An irresistible mystery set in 1890s Edinburgh, Kaite Welsh's THE WAGES OF SIN features a female medical student-turned-detective, and will thrill fans of Sarah Waters and Antonia Hodgson.
'Historical fiction doesn't get much more delicious or original' Damian Barr
'This powerful novel combines a disturbing look at late Victorian attitudes towards women and morality with a satisfying murder mystery' Sunday Express
Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh's first intake of female medical students, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and - perhaps worst of all - her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman...
When one of Sarah's patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh's dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers - and a confrontation with her own past.
What readers are saying about THE WAGES OF SIN:
'Sarah Gilchrist is a brilliant lead character. Atmospheric and evocative. Well worth a read'
'A fascinating exploration of how women were treated in Victorian times, enveloped in a dark murder mystery. It kept me guessing and kept me wanting more. One of my favourite historical fictions ever'
'A punchy, feminist page-turner with a wonderful sense of atmosphere'
In Welsh's moving, nuanced first novel, a late Victorian whodunit, Sarah Gilchrist decides to make a new start after an acquaintance sexually assaults her, a traumatic experience that her proper family views as a source of shame. Sarah moves from London to Edinburgh to attend medical school, where she's bullied by her male colleagues and shunned by some of her female ones. In addition to keeping up with her studies, Sarah assists at Saint Giles's Infirmary for Women and Children, a clinic for the indigent. Lucy Collins, a pregnant prostitute, seeks an abortion at Saint Giles's, but the director sends her away. Four nights later, Sarah is shocked to see that the body in the medical school dissection room is Lucy's. Her professor suggests death was caused by a laudanum overdose, but Sarah notices bruises and other marks that suggest Lucy was assaulted, reminding her of her own victimization. Superior characterizations and convincing period detail make up for the routine sleuthing that ensues.