Carol Davison with the cover of her book Bodysnatcher.Professor Carol Davison is touring the United Kingdom to promote her debut novel, Bodysnatcher.

Professor’s debut novel a gothic portrayal of depravity

English and creative writing professor Carol Margaret Davison is currently in the United Kingdom promoting her first novel, Bodysnatcher.

Bodysnatcher provides new insight into the infamous story of William Burke and William Hare, who committed murders that shook 19th century Edinburgh. The darkly gothic narrative centres on the untold story of Burke’s partner Helen “Nelly” McDougal in a visceral portrayal of love, sacrifice, and human depravity.

Told from the points of view of both Burke and Nelly, it manages to expose the psyche of a killer while also giving voice to the woman who endured his horrors. Bodysnatcher’s investment in the depiction of abusive relationships as well as its emphasis on religion and class makes it a fitting contribution to contemporary literary fiction.

Dr. Davison will undertake a guided walking tour and Edinburgh Dungeons event about bodysnatching and the Burke and Hare murders to promote her book, after which she will head to Manchester Metropolitan University to work as the visiting international professor for its intensive four-day Gothic Summer School, where she is the visiting plenary speaker.

Davison will also conduct a public interview regarding Bodysnatcher, and will cap off her tour with a workshop devoted to gothic writing and publishing.

An internationally renowned specialist in gothic and Victorian literature and the series editor for Anthem Studies in Gothic Literature, Davison is the editor of The Gothic & Death (2017) for Manchester University Press, winner of the 2019 Allan Lloyd Smith Prize for best edited collection devoted to gothic criticism — for which three of her recent publications made the shortlist of four books.

—Susan McKee