Hen’s Teeth – Manda Scott

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Hen's Teeth Short listed for 1997 Orange Prize

Five words from the blurb: mysteriously, dead, hens, scientists, Glaswegian

Hen’s Teeth is a thriller set on a farm near Glasgow. One of the farm’s owners is discovered to have died from a heart attack, but because her brother died in the same way, just two weeks earlier, her friends are convinced that both deaths are suspicious and they set out to discover who killed them. The only clue they have to go on is the mysterious theft of the hens…

I found this book very engaging and flew through it in just two days. The central characters were well formed and I loved the way we were given details of their back story. I also liked the way that the central characters were gay, but the relationships were portrayed so naturally that the reader barely notices.

As a former vet Manda Scott does a fantastic job with the science in this book. I often complain that science isn’t handled very well in fiction, but this book is one of the few that includes it in an intelligent way, without scaring the average reader.

My only complaint is that many aspects of the plot were far too convenient. The characters just happened to know exactly the right person to solve every problem they encountered and some of the plot points were a bit far fetched for me (the scene with guard dogs had me rolling my eyes the most!).

Despite these criticisms I found Hen’s Teeth very entertaining and I’m keen to try Manda Scott’s other books.


Have you read anything by Manda Scott?

Her Boudica books look especially interesting. Do you think I’d enjoy them?


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  1. Kailana says:

    ah, Manda Scott. An author who I have several times on my TBR pile because I think I would enjoy her, and still haven’t read… I have heard really good things about her Boudica books. I own a couple of them. I really should read them!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kailana, I don’t own any of her Boudica books, but I think I’ll enjoy them more than this. Hopefully I’ll come across the first in the series at my local library.

  2. Steph says:

    As someone who also has a keen interest in science, it is also really important to me that authors at least make some attempt to get these parts of books right, so I’m glad to hear Manda Scott does so! The premise sounds kind of fun, and I really like the cover, so while I’ve never heard of Manda Scott before, I think I will have to check her out!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I think you might enjoy this book. It doesn’t have any lasting impact, but is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

  3. This one sounds like a great read. I haven’t read many nominee for the Orange Prize. Glad to read you enjoyed this one.

  4. Louise says:

    The Boudica books are very, very different to Hen’s Teeth but I actually enjoyed them more. Very based in mythology and history. Definitely worth a read

    1. Jackie says:

      “The Boudica books are very, very different to Hen’s Teeth ”

      I thought that might be the case, but I do enjoy historical reads. Thanks for letting me know – I’ll be sure to try the first one sometime.

  5. I’ve not read Manda Scott yet, but I think I’d quite like to read this. Echoing Steph: handling science well in fiction is important, and it’s a Very Good Thing that Scott’s attempted to get it right. That’s all you can ask for, really.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, It is so rare to see good science in literature so Manda Scott needs to be given a lot of credit for that. I wish more scientifically minded people would write fiction.

  6. parrish says:

    Not an author I’ve come across and this does have a certain appeal, especially as you say the science is handled well.

    1. Jackie says:

      parrish, It is the perfect book for certain situations (for me it would be travelling on public transport) It isn’t too complicated and has a gripping plot. I think she should be more famous than she is.

  7. Jenners says:

    Sounds different in the best of ways.

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