Joan Keener
December 14, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

A less smitten biographer might have abandoned writing about Henry Gray when he learned that scant historical record remained of the anatomist behind the classic 1858 medical tome that would spawn a hit TV show. Instead, Bill Hayes pursues Gray in the copious and, alas, dull letters and diaries of his uncredited collaborator/ illustrator, H.V. Carter in The Anatomist. Luckily, Hayes fleshes out his research by enrolling in anatomy courses, and proves a wholly entertaining guide to the little-known world of dissection labs. At his first glimpse of the customarily gauze-bandaged feet of a cadaver, he thinks: ”Oh, it’s wounded!” B

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