It’s hard being a quack in Georgian England – harder still when your patients are being secretly murdered and their deaths are being blamed on you. Charlie Rossi needs to clear his name before he is ruined… or killed himself.
It is 1780, war rages in America and, in Amsterdam, a British agent is stabbed to death while investigating a conspiracy. It seems a world away from the backstreets of Leeds, where Charlie Rossi, a young electrical healer and showman, is fighting to survive. He is being out-performed by a travelling French magician and vilified for his electrical therapies by a local physician. He is being haunted by old nightmares and hunted by new enemies. And then three of his patients, leading citizens of the town, die after receiving his treatments. When the hostile physician publicly blames the deaths on Charlie’s quackery, his whole future hangs by a
If electricity didn’t cause the deaths, what did? Can he trust the conjuror’s secretive and fiery daughter, Isabelle, enough to fall for her? Can the Hand of Truth, a mysterious stage illusion, help Charlie uncover the truth? And when he finds it, will he condemn the murderer or himself?
Set among the Yorkshire woollen mills of the early industrial revolution, The Hand of Truth weaves together mystery, medicine and magic, Georgian-style, in an atmospheric, gripping and ultimately endearing tale.
David Paton currently lives in Edinburgh. In 2008 he published “Katterfelto: Prince of Puff”, the biography of a conjuror, quack and showman who travelled Georgian Britain and who Houdini called one of the most interesting characters in the history of magic. Researching his biography inspired David to write this book. Prior to moving to Scotland, David was the Rector of St Gregory’s Bedale, a church in the North of Yorkshire where Katterfelto is buried.