Crown, Jul 2002, 25.00, 369 pp.
Biographer Martin Nanther researches an ancestor, his great-grandfather who earned the family its peerage. The most interesting item Martin finds is a letter written five decades after the death of his subject by a daughter. The woman claimed that her father Henry was not a good person. Following up on that intriguing memo, Martin discovers that much of Henry's life remains hidden in gray mystery. He learns that Henry, a physician of Queen Victoria, was considered an expert on hemophilia who obtained peerage in 1896. Something changed inside Henry when his friend Richard Fox Hamilton died.
Henry kept a mistress for years and a relationship with an aristocrat that seemed heading to the altar, but tossed both out when he became engaged to Eleanor Henderson. When someone murders his fiancee, Henry simply married her sister. Martin finds no solace as he begins to unravel the mystery of Henry, the engineer of a crime that hits so close to the biographer that his findings only substantiate the gene pool the two men share.
THE BLOOD DOCTOR is a tremendous psychological suspense that uses biographical fiction as a tool to tell two stories one from the past and one from the present. Barbara Vine cleverly insures neither story line falters and ultimately merges together into a strong tale that is part detective and part relationship drama. Fans of the sub-genre will fully relish this tale that shines a light on the darkest elements of the Nanther souls.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner