M Clement Hall




Forensic Medical Mystery Novel, based on the abuse of an anatomy department for the disposal of unwanted bodies.

I compare it to the works of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs.

The body of a surprisingly young and good looking woman – lying on the anatomy dissecting table – is recognized as not having been properly registered, and is removed.

Some months later, Lam thi Nguyen, first year dental student, has been given a head to dissect. She recognises the young woman, whose head is now separated from the remainder of her body. She discusses ethnic variation in teeth with her professor who takes the head to the professor of anthropology at the Forensic Institute to obtain ethnic identification for inclusion in his new Atlas.

The head comes into the hands of their blood expert. Chromosome analysis gives probable ethnic origin. They also find forensic evidence of death due to asphyxia, possibly homicide. An investigation is launched, is not pursued with vigor and is abandoned.

Raised in both the strict Confucian traditions of personal responsibility and romantic oriental tales of princesses and dragons, Lam is haunted by dreams of the Brazilian girl’s headless body. She decides she must pursue an investigation herself. Searching in the storage tanks in the basement of the anatomy school, Lam discovers hidden bodies.

Lam seeks the reluctantly given help of Detective Art and unwillingly accepts the co-operation of abrasive freelance journalist Jessie Bell in setting-up surveillance to determine why there are hidden unregistered bodies.

In searching for the answers, Lam and Jessie are brought closer together than they could ever have imagined – naked, bound and floating in a closed tank of oil.