Synopses & Reviews
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 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....
"Goldstone, an acclaimed popular historian (Out of the Flames; The Friar and the Cipher), marks out new terrain with his compelling fiction debut, a medical thriller set in 1889 Philadelphia. The narrator, Ephraim Carroll, a young, idealistic and somewhat nave doctor, works alongside the real-life William Osler, often described as the father of modern medicine. Carroll is troubled when Osler, the head of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania medical school, forgoes an autopsy of a woman without explanation. Carroll's curiosity is further piqued after George Turk, a colleague who also seemed unsettled by Osler's actions, dies, apparently of cholera. When Turk's autopsy reveals trace amounts of arsenic, Carroll's suspicions of foul play are confirmed. Goldstone artfully integrates a manuscript the actual Dr. Osler wrote and ordered sealed for half a century after his death. With this top-notch historical page-turner and his proven versatility in nonfiction, Goldstone can expect to win over many new fans." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Readers who enjoy Anne Perry's and Caleb Carr's psychological thrillers will welcome Goldstone's brooding, paranoiac addition to the genre." Booklist
"Part romance, part mystery and part history, The Anatomy of Deception has something to satisfy everyone." Bookreporter.com
"If you enjoyed The Interpretation of Murder, you'll be gripped by this haunting and atmospheric thriller." Tess Gerritsen
"Packed with historical asides and real-life figures." Entertainment Weekly
"A clever and entertaining tale...set in the surgical theaters and medical research halls of late-19th century Philadelphia and Baltimore." Los Angeles Times
"Colorful and highly informative....Evokes the evolving medical profession and the art world in late-19th-century America." USA Today
About the Author
Lawrence Goldstone, with his wife Nancy, is the author of two critically acclaimed narrative histories of science. He has written for the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.