Thursday, December 4, 2014
A Curiously good novel
In New York, a tunnel at a construction site leads to a storage area where there are the bones of thirty-six people.
Nora Kelly a museum archaeologist at the New York Museum of Natural History is asked to use her expertise to help learn the time when the bodies were placed in this area. She tells officials that the bodies date back to 130 years prior by an unknown serial killer.
Special Agent Pendergast and Dr. Kelly work together to learn more. The construction site was the area where a costly building project was underway and access to the site is denied as construction continues.
Kelly and Pendergast are assisted by a sergeant of the New York Police Department named O'Shaughnessy and Kelly's on again off again boyfriend, reporter William Smithback, Jr.
Gradually, the investigators look at historical records from the Museum and other reference areas. They learn of the serial killer was creating a cabinet of curiosities where unusual items were placed for personal or public interest. As the investigation leads to a mysterious doctor in the past, a copy-cat killer begins killing people in New York. This killer is dubbed "The Surgeon" by news media.
The story is cleverly penned with most unusual and interesting characters. Agent Pendergast likes to investigate unusual cases. He also has the ability to go back in time to get more facts to aid with the case he's working on. Bill and Nora have been seeing each other and seem just about to move in together when complications in this case get in the way.
A further complication is that Nora's boss, Roger Brisbane, is a controlling person who is trying to cut costs at the Museum and doesn't want Dr. Kelly taking on pro-bono work with the FBI.
There are numerous plot twists and we read the novel as if were were trying to fill in the answers to a "New York Times Sunday Puzzle" The action begins slowly but builds up with lightening speed so the concluding moments pass by quickly and in a suspenseful manner.