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The Bone Garden    by Tess Gerritsen order for
Bone Garden
by Tess Gerritsen
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Julia Hamill is newly divorced and has just purchased an old home in Weston Massachusetts, outside Boston. While digging in her backyard for a flower bed she discovers a skeleton. The police are brought in to investigate and Julia is told the woman was a murder victim.

This find propels Julia on a quest to find out the story behind the woman's death. Henry, an eighty-nine year old family member of the former owner of the house, lets Julia know that he has boxes of old documents, letters, and newspaper clippings. Henry is sure they will find something in these archives to identify the remains. Reading through the clippings reveals a mystery dating back to the 1830s. Central to it is a girl, Meggie, born to a young Irish immigrant.

In Boston in 1830, Norris Marshall is a talented student at the Boston Medical College. To pay for his education he takes on a job as a resurrectionist, digging up bodies to be sold on the black market. At this same time, people have been brutally murdered in and around the hospital grounds. Soon a distinguished doctor is one of the victims. Norris is accused of being the West End Reaper. To prove his innocence Norris must find the witness to one of these grisly murders, Rose Connolly, a seamstress from the slums.

Rose Connolly has watched her sister die after giving birth to a baby girl. Her sister tells her to protect the baby and keep her safe. Rose works hard to support herself and the baby but soon someone is stalking her. After meeting Norris at the hospital, Rose is drawn to this gentle, caring, young man and knows he could not be the killer they claim him to be. Rose and Norris start to gather evidence on the trail of the real killer. They witness the deplorable living and working conditions of people in the west end. They uncover corruption in the police force and also weigh the ethics of the medical school.

Tess Gerritsen has woven an old mystery in with a modern day story in The Bone Garden - this page turner is her best work to date.

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