Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unique Plot Makes This A Favorite For Me...

Authentic Egyptian mummy in Rosicrucian Egypti...Image via Wikipedia
"What do you hope to learn from this CT scan tonight,
Dr. Robinson?"
Robinson's face suddenly lit up with enthusiasm,
"Learn? Why everything? Her age, her health. The method
of her preservation. If we're fortunate, we may even
discover the cause of her death."...
That isn't what happened," said Maura.
Robinson blinked. "What do you mean? That has to be
the explanation."
"The damage to that leg wasn't postmortem. It happened
while this woman was still alive."...
"Dr. Isles?" said Robinson, "Whom are you calling?"
"I'm arranging for transport to the morgue," she said.
"Madam X is now a medical examiner's case."...

The Keepsake

By Tess Gerritsen

I so much enjoyed last night's season conclusion of Rizzoli and Isles that I thought today was the day to tell you about one of my favorites from Gerritsen's series! Have you read The Keepsake?

Tess Gerritsen was already a favorite author, but I really enjoy the characters of Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. Rizzoli is the primary character in The Keepsake; However, it was Isles' keen eye that had identified the issue as...murder...

The Keepsake: A Novel (Rizzoli & Isles Novels)A mummy had been found in the basement of the Crispin Museum. They had dubbed her "Madame X" and had proceeded to work to learn more. The museum was a small family-owned enterprise since the family for generations had been involved in seeking treasures from across the world, either through personal exploration or purchase...and many times receiving items through donations. In truth, the collection had gotten out of hand because the former curator had held the position long after he was capable of dealing with it. New staff were performing an inventory and that was when Madame X had been discovered, although they had no records to support how she came to the museum.

Arrangements had been made to have a CT scan done to assist in learning more about the mummy. But what they learned was not what had been expected. Instead of having a perfectly preserved mummy from ancient times, they discovered, first a bullet in her leg. The "unwrapping" revealed that her mouth had been sewn shut, something that would never had been done during mummification...and something was in her mouth...

If one murder was bad, when they started to investigate the location where the mummy had been found, they discovered a hidden space. Another victim was found, preserved in a totally different manner...a shrunken head was revealed... Later another woman, stuffed into the trunk of a car, had been preserved as a "bog lady."

As the investigation begins, it becomes clear that this serial killer wants to keep, preserve the women in his life! And it all goes back to one woman who had once got away.

And, somehow, it all seems to be associated with one of the curators, working there at the Crispin:

"Why does she make you uneasy?"
"She doesn't. There's just a caginess about her. Like she's trying to stay one step ahead."
"Of you? Or the killer? From what I heard, the young woman had every right to be afraid. A body was left in her car. It almost sounds life a gift from the killer--an offering, if you will. To his next companion."
His next companion. That phrase raised goose-flesh on Jane's arms...

Tess Gerritsen writes in a language all her own--each word is tense, edgy, ready to move you forward word by word! Adding the archaeological component of ancient burial and death rituals, readers are immersed in a  learning experience that becomes grisly when associated with murder... still, it fascinates and presents a unique psychological suspense aspect that I found compelling.

I thoroughly enjoy the TV show, but Gerritsen provides so much more in a novel! And The Keepsake is a great one to start with if you haven't read the author, Tess Gerritsen! Highly recommended for mystery suspense lovers!

Pulcillo swallowed. "By then it's lost about seventy-five percent of its weight. The cavity is stuffed with linen and resin. The mummified internal organs might be returned as well. And... "Shestopped, her eyes widening as the final wrappings fell away fromthe head.  For the first time, they saw the face of Madam X.  Long black hairwas still affixed to the scalp. The skin was stretched over prominent cheekbones. But it was the lips that made Jane recoil. They had been sewn together with crude stitches, as though joined by the tailor of Frankenstein's monster.
Pulcillo shook her head. "That--that's all wrong!"
"The mouth isn't usually sewn shut?" asked Maura.
"No! How would you eat in the afterlife? How would you speak?This is like condemning her to eternal hunger. And eternal silence." 
Eternal silence. Jane looked down at the ugly stitches and wondered: Did you say something to offend your killer?  Did you speak back to him? Insult him? Testify against him? Is this your punishment, to have your lips bound together for eternity?"


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