The Bone Garden: Book summary and reviews of The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

The Bone Garden

A Novel

By Tess Gerritsen

The Bone Garden

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Book Summary

Present day: Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder.

Boston, 1830: In order to pay for his education, medical student Norris Marshall has joined the ranks of local “resurrectionists”–those who plunder graveyards and harvest the dead for sale on the black market. But when a distinguished doctor is found murdered and mutilated on university grounds, Norris finds that trafficking in the illicit cadaver trade has made him a prime suspect.

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"Starred Review. Entices readers to keep turning pages long after their bedtimes." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
the ultimate cold case
The Bone Garden is the 13th stand-alone novel by Tess Gerritsen. While it is not a Rizzoli/Isles book, Maura Isles does make a fleeting appearance at the beginning of the book. The novel tells two stories set in different time periods. The present day story concerns recently-divorced Julia Hamill who uncovers the skeleton of a female murder victim whilst digging the garden of her just-purchased home. It turns out the body has been buried sometime before 1840, and Julia is intrigued about the circumstances of the murder and burial. Then Henry Page, the elderly cousin of Hilda Chamblett, the recently-deceased former owner of Julia’s house, contacts her with information which may solve the puzzle. As they sift through the letters and newspaper clippings Hilda left behind, the main story comes out. It occurs in 1830 in Boston, where medical student Norris Marshall is engaging in grave robbing to pay for his tuition. When two nurses and a doctor are brutally murdered, Norris becomes a suspect. Somehow, Irish seamstress Rose Connolly and her newborn, orphaned niece, Meggie are involved. Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of Norris’s fellow med students, joins him in an effort to prove his innocence.
Gerritsen gives us a gripping plot with quite a few twists, interesting characters, some of whom are not what they first seem and credible dialogue. Add to this a gutsy 19th century heroine and you have a great tale. Gerritsen also drops in snippets of information about the discovery of infection control, surgery in the 19th century, Rosicrucians and abolitionism. Julia manages to discover the identity of her skeleton, and the murderer, making this the ultimate cold case. A great Gerritsen read.

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Author Information

Tess Gerritsen Author Biography

Photo © Brian Velenchenko

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, Gerritsen began to write fiction. She wrote and published nine romantic suspense novels before turning to medical thrillers with Harvest in 1996. She’s since written 12 more medical thrillers, eight of which feature Det. Rizzoli and Dr. Isles. This series of novels featuring inspired the television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Gerritsen books have been top-5 bestsellers in the United States and abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award and the ...

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