Skullduggery by Kathleen Karr

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Synopsis

" Interested in medicine? Dr. ABC seeks bright lad. Training and board. Apply number 113, Broadway. " Twelve-year-old Matthew Morrissey can't believe his luck when he spotsthis ad in the paper. He is interested in medicine--he wants tofind a cure for the cholera that wiped out his whole family and lefthim orphaned. Alone on the streets of 1840s New York, Matthew leaps atthe opportunity to help this Dr. ABC, whomever he is. As it turns out,he is the plump, puffy, rumpled Asa B. Cornwall, a kindly-if-obsessedphrenologist who hopes to someday perfect mankind through his study ofthe contours of human skulls, particularly those of flawed characters. " Give me a skull, and I can conjure up the very soul of a man! " Hecries passionately. Matthew is eager to please this eccentric man, ifonly for a warm bed and all the oatmeal he can eat. In time, however, his apprenticeship intensifies when he learns he musthelp his master rob graves for real specimens. And can the doctorreally mean that he wants Voltaire's skull from Paris? Things heat upeven more when they discover they have a mysterious enemy with a brow" broad and low," clearly the skull of a criminal. Kathleen Karr'sdelightful, well-crafted adventure is witty, suspenseful, anddeliciously Dickensian; most of all, it has a great deal of heart. Watching the older man and his young charge plow forward through nearmisses and comedies of errors is pure fun. And we, like the dynamicduo, come to learn that their companionship is far more valuable than achest of gold, an acre of skulls, or Dr. ABC's relentless pursuit ofperfection. (Ages 10 to 14) --Karin Snelson
 

About Kathleen Karr

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Kathleen Karr is the author of several books, including "The Great Turkey Walk," which was named a Best Book of the Year by both "School Library Journal "and "Publishers Weekly," She lives with her family in Washington, D.C. Howell has illustrated more than 50 books for young readers.
 
Published March 1, 2000 by Disney-Hyperion. 160 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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All the while, in the smoothly suspenseful plotting, a vicious and mysterious stranger with a scar follows them, putting Matthew in danger and haunting his nightmares.

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Publishers Weekly

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The shabby but flamboyant doctor is an expert in phrenology, ""the scientific study of the mind through the surface of the skull."" Matthew soon learns that his job entails not only impressing the wealthy clients who come in for character analyses but also robbing graves of famous heads.

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Publishers Weekly

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An orphaned 12-year-old survives on the streets of New York in 1839 as an assistant to Dr. ABC;

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