My sister has a friend who buys all the latest mysteries. Every couple of months she hands over to Sandy a grocery bag full of mass market paperbacks. Since Sandy feels no need to read a mystery series in order she chooses her reading by closing her eyes and reaching into the bag. She recently came up with The Bone Garden, which she recommended strongly.
Why I had never heard of Tess Gerritsen before my sister told me about her last week I can't imagine. The woman can really write and her plot in The Bone Garden was brilliant. The two plots in the book take place more than 100 years apart but the author slowly angles them to converge at the end of the book.
In about 2006 Julia has bought herself a house in the suburbs of Boston. As she works in the overgrown yard in hopes of creating a garden she digs up the bones of a woman who was buried in the first half of the 19th century. Who can she be? Julia's search for information about the bones in her garden leads her to a relative of the last owner of her house who has an enormous collection of family letters, newspaper clippings, and other papers.
The second plot begins in the 1830s at the Massachusetts General Hospital where a country boy, Marshall Norris, has made his way into medical school against great odds. He forms a tentative friendship with three Harvard men in his class, and especially with Oliver Wendell Holmes (senior, the poet and physician.) When three horrendous murders occur near the hospital and suspicion falls on Norris, he and Holmes, with the help of a young Irish girl, must figure out who the murderer is.
All this is described carefully and gracefully by Gerritsen. The book is a stand-alone - not part of a series.
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen (2007) 370 pages. 4.5 / 5 stars