Wisdom of the Bones Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Wisdom of the Bones

Signet, Feb 2003, 7.50, 416 pp.
ISBN 0451410653

In November 1963 in Dallas, homicide detective Ray Duval has received a death sentence from his doctor. In a year or maybe two, if he's lucky, he will die of congestive heart failure. The only thing that is important to Ray is his job and he knows that he will never be able to pass the annual physical exam that he is due to take in a week.
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On November 20th, Ray is called to the scene where a man is found in the city dump, sliced up, skinned, and decapitated and stuffed into an old icebox. He wants to solve this case before he is forced to retire but the victim had many enemies in both his personal and professional life. He gets a lucky break when he stumbles on the fact that over two decades ago, at least twelve children, most of them black died in the same way as the victim of Ray's current case. When two more black children disappear in Dallas, Ray is sure that the deaths are all linked together and he intends to solve the case before dying.

WISDOM OF THE BONES gives the readers a sense of place during the Kennedy assassination especially with Jack Ruby threaded throughout the story line, being questioned by the protagonist about the case and ignoring his other activities. The who-done-it is well plotted and is solved by good old-fashioned police work that includes a lot of legwork. Christopher Hyde shows his ingenious ability to provide an atmospheric thriller inside a powerful police procedural.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Wisdom of the Bones

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Kind of investigator    -   psychic investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Christopher Hyde Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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