In the nineteenth century, New Yorkers assembled at what was known as “Cabinets of Curiosity” to view abnormal and grotesque marvels from around the world. These cabinets were considered the first museums, though judging by their description, they seemed more like freak-shows.
This novel actually takes place in modern-day New York, where a woman named Nora (beautiful, brilliant, perfect in every way- this book was definitely written by men) works at the Museum of Natural History. Her boyfriend, Bill, is a reporter for the Times. When old bones are discovered in the basement of a building that is being excavated, the two, along with Detective Prendergast (apparently the authors have written several books that include this character) are thrown into the midst of a 100-year-old mystery and a recent serial killing spree (fun!).
Okay- my thoughts: if you haven't read this book and are looking for a decent mystery, it's worth it. This book will not change you life (unless, of course, you're researching the different methods to undergo your serial killing).
The novel is a good enough read, but it takes itself way too seriously, making the characters seem a bit pretentious.
“Smithback loved this restaurant more than any other in New York City. It was decidedly untrendy, old-fashioned, with superb food. You didn't get the bridge and tunnel crowd here like you did at Le Cirque 2000...”
It goes on to describe Bill Smithback's new Armani suit with the paisley, silk pocket square, then describes his rare steak au poivre. We get it. He's classy.
If you can get over that level of pomposity in your reading, the plot-line of the story is pretty worthy.
I recommend reading this novel, but not buying it. Go to the library and pick up a copy (that's that place on the corner that you always pass on your way to Barnes and Noble- they have all the same stuff, but it's free!). Or, you can borrow my copy!