Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Author transitions from Medical History to Medical Mystery

The Anatomy of Deception

 By Lawrence Goldstone 

The tale centers on a group of young doctors attending the University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the tutelage of Dr. William Osler, a renowned pathologist and physician.  The protagonist, a Midwesterner named Ephraim Carroll, is Osler’s prize student who in first person recounts the events surrounding this mystery set in 1889 Philadelphia.
From the opening scene in the Dead House, the morgue attached to Philadelphia General Hospital where autopsies are being conducted on the unclaimed bodies of the inner city, to the salons in the grand homes of the City of Brotherly Love, to the seedy alleys of the cities waterfront, Lawrence Goldstone crafts a suspenseful tale of intrigue, keeping the reader slightly off-balance throughout this book which is peppered with historical characters from the early days of "modern medicine". Both William Osler and William Stewart Halsted, a prominent surgeon, were two of the founding doctors of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and play key roles in this novel.

Goldstone, known for writing narrative history of natural science and political science, successfully ventures into the realm of fiction with Anatomy of Deception.  He effectively blends the history of medical advancements of that era with a deft telling of a suspenseful murder mystery involving a young Philadelphia debutante.

I recommend this book and look forward to reading his latest offering The Astronomer.

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