Broken BonesBones header

A vandalized burial in an abandoned pioneer cemetery brings twelve-year-old Peggy Henderson and Dr. Edwina McKay, an elderly archaeologist fondly known as Eddy, to Golden, B.C. to excavate. The town dates back to the 1880s, the time when the national railroad was being built. Most of the citizens were rowdy miners and rail workers who Railroad Buildingrarely died of old age. Over the century since the cemetery closed the wooden burial markers have disintegrated, so the dead man’s identity is unknown. One day Eddy notices that the vertebrae at the base of the skull are crushed, a condition usually caused when someone is hanged to death. Information gathered from old newspapers preserved in the local museum and Peggy’s tendency to make quick judgments, lead her to the conclusion the young man in the burial got what he deserved.

Golden Spike


When Eddy invites the teen responsible for the vandalized burial to assist with the excavation Peggy is furious. It doesn’t help that he likes to talk in quotes from Shakespeare’s plays and wear gothic fashion. Just when Peggy is convinced this boy, like the man from the burial, is rotten to the core she learns an important lesson about judging others -- sometimes good people do bad things. Broken Bones is the sequel to Reading the Bones.





Teaching guide


CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 32. . . .April 22, 2011

McMurchy-Barber has created another suspenseful, humorous, and educational archeological mystery. Peggy's outspoken and sarcastic attitude and enthusiasm, combined with her very real human bias, make her a fallible and believable protagonist who has the capability to change and grow throughout the story. Young readers will identify with her changing emotions and value judgements expressed through her internal thoughts and rants. McMurchy-Barber summarizes the first book and Peggy's relationships with the other characters aptly and succinctly. A reader need not be familiar with Reading the Bones to enjoy Broken Bones. ....Her ability to connect the stories across time and perspectives draws the reader into the historic tale and sparks curiosity. McMurchy-Barber reveals the value of understanding our history and highlights how we can learn from our ancestors. The broken bones of the grave come to symbolize the broken dreams and goals of a whole generation of Golden's pioneers who expected to find health and happiness for their families, but who often met with strife and back-breaking work instead.

Broken Bones is a fast-paced historical mystery that reminds readers to consider the past before judging the present and anticipating the future. Review by Meghan Radomske.

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