Title: The Body Snatcher
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
In: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Other Strange Tales (Robert Louis Stevenson) & Gothic Short Stories (David Blair)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Dark fantasy
Format: Short story
Publisher: Kingsford Editions
5th sentence, 74th page: Few lads could have been more insensible to the impressions of a life thus passed among the ensigns of mortality.
A young man studying medicine in Edinburgh is asked by his professor to be responsible for receiving the cadavers to be dissected by the school’s students. Though he knows many are stolen from graves, he keeps his silence. Then one night he recognizes one of the cadavers as the victim of murder. Instead of turning in the culprit, he allows himself to be drawn deeper into the gruesome intrigue. But justice has the last laugh when the evidence of the man’s crimes – evidence he thought long since dissected and disposed of – mysteriously resurfaces to his everlasting horror.
This was a surprisingly dark story. It started with a slightly waffling cadence, with a sitting room and four men sitting there on a frequent basis. One of whom has an air of drunken mystery about him. As the story unfolds the reason for his drunkenness and his history are slowly revealed. And as his tale is told, the goose bumps on my arms raised higher and higher.
I’ve never been to medical school, but the idea of working on cadavers and understanding that they come from somewhere, with people to miss and want them has always made me question whether I could complete that kind of study. This story made me kind of glad that it wasn’t a field that I went into, after all, these bodies are not coming from legal or sanctioned locations….
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