The Index Case | Preview

Was this just too good a collection of cadavers?

The Index Case  |  Preview

Was this just too good a collection of cadavers?

Madeleine Shanks, a budding historian of anatomy, thought her trip to Philadelphia would be straightforward: she would use the archives of the nineteenth-century Burtonian Anatomy Museum there to flesh out her dissertation research on the history of anatomical specimen acquisition and then head back to Bloomington, Indiana, to wrap up her Ph.D. and launch her career as a conventional academic.

But Maddy’s journey takes an unexpected twist right from the start as her housing plans fall through and she reluctantly turns to a group of nuns, who took her in when she was orphaned at the age of fifteen, to help her find a room. The lodging she obtains turns out to be in the home of Philadelphia Police Detective John Wolf, a devout Catholic man Maddy quickly figures out is married – although his wife is nowhere to be seen.

Maddy’s plans go even further off track after she meets Dr. Wilhelm, a world-famous researcher on human growth and a patron of the museum. When he invites Maddy to his lab to see his own anatomical collection, Maddy is startled to find the body of Margaret Lovisa, a recently-dead woman with a form of dwarfism, displayed anachronistically in a jar of fluid. Looking deeper into Dr. Wilhelm’s work, Maddy finds so much that doesn’t seem to make sense – including a troubling pattern of death among his patients with the most scientifically-interesting conditions.

Should she risk her nascent, fragile career to pursue the truth behind Dr. Wilhelm’s collection? Can she chase down this mystery when a predator from her own past suddenly rears his ugly head? And what is she to make of her increasingly unusual relationship with Detective Wolf, the man who nicknames her “The Rabbit”?

Readers are hooked on The Index Case.

“Oh, how we have needed an engrossing mystery with a protagonist like Maddy Shanks – smart, kind, and complicated, a young woman waist-high into the question, personally and professionally, of who owns who.”
“The Index Case is a great American novel – a great American woman’s novel. And something new, too: a work that is deeply insightful about love and sex, even when they’re not the same thing.”
“What better accidental detective than a historian bent on truth-seeking and puzzle-solving? Maddy Shanks will delight mystery fans and newcomers to the genre alike!”
“Maddy Shanks makes heterosexuality cool again.”

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