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For fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Todd, Murder by Degrees is a historical mystery set in 19th century Philadelphia, following a pioneering woman doctor as she investigates the disappearance of a young patient who is presumed dead.
Philadelphia, 1875: It is the start of term at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lydia Weston, professor and anatomist, is immersed in teaching her students in the lecture hall and hospital. When the body of a patient, Anna Ward, is dredged out of the Schuylkill River, the young chambermaid’s death is deemed a suicide. But Lydia is suspicious and she is soon brought into the police investigation.
Aided by a diary filled with cryptic passages of poetry, Lydia discovers more about the young woman she thought she knew. Through her skill at the autopsy table and her clinical acumen, Lydia draws nearer the truth. Soon a terrible secret, long hidden, will be revealed. But Lydia must act quickly, before she becomes the next target of those who wished to silence Anna.
About the Author
Ritu Mukerji was born in Kolkata, India, and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. From a young age, she has been an avid reader of mysteries, from Golden Age crime fiction to police procedurals and the novels of PD James and Ruth Rendell. She received a BA in history from Columbia University and a medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She completed residency training at the University of California, Davis and has been a practicing internist for fifteen years. She lives in Marin County, California, with her husband and three children.
"Like Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs, Lydia is a strong and indomitable woman who transcends her circumstances to become her true self and a crusader for social justice. This atmospheric novel heralds the arrival of a talented new writer and an unforgettable heroine."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
“Mukerji’s taut plotting and vivid depiction of the era’s medical practices and social customs will leave readers eager for a second installment.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred)
"On the surface, this debut by Mukerji, herself a medical doctor, appears to be a mystery about the death of a working-class servant, but it’s much more, as it examines women’s rights, social conditions, and medicine in Philadelphia just a decade after the Civil War. Fans of Maddie Day’s “Quaker Midwife” series will appreciate this detailed historical mystery."—Library Journal (Starred)
“Murder by Degrees stars a capable, likeable heroine in Dr. Lydia Weston, who battles for acceptance every day as a female doctor in 19th century Philadelphia, and when one of her favorite patients turns up apparently murdered Lydia will need all her diagnostic skills to unmask the killer. Ritu Mukerji—a practicing physician herself, her expertise shining on every page—pens a heartfelt ode to the historic women who blazed a trail in medicine before her as well as a wonderfully entertaining mystery. Hopefully Lydia Weston's adventures will continue in future volumes!”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
“In Murder by Degrees, Ritu Mukerji delivers a fresh take on a classic genre. When the smart, compassionate Dr. Lydia Weston teams up with Inspector Volcker to solve the murder of a beloved patient, she proves that science is a formidable truth-teller. Set against the vivid backdrop of 19th century Philadelphia, this twisty debut mystery feels refreshingly modern. I can't wait to see what Dr. Weston does next.”—Michelle Richmond, New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder Test
"Ritu Mukerji weaves a thrillingly atmospheric tale of intrigue, featuring a brilliant female doctor who's ahead of her time. The descriptions of medicine in a bygone era are so vivid, you can almost see the glint of lamplight reflected in Dr. Lydia Weston's scalpel as she slices through skin."—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Spy Coast
"Suspenseful and captivating. Ritu Mukerji brings the operating theaters, drawing rooms, and back alleys of nineteenth-century Philadelphia to life in this darkly atmospheric mystery."—Allison Buccola, author of Catch Her When She Falls
“The evocative nineteenth century Philadelphia setting and the very real early history of the Woman’s Medical College is new and fresh and fantastically feminist. But it’s the kindness and care and the wonderful wisdom of Dr. Lydia Weston—even as she uncovers secrets cloaked in privilege and obsessions shrouded in shame—that makes Murder by Degrees one fantastic read!"—Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress of Paris
"I was kept guessing until the very end of this gorgeously written mystery set in a highly Gothic, 19th-century Philadelphia. Ritu Mukerji illuminates the little-known history of America’s earliest women physicians through her protagonist Lydia Weston, an unforgettable young woman whose intelligence is equally matched by her compassion. A brilliant start to a series that presents the medical mystery in a feminist light."—Sujata Massey, author of The Widows of Malabar Hill
“A stunning debut. Beautifully crafted characters and twists you won’t see coming. I devoured every page.”—Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Tracy Crosswhite Series