Listen free for 30 days

Past Mortems

Life and death behind mortuary doors
Narrated by: Imogen Church
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A day in the life of Carla Valentine - curator, pathology technician and 'death professional' - is not your average day. She spent 10 years training and working as an Anatomical Pathology Technologist: where the mortuary slab was her desk and that day's corpses her task list.

Past Mortems tells Carla's stories of those years and investigates the body alongside our attitudes towards death - shedding light on what the living can learn from the dead and the toll the work can take on the living souls who carry it out. Fascinating and insightful, Past Mortems reveals the truth about what happens when the mortuary doors swing shut or the lid of the coffin closes.

©2017 Carla Valentine (P)2017 Little Brown

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Excruciating narration.

I'd love to be able to leave a review based on the book itself but I couldn't get past the absolutely excruciating efforts of the narrator. The story is told in a style that flits between irritating and weirdly condescending, and characters' voices are performed in a way that is literally painful to listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Requesting a refund

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Im only two hours in and requesting a refund... not exciting at all

What was most disappointing about Carla Valentine’s story?

The narrator is awful, her voice just irritated me.

Would you be willing to try another one of Imogen Church’s performances?

Absolutely not

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment, it was boring.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and entertaining

I loved every second of this book. As someone who also has wanted to work with the dead it was a brilliant onsite into a world not a lot of people know about or want to.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Braggy.

The author's tone has an overwhelmingly annoying sense of "Hey look how special I am, a short girly female involved with the dead, being this unique somehow grants me the right to be patronising and cocky."

Yeah, no. The fact that I wasn't able to finish this audiobook may be down to the narrator, but the overall tone of the book is braggy and patronising. It somehow lacks a level of human depth I've found in other similarly themed books.

The author obviously has interesting stories to tell and some parts do have educational value, but if you're looking for a more balanced, grown-up, non-braggy insight into death and dying, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty definitely delivers.

Other amazing books on the topic of death include All That Remains by Sue Black (who is incredibly accomplished in her field and yet incredibly humble and grounded) and Unnatural Causes by Dr. Richard Shepherd.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So good- funny, informative and also heart felt.

This book is so good. Very entertaining and easy to listen to. Full of humour but also emotion and very interesting and informative.

Don’t hesitate to buy it! Carla has such an engaging way of writing you will love it I promise!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic read

it has taken me just a day and a half to listen - couldnt put it down. i actually bought the book last year but wanted to listen to the audible to ensure i was pronouncing the medical terms correctly in my head!!!!
thoroughly engaging - gives a fantastic insight into an otherwise unknown world.
thankyou Carla for welcoming me into your world.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • Newcastle Emlyn
  • 06-04-18

A book that was hard to put down. <br />

I really enjoyed past mortems as it was a very honestly about a topic most people shy away from. Beautifully written with an open, frank look at the work people do in the mortuary. It may sound off putting but in reality it opens people's eyes to the truth about death and the causes of death. The effect of had on her life and the choices she made during difficult times.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

one of the best ive listened to and read!

my favourite book of all time! the performance is so well done. i really hope we hear more from carla valentine :)