sharing my love of books with you

Month: July 2022 (Page 1 of 5)

Inspector Pinkeye on the Case

“An extraordinary case, Mr Sholmes,” said the inspector. “Mr Skinnem, the managing director of Messrs. Skull & Krossbones, the shipowners, was found dead in his private office. There was no sign of violence about the body, and death had apparently been instantaneous. The medical evidence is the Mr Skinnem had been the victim of a sudden shock – how administered, it is for the police to discover.”

“A Murder Mystery”, The complete Casebook of Herlock SHolmes, Charles Hamilton, circa 1918


Here is an anatomical word from Speaking in Bones. Since I wasn’t sure exactly what this was, I looked it up and decided to share.

Zygoma – the bony arch of the cheek formed by connection of the zygomatic and temporal bones

Usage: “I suffered a concussion and a hairline fracture of my right zygoma.”

I’m including a diagram to help with placement. I hope you don’t think it’s too gross. Photo credit


The curious case of “The Solitary Cyclist” developed into an actual tale of crime and had a twist that I didn’t see coming. This is one of The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t foresee the ending, but Holmes did, and used this word to describe what he was anticipating.

Untoward – unexpected and inappropriate or inconvenient

Usage: “I think, Watson, that we must spare time to run down together on Saturday morning and make sure that this curious and inclusive investigation has no untoward ending.”


Here is a word that Dr Watson uses regularly to describe the villains in The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In particular, this is how he described Mr Woodley, the abductor, in “The Solitary Cyclist” and Mr Milverton, the blackmailer, in “Charles Augustus Milverton”.

Odious – extremely unpleasant and revulsive

Usage: “That odious man, Mr Woodley.”


I’m sure I’ve come across this word in other readings or at least once when I was in school, but I could not remember what it meant. I found it while reading Speaking in Bones. I had to look it up.

Antediluvian – of or belonging to the time before the Biblical Flood; ridiculously old-fashioned

Usage: “I still keep hard copy on all my cases. Antediluvian, but there you have it.”


Though the context is not pleasant, this word is a fun word to know and use on occasion. I was reminded of it while reading Speaking in Bones.

Odoriferous – having or giving off a smell, especially an unpleasant or distinctive one

Usage: “I reached up, slid the box free, and carried it to the “stinky room”, a small autopsy suite with special ventilation to accommodate the more odoriferous dead.”


I found this word a few times in Speaking in Bones, and I had to look it up. Though I could guess the meaning by the context, it’s not a word I see often so I wanted to be sure.

Truncating – to shorten the duration or extent of

Usage: “A door opened, releasing the whine of an autopsy saw cutting through bone. Closed abruptly, truncating the sound.”

Today – A New Book and A New Tag

Along with starting another Kathy Reichs book today, I decided to add a new tag to the blog. “New Book” will lead you to the first post I write about each book that I’m reading. My goal is to give you a brief introduction to the book. Then when I finish the book, I’ll write my summary. This tag will give you, my readers, just a quick glimpse at when (and sometimes why) I start a new book as well as the Title and Author so you can look it up too.

So, as I said, I am starting a new Kathy Reichs book, Speaking in Bones. I’m only one chapter in, but it was a chilling introduction. Dr Brennan is listening to what sounds like a kidnapped girl’s thoughts and torments. I wonder if Dr Brennan will be able to find the girl before it’s too late. Well, back to reading!

Break No Bones, by Kathy Reichs

I finished another novel by Kathy Reichs this week called Break No Bones. I am enjoying these books about Dr Temperance Brennan. They offer a glimpse into the work of real forensic anthropologists.

At the end of each book, Dr Reichs offers some insight into the challenges faced by her fictional characters. In 206 Bones, she discussed the importance of ethics in forensic science, especially how important board certification is. In Break No Bones, Dr Reichs gives a glimpse into history, not only her own, but also the history of forensic anthropology as a whole. She also tells her readers about the teams of people needed to solve each crime. In real life, forensics relies on a multiple scientists: Pathologists who work with soft tissue – Anthropologists who work with skeletons – Entomologists who analyze insects – Odontologists who compare teeth and dental records – Molecular Biologists who study DNA – Ballistics Experts who examine bullets and bullet casings.

Not only does solving crime take multiple people, it also takes time. I think that is one of the special areas of experience that Dr Reichs writes into her books. There are times when Dr Brennan has to step away from the bones and wait for results from other specialists. For example, in Break No Bones, there were a few chapters spent waiting for results from the dentist to verify identification and another was spent in the waiting room of a veterinarian.

So what was Break No Bones about besides forensic anthropology and bones?

During a student project dig that she was overseeing, Dr Brennan unearthed human remains that were not centuries old. Those remains would turn out to be the first of several dead bodies that would turn up on the outer shores of Charleston, SC. There seemed to be no connection between the bodies until Dr Brennan looks harder and finds one similarity. Coincidence? Suicide? Murder? Can Dr Brennan and her friend the coroner figure it out?

Then a tempest blows over Dr Brennan’s personal life while she stays in a friend’s beach house in Charleston. This friend had also invited Dr Brennan’s almost ex-husband to stay at the house as well while he was investigating the finances of a local charity. While she knows why they separated, Dr Brennan still feels an attraction toward Pete. However, she is currently in a relationship with Detective Andrew Ryan of Montreal. And Detective Ryan chooses the same week that Pete is at the beach house to pay a surprise visit to Dr Brennan. Though civil, each man verbally jabs at the other, winning reprimands and eye squints from Dr Brennan. (Don’t worry, it’s tasteful and there are no graphic scenes.)

Then tragedy strikes. Is Dr Brennan really in danger? Can she identify the bodies, bring closure to the families, and help law enforcement arrest the right person?

One last word: Dr Reichs is a remarkable storyteller. She brings her plots and plot twists together in a surprising way. She offers just enough information to keep the reader guessing until she is ready to reveal the next clue. I was only a few pages ahead of Dr Brennan’s findings, mostly because of literary devices and dialogue. If I was standing right next to Dr Brennan, we may have discovered the answer at the same time. And I think that’s what I liked about Break No Bones the most.


Another word from “The Dancing Men” in The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is “Nettled”. The context made me believe the word must mean something like perturbed, and I was not wrong.

Nettled – irritated or annoyed

Usage: After stating that he would not call Holmes’ methods simple once explained, Dr Watson still cried, “How absurdly simple!”

“Quite so!” said [Holmes], a little nettled. “Every problem becomes very childish when once it is explained to you.”

« Older posts