The Anatomy of Deception


In the autopsy rooms of University Hospital, West Philadelphia, the young physician, Ephraim Carroll, is being taught about death by the famous Dr William Osler. In 1889 medicine is becoming less rudimentary and death more explicable, but doctors still kill almost as many as they cure.

The corpse of a beautiful young woman haunts Ephraim and his investigations into her identity and her fate take him from the seediest parts of the city to the drawing rooms of high society. There he learns to trust no one but himself and to always watch his back.

Every now and then a novel appears that crosses out of its genre and becomes a mainstream hit. The Anatomy of Deception seems certain to do just this. It is a high-class murder mystery that puts character, plot and historical accuracy on equal footings. The mystery is extremely well thought out and involving as demanded of the genre. The intriguing – and frequently gruesome – historical details add veracity and interest, yet are applied with the lightest of touches and never used at the expense of the plot. But it is the characters who reign supreme – they are so realistic that they almost jump out of the pages and start independently breathing.

Lawrence Goldstone has written a wonderful novel and should be justly proud. I, for one, will be looking out with great anticipation for his next work of fiction.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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