The Anatomy of Deception Author:Lawrence Goldstone A mesmerizing forensic thriller that thrusts the reader into the operating rooms, drawing rooms, and back alleys of 1889 Philadelphia, as a young doctor grapples with the principles of scientific process to track a daring killer. — In the morgue of a Philadelphia hospital, a group of physicians open a coffin and uncover the corpse of a beautiful ... more »young woman. What they see takes their breath away. Within days, one of them strongly suspects that he knows the woman's identity... and the horrifying events that led to her death. But in this richly atmospheric novel - an ingenious blend of history, suspense and early forensic science - the most compelling chapter is yet to come, as young Ephraim Carroll is plunged into a maze of murder, secrets and unimaginable crimes....
Dr. Ephraim Carroll came to Philadelphia to study with a leading professor, the brilliant William Osler, believing that he would gain the power to save countless lives. As America hurtles toward a new century, medicine is changing rapidly, in part due to the legalization of autopsy - a crime only a few years before. But Carroll and his mentor are at odds over what they glimpsed that morning in the hospital's Dead House. And when a second mysterious death is determined to have been a ruthless murder, Carroll can feel the darkness gathering around him - and he ignites an investigation of his own.
Soon he is moving between the realm of elite medicine, Philadelphia high society, and a teeming badlands of criminality and sexual depravity along the city's fetid waterfront. With a wealthy, seductive woman clouding his vision, the controversial artist Thomas Eakins sowing scandal, and the secrets of the nation's powerful surgeons unraveling around him, Carroll is forced to confront an agonizing moral choice - between exposing a killer, undoing a wrong, and, quite possibly, protecting the future of medicine itself.« less
This book fits into one of my favorite genres: medical historical fiction from the 1800s.
In all, this book was entertaining and suspenseful enough to keep me engaged until the very end. The mystery surrounding the murders is fairly well done, and the additional layer involving medical ethics of the time adds an extra element that helped to move the story along without being overdone.
While I enjoyed the book, there was something about it that seemed to fall a little flat. Perhaps it was because most of the characters, while well done, were actually a little bit unlikable. There is a resolution at the end, but it is not a very feel-good ending and because of that I found little joy in the final solution.
For someone looking for an entertaining period piece of medical historical fiction, this is a good selection. I would recommend it to a friend willingly, although I might not recommend it with much enthusiasm.
This book was a genre I don't often read but it was an era that I enjoy reading about and the topic was intriguing. It's a good book that also lends one to question the morality and rights and wrongs during the formulation of our Scientific and Medical break throughs. It had me guessing the whole way through who really was the culprit. So needless to say I did enjoy reading this book.
It is 1889 and young Dr. Carroll comes to Philadelphia to study medicine under the auspices of Dr. Osler, a brilliant man ahead of his time. One day while doing autopsies, Dr. Osler acts very strange upon coming upon the corpse of a young and beautiful girl. Another young doctor, "Turk", also behaves oddly and both reactions are noted by Dr. Carroll. Dr. Carroll has a suspicion of something being a little weird when Turk invites him out at night, something he has never done before. Then the next day Turk is found dead and matters really begin to get worse. It is well written, I thought, and atmospheric of the time period. The many insights into how medicine was at that time and some of the new developments were quite interesting, insightful and informative.
Ephraim Carroll is a physician in 1889 Philadelphia, whose career is about to take off. He is being asked by his mentor Dr. Osler to join him at the new Johns Hopkins hospital, where the latest surgical techniques will be taught by a pioneering surgeon. During an autopsy session, Dr. Carroll notices a curious reaction on the part of Dr. Carroll and a fellow doctor (Turk) to one of the corpses. It is the body of a pretty young woman, well-kept, not one of the typical, poor human beings that are usually brought in for autopsies (at that time, autopsies were viewed by many to be a desecration of the human body). During a dinner Dr. Carroll hears that the daughter of a well-to-do family has disappeared and her friend asks him to help find her, because she has reason to believe that she might have contacted a doctor or hospital. He suspects that the body in the morgue is the missing woman, but when he checks the "Dead House" the body is no longer there.
He embarks on a search to find out what has happened to the woman, and finds himself befriending and being threatened not only by the seedier parts of society, but also by powerful families. When a fellow doctor is killed, he begins to unravel the secrets of his present and future mentors and ultimately has to make a choice between exposing (and ruining) a brilliant surgeon (which would most likely throw back surgery and thus condemning hundreds of future patients to die unnecessarily), and saving the life of a fellow colleague.
The story is fictional, but the characters are based on real persons, and the techniques used and state of medicine at the time are accurate. It was an informative read, and had well-fleshed-out characters. I enjoyed this book.