Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leslie Thomas' Last Detective and Napoleon's Unmentionable

In the following excerpt, "Dangerous" Davies, a police detective, interviews a doctor with an interesting collection:

Around the walls were showcases containing items of human anatomy. Davies could see a library through another door with an encased skeleton grinning at nothing. There were other skulls, bones and nameless things in jars. The death mask of a bald man occupied another container. 'Unusual room,' mentioned Davies, accepting the doctor's Scotch.

'An unusual facet of dockland development,' smiled Kinlock. 'It's not all fancy former warehouses.' He was a small Scot with ginger eyebrows. 'It's been a fine opportunity to gather interesting specimens from medical history. I'm adding to it all the time. The death mask is of Mikhail Bakunin, the father of modern anarchy, one of only twelve made. One day, I would love to buy Napoleon's testicle.'

'That,' agreed Davies vaguely, 'would be worth having.'

--from Leslie Thomas' Dangerous in Love: a Dangerous Davies Novel [1987], p. 101.

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