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Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill Review

Title: Printer’s Devil Court

Author: Susan Hill

First published October 14, 2013

46 pages, Kindle Edition


Rating: 3.2


Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill is a haunting tale of a country doctor haunted by his past. When a mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of his step-son, we are transported back to the doctor’s days as a junior physician in London’s Fleet Street.

In a neighborhood unchanged since Dickens’s times, he befriends two young medics who are carrying out audacious and terrifying research. Now, they need the help of a doctor with strong nerves and total discretion.

But as the doctor becomes embroiled in their experiments, he realizes that he can never un-know what he has learned. A masterful mystery by one of the greatest writers of the genre, Susan Hill.

With over 50 years of experience as a professional writer, Hill’s books have won numerous awards and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Don’t miss this gripping and suspenseful novel.

About the Author

Susan Hill, a novelist and playwright, was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referenced in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories, including “Cockles and Mussels”.

During her time at Scarborough Convent School, Hill developed an interest in theatre and literature. Her family relocated to Coventry in 1958, where her father worked in car and aircraft factories.

Hill attended Barr’s Hill, a girls’ grammar school, where she took A levels in English, French, History, and Latin. She went on to pursue an English degree at King’s College London.

During her first year at university, her first novel, The Enclosure, was published by Hutchinson. The novel was criticized by The Daily Mail for its sexual content and deemed unsuitable for a “schoolgirl”.

Hill’s subsequent novels, including Gentleman and Ladies (1968), A Change for the Better, I’m the King of the Castle, The Albatross and other stories, Strange Meeting, The Bird of Night, A Bit of Singing and Dancing, and In the Springtime of Year, were all written and published between 1968 and 1974. In 1975, Hill married Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells, and they moved to Stratford upon Avon.

They have two daughters, Jessica and Clemency. Recently, Hill established her own publishing company, Long Barn Books, which publishes one work of fiction per year.

Editoral Review

Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill is a gripping novella that combines the elements of horror, mystery, and supernatural fiction. Susan Hill is an award-winning author known for her gothic style and storytelling prowess.

This book, first published on October 14, 2013, stands out as one of her most notable works, with themes that delve into the darker aspects of humanity and the consequences of playing God. The story opens at Printer’s Devil Court, a gloomy and foreboding building in London that houses a medical clinic run by Dr. Hugh Meredith.

The setting is Victorian England, where medical practices were experimental and often unethical. Dr. Meredith admits two medical students, Peter and Charles, for a three-week course to learn medical procedures that are illegal to perform on live patients, but necessary for surgical training.

The novella revolves around the twisted nature of Dr. Meredith and the events that take place during the course. The main characters, Peter and Charles, quickly realize the macabre nature of the clinic and become entangled in a web of secrets, revenge, and murder.

The plot is well-paced, filled with suspense, and engages the reader from the first page to the last.

Hill’s writing style is elegant, eloquent, and fluid.

The descriptions of the setting and the characters are vivid and realistic, capturing the essence of the time and adding to the eerie atmosphere. The character development is masterful, with each character’s motivations and flaws being exposed gradually.

Hill’s use of symbolism and foreshadowing adds depth to the narrative, making the story-rich with meaning. The novella also has historical significance, touching on the debate on ethical medical practices that plagued the medical community of the time.

It also highlights the injustices and suffering of the lower classes that were exploited for scientific experiments. The themes in the book, therefore, transcend time and serve as a commentary on the ever-evolving human condition.

The novella is not without its limitations. The ending may leave readers wanting more, and the length of the book may not be sufficient to flesh out all the characters fully.

However, it is a beautifully crafted book overall that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Printer’s Devil Court is a must-read for lovers of gothic horror and supernatural fiction, and those with an interest in the medical practices of the Victorian era.

The book is a testament to Susan Hill’s incredible skill as a writer and her ability to keep readers in suspense until the very end. I highly recommend Printer’s Devil Court, and I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.