The Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus by Carol Thurston Read Free Book Online

Book: The Eye of Horus by Carol Thurston Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carol Thurston
Manchester study.”
    “Your friend’s going to be there?” Kate nodded. “Anybody else?”
    “Me.”
    “Good. Why Manchester?”
    “The museum there got together a group of people from different fields to conduct autopsies on a couple of their undesirables—mummies in plain brown wrappers so they’re not prized for display. Anyway, they did a pretty thorough job. Blood grouping, histology, carbon dating, and evendeveloped a way to rehydrate tissue so they could lift fingerprints from the dermis rather than the epidermis.”
    “Okay.” He sat down at her drawing table and started on the atlas.
    Twenty minutes later Dave was doing his predictable best to downplay the whole idea. “I’m not sure she’s worth all the trouble, Dr. Cavanaugh, but I’d be interested in hearing what you think we could learn that we don’t already know.”
    “We’d eliminate the guesswork about what she looks like right now, under the bandaging.”
    “An image composed of multiple cross sections?” Dave glanced at Kate. “Do you think that’s aesthetically wise?”
    Max answered for her. “We can produce some pretty impressive composites, too, of any part or the entire body, from any angle.”
    “But still a computerized image,” Dave insisted, fingering the knot of his tie. Satisfied that it was straight, he checked his cuff links next, making sure they were aligned with the buttons of his coat sleeves. “What about cause of death?”
    “That depends on what it was. But we’d establish an age range for that second skull, and learn whether it was wrapped before it was placed between her legs.”
    Dave flicked a glance at Kate, as if to let her know that he knew where that came from. “I assure you that is the result of rewrapping, or else an embalmer’s mistake.”
    “Then we could confirm that she
was
rewrapped,” Max persisted.
    Cleo arrived at that moment, mumbling apologies for being late, and Max rose from his chair to greet her. ‘This is Cleo Harris,” Kate began, hoping to get the introductions over with quickly. “Cleo, meet Dr. Maxwell Cavanaugh.”
    Max beamed as Cleo offered her hand. “That wouldn’t be short for Cleopatra, would it?” To Kate it sounded like something he would say to put a new patient at ease.
    “A self-fulfilling prophecy,” Cleo replied with an assessingglance, then took the chair beside him, “but don’t let me interrupt.” She had on a velvet tunic and long bias-cut skirt, mixing vintages in different shades of green that made her copper-colored hair look even more so, with platform shoes she didn’t need.
    “I was just telling Dr. Broverman that scanning Tashat would resolve a number of questions about that male skull,” Max explained for her benefit. “What he has in his mouth, for instance. Or do you already know?”
    A stunned silence greeted his little bombshell.
    Kate kept her eyes straight ahead, wondering why he hadn’t mentioned that the day before. Was it just his brand of insurance, as Cleo was hers?
    “Oil-soaked pads, most likely,” Dave supplied, eyes darting sideways between Maxwell Cavanaugh and Kate.
    “I thought MRI was the preferred imaging technology these days,” Cleo put in.
    “For resolving soft tissues, yes,” Max agreed, “especially the brain. But magnetic resonance depends on aligning the hydrogen molecules in water. If there’s no water left in the body, the results could be unreliable. X-ray tomography, on the other hand, is better for resolving the cranial sutures, the seams where the plates of the skull come together. Those and the growth plates in the long bones are what we need to see to clear up the confusion about her age.”
    “But we already know how old she was,” Cleo pointed out, leaning around him to peer at Kate. “Didn’t you tell him?”
    “She told me,” Max replied. “I can’t be absolutely sure from that old X-ray, but the third molars appear to be partially in. If so, that would make her at least twenty. If

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