It had been a strange evening in the pub as Delaney and her three medical student friends discussed the bizarre case from the early 1800s. Two men - William Burke and William Hare - killed people and sold their bodies to Dr. Robert Knox for dissection in his anatomy classes. Current Professor Dr. Eban uses the story to challenge his medial students, including Delaney's friends.
A couple months earlier Sophie and Rena had come to The Cracked Spine with An Atlas of Illustrations of Clinical Medicine , Surgery and Pathology, 25 books filled with colorful, yet gruesome medical illustrations. Delaney's boss Edwin was awed with the book and probably paid more than he should have, but they were classics and he wanted to keep them from being sold individually.
Does the murder have anything to do with the books or with something else? When Delaney discovers some old scalpels in the bookstore's warehouse, she learns they belonged Dr Knox. The legend around the scalpels has grown and it seems everyone is interested in them. Are they scalpels tied to the current murder? Delaney races to discover the truth.