Goldstone, Lawrence. The Anatomy of Deception.
Set in Philadelphia in 1889, this medical mystery is full of suspense, interesting characters, and fascinating historic medical detail.
The novel opens with Dr. William Osler (one of the real characters in the book) leading students and practicing physicians to the Dead House, the morgue that provided anatomical training for University of Pennsylvania Medical School, to observe the dissection of several cadavers.
When the coffin containing the body of an attractive young woman is opened, all present are somewhat distressed. The lesson is concluded with the excuse that there isn't enough time for this last corpse. Young Dr. Ephraim Carroll, who has come to Philadelphia specifically to study with Dr. Osler, finds the abrupt conclusion disconcerting and suspects that the nameless young woman has been recognized by at least two individuals.
Goldstone smoothly incorporates information from the real Dr. Osler's notes on actual autopsies he performed and information from a manuscript Osler wrote but instructed to be kept sealed for fifty years after his death.
An interesting forensic thriller that reveals a bit of the bohemian art world, social mores of the time, interesting medical history, and a glimpse of the conflicts concerning medical advances.
Fiction. Historical mystery. 2008. 340 pages.