Ask A Librarian

Whodunits penned by health care professionals focus of WVU library exhibit

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February 10th, 2003

CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, WVU Libraries, 304-293-4040, ext. 4004

It makes an interesting story in itself: health care professional by day, mystery writer by night.

Arthur Conan Doyle penned his Sherlock Holmes series while serving patients through his medical practice. The ophthalmologist’s story is not that unique.

Library and bookstore shelves are lined with mysteries authored by physicians, dentists, biochemists, medical records administrators, emergency medical technicians, pharmacist assistants and nurses.

Such works are the focus of an exhibit at the Health Sciences Library throughout February. The exhibit, located in the display case outside the entrance of the library, contains a selection of books, pictures of authors and Web sites. There are also a few of the villain’s tools of the trade – poisons, on loan from the University’s Pharmacy Museum.

Exhibit creator Jean Siebert, learning services coordinator librarian at the Health Sciences Library, is an avid reader and believes the merging of the two fields has helped produce better writing in the mystery genre.

“When authors write medical mysteries, they need to understand the vocabulary, abbreviations and how the health care environment functions,” Siebert said. “Because they work or worked in this environment, they have this knowledge and the contacts to ask questions about other professions.”

Explore the fascinating exhibit at the Health Sciences Library on the second floor of Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. Or visit the exhibit online at

For more information, contact Siebert at 293-1920 or

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