Unnatural causes, natural reactions
Now finished Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd. Some mixed feelings about this one. It is, as you would expect, an engrossing tour of forensic pathology, but looming over the whole thing is Richard Shepherd. Or, more specifically, his mental health. This is flagged early in the book, pops up regularly on the way through, and his eventual diagnosis with PTSD is given some brief coverage at the end. It’s so blatantly obvious through the book it was starting to get uncomfortable and it was almost with some relief that it came out.
I did note that Shepherd has an interesting relationship with truths and facts — reporting the ‘truth’ was, at one point in his career, pivotal to his professional approach and one had the slight sense this was anchoring him throughout the stresses and strains of subverting all emotions in the most challenging of circumstances. However, he later becomes ambivalent about this and he often seems contradictory. Overall, it was hard not to read this book and not think about all the doctors and the culture of medicine where emotional detachment is a prized commodity that is valorised. And it slowly eats out people from the inside.