SUTURE SELF by Mary Daheim - BOOK - ADVANCE READING COPY
Judith McMonigle Flynn is despondent as the winter blahs set in with a vengeance. A bum hip has forced her to shut down Hillside Manor temporarily and limp off to Good Cheer Hospital for a much needed operation. It's the very same "haven of healing" where a famous actress recently kicked the bucket after routine foot surgery, and where an ace baseball pitcher in for an elbow operation was tossed out of the game...permanently. Judith is certain that her scheduled date with a scalpel has placed her at the top of the Grim Reaper's "hip list." At least she's not alone. Cousin Renie is checking in — though hopefully not checking out — at the same time to have a shoulder surgically corrected, but that's small consolation at best.
Good Cheer, it seems, is anything but. With one look at the medieval wreck of a place administered by a doddering collection of clergy, Judith is convinced that she and Renie will be lucky if they're rolled out of the OR alive. But they are — though the same good fortune does not extend to an ex-pro football quarterback, who is sacked by fatal knee surgery, the third improbable, high-profile demise in less than a month.
Since they are stuck in this chamber of Hippocratic horrors for a while, Judith feels it's hers and Renie's duty to get to the bottom of the Good Cheer carnage. What they discover is that the list of potentialAngels of Death is quite extensive indeed, incorporating not-so-well-wishing relations, potentially homicidal hospital volunteers, deadly docs...even the puffed up, corporate-ladder-climbing chief of staff himself. But as the mortality rate rises — along with Judith's blood pressure — the worst diagnosis of all is the one that suggests the cousins' curiosity is terminal...and that the killer is saving the last, lethal dose of medicine for them.