Women of Mystery

I’m fortunate to be able to attend, via Zoom, a book club I reluctantly left when I moved from Indiana to Illinois — the Women of Mystery Book Club (WOMB). As with most book clubs, I often would not have read a book had others not suggested it. Once I started writing, there’s so little time to  read.

This month I suggested we  read a book by Tess Gerritsen. I’ve heard her work praised, but had never gotten to it. We ended up with The Bone Garden, an intricately plotted book set in the 1830s and present time. Since I’m looking to history for part of my newest series, I was delighted with the choice.

I learned Gerritsen’s work can be spell-binding. Also grittier than I generally read, so a woman who had had/plans to have children might not want to listen to the audio version. I did. I can’t say I enjoyed the details, but I never wanted to turn off the CD.

What I especially liked was her reference to the work of a Hungarian physician, Ignaz Semmelweiss. He played an important role in advancing hygiene in medicine, especially obstetrics, and I saw a play about him, by Harold Sackler, in Washington, DC, in the 1980s.

The play was en route to Broadway and needed fine-tuning, and I always thought Sackler would do that. He died a few years later, so perhaps that was why the play seemed to, too. I was so touched by the play that I visited the library in the Kennedy Center to read it. I believe it’s one of the few playbills I’ve kept.

The fact that Gerritsen drew Semmelweis’s work into her book says a lot about her research. I plan to read more!

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