Forensic foray: Falkirk pathologist turns his hand to crime fiction with hard hitting debut novel

A local pathologist has literally “written what he knows” and come up with a debut novel featuring a “forensic heavy” tale of horrific double homicide in the late 1920s.
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Allan Gaw worked as a doctor and pathologist for over 30 years in the NHS and at universities across the UK and in the USA and now he is using his experiences in pathology as the template for novels featuring his hero Dr Jack Cuthbert.

The first story – Allan’s debut – The Silent House of Sleep, was released this week

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If you like your crime fiction with a strong forensic slant you will enjoy meeting Dr Cuthbert, a Scottish pathologist who works with Scotland Yard between the wars.

Pathologist Allan Gaw has just released his debut novel, The Silent House of Sleep, following the cases of Dr Jack Cuthbert
(Picture: Submitted)Pathologist Allan Gaw has just released his debut novel, The Silent House of Sleep, following the cases of Dr Jack Cuthbert
(Picture: Submitted)
Pathologist Allan Gaw has just released his debut novel, The Silent House of Sleep, following the cases of Dr Jack Cuthbert (Picture: Submitted)

When not one but two corpses are discovered in a London Park in 1929, Jack has to use every tool at his disposal — first to identify them and then to work out just how they have died. The truth is more shocking than even he could have imagined. But why has their killer chosen such a horrific means of death?

As he works the case, Jack realises that history rarely stays in the past and he has brought more than memories back from the war. And even in the final moments, there is still one last revelation that leaves him reeling.

Allan said: “They say, ‘write about what you know’. So, as a pathologist, it was obvious what my subject would be, but less obvious that I should set my story between

the wars.

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"I did that because it’s such a fascinating era, not just from a social perspective but also from a forensic science one. But it meant a lot of research. I know how

pathologists work today, but what was it like to do my job back in 1929 when the book is set?

"What tools did Jack Cuthbert have at his disposal and how would he best use them to solve complex forensic problems? I hope the result is a story that’s both

entertaining and compelling with quite a few shudders along the way."

Allan will be reading from his novel and offering signed copies at the next Words with Seagulls event at 2pm on Sunday, December 17 at the Tolbooth Tavern, Tolbooth Street, Falkirk.

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