Blog Tour: The Silent House of Sleep, Allan Gaw

Book Review: The Silent House of SleepDr. Jack Cuthbert Mystery Book 1, Allan Gaw

The Silent House of Sleep, Dr. Jack Cuthbert Mystery Book 1, Allen Gaw


Mystery: The Silent House of SleepDr. Jack Cuthbert Mystery Book 1, Allan Gaw

Blog Tour December 4, 2023


Many years ago I knew an elderly couple in the Los Angeles area. She was a petite woman who always dressed as though she was going to church. Her husband was a much larger man who had a dark side to him. I know they loved each other dearly. To my knowledge he never physically harmed her. But the shadows of his service in World War II never left him and eventually he took his gun and shot it in his bedroom. No one was injured. I was still in my twenties, yet the wife called me to talk to him. Looking back on it now, going into the room with a disturbed man armed with a gun is not the smartest move I’ve ever made. Still, I did speak with him, convinced him to put the gun down, and called the paramedics to take him to the hospital.


Dr. Jack Cuthbert is a tall Scotsman working as a medical examiner for Scotland Yard during the 1920s. A very odd case comes in: two bodies have been buried together in a single grave. The two bodies died at different times, yet appear to have been bound together. There is not much to go on, but Cuthbert is a student of the classics and the bodies remind him of an ancient form of execution, one of extraordinary cruelty and horror even for the time.


It would be slightly untrue to say that the case also reminds him of his time in the trenches on the western front during the first world war. It does–but flashbacks and nightmares, coping behaviors and panic attacks, all continue whether he has a disturbing case or not. Cuthbert’s memories of medical school, of armed service, and of friends, all inform his approach to his profession. They also bring terror and comfort, sometimes in the same dream.


I could not help but think of my California friends as I read this book. I will never know the kind of memories that never released that man, and through him also held his wife in thrall. Seeing him, talking to him, knowing him, showed me the power war has over the survivors as well as the victims. During these times of war, we must remember that many of the victims will have no physical wounds. Mental wounds can be every bit as life-altering, debilitating, and long lasting as those from bullets and shrapnel.


Allan Gaw is himself a pathologist and a Scotsman, although his tenure began long after that of his character. He has written several non-fiction books and medical articles, but this is his first novel.


Oh, and he does not have a cat, which is apparently important enough to be the first thing noted in “About the Author.” Given that position, it seemed remiss of me to neglect that fact.


The Silent House of Sleep is brilliantly conceived and written. Dr. Jack Cuthbert is a truly exceptional character. I am excited that this is described as “the first” novel about this pathologist. He is a deeply troubled man. He is also highly ethical, committed to advancing his profession, brilliant, an unevenly conscientious mentor, and unfailingly loyal to his friends. All of these blend together to make a protagonist that I look forward to getting to know much better in subsequent cases.


Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of The Silent House of Sleep, provided so we could give an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this novel, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

The Silent House of Sleep, Dr. Jack Cuthbert Mystery Book 1, Allen Gaw

Book Review: The Silent House of SleepDr. Jack Cuthbert Mystery Book 1, Allan Gaw

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