Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Corpse Queen by Heather M. Herrman - HIGH

The Corpse Queen by Heather M. Herrman
, 401 pages. G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin), 2021. $14

Language: R (43 swears, 4 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (undescribed premarital sex, unwed pregnancy by side characters); Violence: PG-13 (Grave robbery and stealing parts from dead bodies, bloody remains, stabbing)



In 1855 Philadelphia, Molly lives at an orphanage until her aunt requests that she live with her. Before she even meets her aunt, she’s told she has to pick up a package first which turns out to be nothing like she expects. Tom works for Molly’s aunt Ava and he picks her up from the orphanage, takes her to pick up the package then transports her to Ava’s home. Molly finally meets Ava and is given snippets of information about living there and what she’s required to do to stay. She’s expected to collect bodies for Dr. Lavall’s lectures and usually this requires dishonesty. Molly is eventually allowed to join the lectures and discovers that she wants to become a doctor herself even though she’s not welcomed into the surgical world by society or the other students. Molly also becomes deeply entwined in the mystery of The Knifeman and it’s going to take all her cleverness and bravery to keep from becoming a victim herself.

Suspenseful, creepy and frightening story kept me riveted. Molly’s strength overcomes her insecurities from being left in an orphanage by her parents and the abuse she suffered there. I enjoy the diverse characters and Tom’s personality and perseverance. The mystery is interesting. The characters are mainly Irish-American, white.

LynnDell Watson, Delta High School Librarian

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