The Body On The Bed

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
396 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2021
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Author Biography

Leonard Krishtalka is the author of award-winning essays, the
acclaimed book Dinosaur Plots, and the Harry Przewalski
series of mystery novels: The Bone Field, Death Spoke, The
Camel Driver. As a paleontologist and museum director, he
has worked throughout the fossil-rich badlands of the
American West, Canada, Patagonia, China, Ethiopia, and
Kenya. The Body on the Bed is his fifth book.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

"Frederick came home from work about eleven o’clock and noticed the light in Isaac’s bedroom. Isaac was sitting on the bed, still dressed in his shirt and vest. But he was bent over, his hands clasped around his stomach, his face contorted in apparent pain. He thought there was someone else in the bedroom, a man standing in the shadows in the front corner. Frederick couldn’t see his face. It was hidden by the curtain. Was it Medlicott?" In The Body on the Bed by Leonard Krishtalka, investigative reporter Mary Fanning covers a murder case that's more twisted than it seems in 1870s Kansas.

Other than a mystery murder, the late 19th-century judiciary system, women and Blacks' suffrage, and secret love affairs give the historical mystery plot layered angles and depth. In terms of their personal traits and motivations, the characters are fleshed out and their actual historical background easily distinguishes them in an engaging narrative and smooth chapter transitions. John Speer, the early Lawrence pioneer and publisher of the Kansas Tribune, is a historical figure that I most recognized having read about his part as an abolitionist and how he survived Quantrill’s Raid. Of course, Mary Fanning shines brightly as a protagonist; her zeal and sharp mind make the steady unraveling of a mystery murder an exhilarating experience. With its perfectly timed plot twists and a satisfying conclusion, Leonard Krishtalka's The Body On The Bed is an immersive trip back to post-Civil War America.

Susan Sewell

In the late nineteenth century, the death of a man involving infidelity and murder starts a female reporter searching for the truth in the suspenseful historical novel The Body on the Bed by Leonard Krishtalka. Mary Fanning is a strong woman and firmly believes that women are intellectually equal to men. Proving herself capable, Mary takes a job at the Kansas Daily Tribune as the first female reporter west of the Mississippi. When her neighbor, Isaac Ruthman, dies of poisoning, Mary is determined to discover if he died by suicide or was murdered. When the police find a note incriminating Dr. Medlicott, a local physician, they arrest the man and hold him in the city jail. After witnessing the comings and goings of the Ruthman house since they moved in several months ago, Mary believes that Dr. Medlicott and Mrs. Ruthman may have conspired to do away with Isaac. Investigating the histories of each of the suspects, Mary uncovers shocking and scandalous secrets. Who killed Isaac Ruthman? Was it his wife, her lover, or someone else altogether?

Based on real events, The Body on the Bed by Leonard Krishtalka is a breathtaking and unforgettable novel. Brimming with mystery and intrigue, it is a thrilling story with a dramatic plot, a riveting storyline, and an admirable heroine. Set in 1871 Lawrence, Kansas, the author created an accurate and electrifying account of the events that transpired. Artfully mirroring the era, the participants, and incidents, it is an astounding and transfixing story of love, hate, betrayal, and murder. Filled with twists and turns, it is a captivating story from beginning to end, proving that truth is truly stranger than fiction. Everyone who enjoys mysteries, murder, and intrigue will not want to miss this suspenseful and entertaining novel!

Romuald Dzemo

The Body on the Bed by Leonard Krishtalka is a historical crime and mystery novel that is deftly plotted and well-written. When the body of Miles Ruthman is found poisoned in his bed in Lawrence, Kansas, John J. Medlicott, the Ruthmans’ physician, becomes the prime suspect. He is arrested and charged with first-degree murder and many things implicate him — the fact that he is found with a picture of the dead man’s wife and two of her love poems in his wallet and that he paid the dead man a visit the night before he is found dead. Medlicott’s wife, Sarah, had recently died in mysterious circumstances. Has the doctor eliminated everything that could stand between him and Anne Catherine, Miles Ruthman’s wife? There is a lot to uncover and can the three-week trial bring the truth to light?

Leonard Krishtalka has written a novel that is transporting, with a historical setting in post-Civil War Lawrence that is vividly portrayed, with strong reflections of language usage and locales well-described. I marveled at the beautiful language and the author’s economy for word. The characters are rock-solid and they are beautifully written, from the physician to Judge Chadwick to the tough, relentless newspaper correspondent, Mary Fanning. The story opens with a powerful premise— the death of Miles Ruthman. I was pulled in right from the start as I started guessing, curious about who the killer was, and wondering if it was really murder. The Body on the Bed is thoroughly engaging and while the author doles out tiny crumbs of suspense, he ensures that the drama stays intense, making the story a real page-turner. From the crisp writing to the colorful setting, from the strong conflict to the intense drama, and from the memorable characters to the exciting plot twists, Leonard Krishtalka gets everything just right for fans of murder and mystery.