Not what I expected. Given that the central event of the book is an illegal abortion which resulted in the death of a woman, I had guessed that the characters would immediately settle down into a debate about morality. In fact, the book was written in the 1960s, before the US was divided to the person into blue and red, and it turns out that the characters are more scandalized by leaning that their colleague, a licensed hospital doctor, would be so reckless as to perform abortions for his patients. They don't spend much time talking about the morality of the procedure itself, so the reader has to tease the book's stance out by considering the implications and the impact of the problem on the character's lives.
But foremost, this book is a mystery novel, and I was hooked. I read it in three days (fast for me!), and I couldn't put it down. It read easily without compromising on intelligence, and afterward I felt I knew a little more about the life of a hospital doctor in the 1960s.Some people have complained that this book is dated. To me it seems absurd to expect a book to reflect the present time forever. Do people expect Michael Crichton to go back and rewrite his first novel so it sounds like it takes place in 2008? Who is going to update Wuthering Heights or give Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice a cellphone so everyone can avoid the confusion surrounding her elopement? I know the 60s were icky, but they were a lot less offensive than most other periods in history, and it's wrong to expect an author who is trying to portray contemporary people to have those people rise above the sentiments of their time.