What a good book! The Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone takes the best parts of The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen (the medical history), and makes it an entire suspense novel. The Anatomy of Deception is set in the late 1880’s Philadelphia and told by young medical student Ephraim Carroll. Fictional Carroll is learning from the true man considered to be the instigator of modern medicine, William Osler. Here they spend their days, along with other medical students, performing autopsies (now newly legalized), and examining patients. One day, Carroll’s suspicions are peaked when Osler mysteriously refuses to autopsy a beautiful woman who comes across his table. When a fellow student dies of apparent cholera, which is later found to be poisoning, Carroll begins to suspect a sinister link, and he risks losing a new position at Johns Hopkins to discover the truth.
This book was, from what I know about the history of medicine, very accurate. It was also exciting and unique. Several of the characters actually existed, and the fictionalized ones were so well-rounded that you would think they had. The mystery is complex and intriguing, and while occasionally I became frustrated with Carroll’s naivety, the book was a perfect combination of history, gore, mystery, death, revenge, and absolution. I can’t recommend this book more to those with interests in medicine, history, or even just suspense.