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The Doctor and the Dead Man's Chest    by Robin Hathaway order for
Doctor and the Dead Man's Chest
by Robin Hathaway
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

An unlikely trio - a doctor, his nurse / receptionist and a fifteen-year-old street kid, team up to track down the perpetrator of malicious pranks in this third book in Robin Hathaway's Doctor series. The author draws on her knowledge of Philadelphia and South Jersey to write an intriguing tale of twisted minds and greed. Her protagonist, Dr. Andrew Fennimore, is not a man of his times; he still makes house calls in his professional capacity. As an amateur detective, he makes more than house calls; he solves crimes. Aided by his cohorts, Nurse Doyle and Horatio, Fennimore becomes embroiled in the nasty pranks played on an old patient and long time friend, Lydia Ashley. Someone wants her to sell her farm in the backwaters of South Jersey. In refusing, she has set herself up for horrors that threaten to be too much for her ailing heart.

Hathaway has set part of her tale in the gritty streets of Philadelphia, weaving it around interesting history that she obviously loves. Her rendering of the story of bricks, of all things, becomes important in solving the mystery. The history of South New Jersey is cleverly woven into the fabric of the book, writing that could only be done by someone who knows and feels for the area. In the story, I especially liked the author's description of Fennimore's friend and police official Dan Rafferty. 'The first thing you noticed about Dan Rafferty was his size. Doorways shrank when he graced them and people of normal stature became puny by his side. The most solid chairs seemed flimsy when he sat on them and silverware ... looked exquisitely fragile in his hands.'

Continuing the story of the characters she introduced in her award winning first book, The Doctor Digs a Grave, and brought back to us in her second, The Doctor Makes a Dollhouse Call, Robin Hathaway makes us want even more.

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