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The Doctor Digs a Grave Hardcover – May, 1998
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St. Martin's Press nourishes the mystery genre's roots by giving out an annual Malice Domestic Award for what it labels "Best First Traditional Mystery." The hero of its 1997 winner would certainly seem to fit that category: at first glance, Dr. Andrew Fenimore could come straight from a book by Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. A Philadelphia physician who dabbles in criminal investigation, Dr. Fenimore manages to be both sharp and soothing as he digs, literally, into the mystery of why the body of a recently deceased young Native American woman came to be buried, sitting up, in an ancient tribal graveyard. It's only as we become better acquainted with Dr. Fenimore and his colorful band of associates that we see what Robin Hathaway is really up to: she uses the boundaries of the traditional mystery to contain a very modern story about social and cultural change. But of course that's also what Sayers and Christie were up to in their time. Welcome to the club, Robin Hathaway. --Dick Adler
From School Library Journal
YA-Hathaway introduces sleuth cardiologist Dr. Andrew Fenimore, whose expert medical knowledge helps unravel the mysterious death of a Lenape woman. When Fenimore spots a street kid named Horatio unsuccessfully trying to bury his dead cat in a public park on Philadelphia's affluent Society Hill, he befriends the youth and offers to help him lay his pet to rest in what is rumored to be an ancient burial ground of the Lenape. Descendants of this East Coast tribe still live in the eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey area. While burying the animal, the doctor and Horatio stumble upon the body of a young girl who is buried in an upright position facing east as is traditional with the Lenape. From this curious discovery, Hathaway's novel weaves the forgotten culture of this tribe, the doctor's unconventional avocation as a P.I., and a cast of lovable but eccentric characters into a well-crafted tale of suspense. Young adults will enjoy this witty novel that illuminates in wonderful detail the little-known ways of the Lenape and introduces a physician-detective who is expected to reappear in forthcoming novels.
Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The identity of the deceased turns out to be Joanne Field, fiancee to the son of a colleague of Andrew. Andrew and his new sidekick begin to investigate what happened to Joanne even though the elite of Philadelphia society, the police force, his medical peers, and the local Native Americans want him and Rat to stay out of the case.
Winner of the 1997 Malice Domestic Award for Best First traditional Mystery, THE DOCTOR DIGS A GRAVE deserved that award and much more. Andrew is a fabulous amateur sleuth and the support ensemble may be the best new group to populate a novel in several years. The story line combines medical sleuthing with traditional detective work, which, when added to interesting historical facts, turns the brilliant book into a great novel. Hopefully, Robin Hathaway will provide more tales starring this spectacular cast of Philadelphians.