The Bone Vault by Linda Fairstein (2003) is a fun and interesting read for lovers of detective and mystery fiction. It's a welcome distraction on long winter evenings to keep you from going nuts with cabin fever.
It's all the more interesting if you know a little about the real-life background of its author Linda Fairstein.
Linda Fairstein in real life was a prosecutor — a well-known prosecutor. She recently retired after 30 years heading up the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit. She and her unit were part of the inspiration for the Law and Order SVU television show. (Yes, Linda Fairstein is the role model for the gorgeous blond prosecutor. And yes, from her pictures Linda Fairstein herself is gorgeous and blond.)
Fairstein is credited with changing the way crimes like rape and incest were handled by the judicial system. Decades ago it was tough to get a conviction for rape and other sex crimes. Fairstein and her unit changed all that, by painstakingly working closely with police to develop the evidence needed for a successful prosecution. And by not backing down in the face of difficult-to-win cases. In the process, she became something of a legend in New York City.
The Bone Vault is not about sex crimes, however. It's about murder. And the dirty little secrets in some of the world's best known museums.
The main character is Alexandra Cooper, Fairstein's alter ego. Just like Fairstein, Cooper is the head of the Manhattan D.A.'s Sex Crimes Unit. She has a close working relationship and friendship with two of the police officers she interacts with daily. Much of the "fun" part of reading the book comes from the interplay between Cooper and the two officers, Mercer and Mike. And by following her efforts to protect herself from the Machievellian machinations of her weasly supervisor.