The doc returned for a quick look at the skull before the helper started the silver bone-saw and cut open Marie’s skull. The sound of a hundred fingernails on a hundred blackboards echoed through the cold room. Even Mark stepped back with me, but there was no escaping the sound. You just had to wait it out.
The helper lifted Marie’s skull-cap from her head and handed it to the doc for another quick examination. Then the brain was carefully removed and brought to the other end of the autopsy table where it was placed on a stainless steel scale and weighed, the moved to piece of wood next to Marie’s feet. It was a cutting board. And there, the doc sliced the brain like a meatloaf, in neat thin slices, one after the other. He examined each slice for clots or whatever.
Human brains look just like soft cheese, a little red on the outside from the blood vessels, but chalky white inside. On my first autopsy the doctor put gloves on me and gave me a piece of brain to feel. It felt just like rubbery mozzarella cheese.
A Homicide detective can learn a lot from an autopsy by watching, more than he can get from reading a report. He can see the wounds, the angle and depth and force used to kill. Only five of Marie’s wounds were possibly fatal – three of them punctured her lungs and two severed the aorta. The other twenty-nine wounds were not deep enough. The barely reached the back ribs, more punctured than stab wounds.
“Could be someone small,” I told Mark as we walked out of THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS.
“Could be.” Mark wasn’t in any hurry to come to conclusions.
“Could be someone weak, maybe a woman?” I asked, not believing a work, just fishing.