Lisa Rosner is Professor of History at Stockton College in New Jersey. She is drawn to the seamy side of medical history through her love of murder mysteries, anatomy drawings, and Scotch whisky.
To learn more about the worlds of Burke and Hare described in The Anatomy Murders, visit The Worlds of Burke and Hare, http://burkeandhare.com.
Staff Recommendations, Politics and Prose: Jack the Ripper was--if you'll excuse me--a distant second to William Burke and William Hare of 19th century Edinburgh. Lisa Rosner, a professor of history, has brought them and their world to life in THE ANATOMY MURDERS. (University of Pennsylavania Press, $29.95) It was a widespread practice of the time to dig up corpses in order to sell them to medical men for dissection. Burke and Hare, with coldblooded ingenuity, realized they could simply skip the grave-digging, and in an atrocious spree murdered 16 people and delivered them to the anatomists--all in one year. Another crime novel? Not at all. This is a remarkably researched and riveting story of the Irish migration to Scotland, of the lives of Edinburgh's 'dangerous classes,' of the medical practices of the day, of the legal system and of Burke and Hare and their very real victims. I am full of admiration for Professor Rosner. This is a perfect book for a history buff with a slightly murderous heart. Reviewed by Jeanie Teare