Saturday, November 03, 2007

more nuns!

Title: The Sinner
By Tess Gerritsen

Maura, the Boston Medical Examiner (previously encountered here, though technically that book comes after this one), is called to the scene in a cloistered convent in the middle of a freezing winter, finding a dead novice and a critically injured nun laying in a courtyard. During the autopsy, it's revealed that Camille, the novice, had recently given birth - rather shocking for a nun, even one who hadn't yet taken vows. They find the baby's body in a pond on the convent grounds, and learn that it was anencephalic - highly deformed and unable to survive, the baby's brain was outside it's unsealed head. Searches for the father initally prove fruitless and serve only to insult the local priest, Father Brophy, with whom Maura, reluctantly, forms a connection.

Another body is found in an abandoned restaurant - seemingly unconnected, the killer cut off the victim's hands and feet, and peeled off her face after death; her teeth are in deplorable condition, and they're stumped as to how to identify her other than the odd lesions on her body.

Around this time, Maura's ex-husband, Victor, randomly shows up. He's a doctor for a tree-hugging, save-the-world organization, and they've been divorced for three years.

Maura identifies the random victim as suffering from leprosy; then they start making all kinds of connections. The surviving nun, Sister Ursula, recently spent three years in India as a nurse in a leper colony. The colony was wiped out in a suspicious massacre and burning while she was off getting supplies, returning to charred destruction. Sister Ursula was working for One World, the same group Victor is the poster-boy for. Just next to the leper colony was a pharmaceutical plant owned by Octagon, a major corporation. Shortly after the massacre, Octagon made huge donations to One World. Sister Ursula, who had been in a coma, started to recover, then suddenly stroked while all her doctors were around the bed.

One of the doctors, who had claimed to be her internist, was actually an Octagon employee, and had been the plant doctor at the one in India. The plant released a cloud of toxic chemicals one night, killing all the inhabitants of the village, except for one random woman, and the doctor led the efforts to hide the accident by destroying the village like it was an attack for being lepers. Ursula recognized him, and he pretty much killed her; he had already been interfering with her care the entire time she was in a coma. Victor was technically innocent, but had come to Boston to see what Maura was learning.

Maura was left alone, again, at the end.

Labels: , ,

posted by ket at 11:16 AM


Post a Comment