Author: Ian Flitcroft
Published: 2013 by Legend Press
Read: December 2013
Categories: Fiction, contemporary
Why it made it to the top of the pile: A Netgalley request that piqued my interest
Trivia Tidbit: Ian Flitcroft's day job is eye surgery at a children's hospital in Ireland
Full Disclosure: Advance Reading Copy courtesy the publisher and Netgalley
Throughout the book there are extensive references to La Physiologie du Gout (The Physiology of Taste) by Jean Brillat-Savarin, which sets out Brillat-Savarin's vision for gastronomy as a true science. This was published in 1825, two months before the author's death, and is critical both to the rules of the Shadow Faculty and the structure of the story. The novel recounts the events leading up to and following Professor Plantagenet's death, via meetings of the Shadow Faculty and by the activities of Patrick Eccles, one of the students of Professor Augustus Bloom, another faculty member. The story branches out to cover Eccles' encounters with a haughty roommate as well as police interviews and arrests, rowing, punting, ghosts, meetings of the society and attendant recipes and even an almost romantic storyline. It is as busy as it sounds, and unfortunately gets a little bogged down in the detail of all these separate parallel story lines. This is a shame, because it is an interesting concept, but by the end the reading was exhausting (and I was not even remotely hungry!).