First Blood

Good God! Are you telling me he’s a woman? Dr George Barnabas – George, not Georgina – the new forensic pathologist, causes consternation as soon as she arrives at the Royal Eastern Hospital in England. An American in exile, her irreverent attitude to the hospital and its residents is rather a shock. But when she encounters Detective Chief Inspector Gus Hathaway on her first case for the local police, sparks really fly. Richard Oxford, famous author and patron of the hospital, has been found dead in his bed. At first there seems to be nothing sinister about it: his heart just stopped – but for no apparent reason. George cannot bear a mystery: she has to know, which is why she is a pathologist. When she realises that Gus Hathaway is not taking her seriously, she is not just suspicious – she is furious. She decides she will have to do the investigating herself. Amid the sleuthing, George has to contend with an ever-increasing caseload, a constant shortage of funds; and then the disappearance of expensive equipment. But she finds a friend in fellow consultant Kate Sayers, and there is Toby Bellamy, a surgeon who is interested in her and would be eminently eligible – if George were not so unsure about his relationship with Oxford and his wife. Quite apart from Gus Hathaway, who refuses to be ignored as George stubbornly pursues her enquiries. First Blood gives us the very best of author Claire Rayner. It is the first book in a mystery series that combines ingenious crime and detection with a lively medical background, an intelligent, spirited heroine and a large and thoroughly engaging cast of characters. It will increase this popular novelist’s readership yet further.

Claire Rayner of London, UK

Claire Rayner (1931–2010) had a long and varied career. As a journalist she contributed to many popular magazines and also had work published in professional journals, including The Lancet and Nursing Times

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  • Claire Rayner wrote over 80 books, from fiction to works on a broad range of medical subjects, including sex education, home nursing, and family health