely reflects the time the book was written and set in.
George is an interesting character, she has a strong sense of her professional abilities and knows what she is doing, but she is less confident in her personal life. She's made a mistake in her choice of partner before and this is part of her reaction to the potential men in her life now, but there is more than that. At times I liked her a lot and at others I felt frustrated by her actions. 
The mystery part was intriguing and I enjoyed how it came together. 

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