1976: Dr. Colin Sanford, a brilliant, ambitious obstetrician practicing in the Pacific Northwest, resolves to become the first to produce a baby by in vitro fertilization, despite the controversy raging over the ethics of artificially-assisted human reproduction. He recruits Dr. Giselle Hearn, an experienced laboratory geneticistñembryologist at the University who's frustrated by the ultra-conservative policies of her department chairman. Working secretly, they set out to put their names in history books. And, incidentally, to cash in.
n due course, a Sanford patient, Joyce Kennett, gives birth to a healthy boy. There is rejoicing all around. So why does Joyce's husband erupt in rage, fatally shooting both Hearn and himself? Emerald Police Detective Bernie Baumgartner doggedly seeks the answer. Soon a double cat-and-mouse game develops between the detective who refuses to be bested and the doctor determined to be the best...
The pioneer period of in vitro fertilization forms the backdrop for Karp's promising first in a new series set in the Pacific Northwest. In 1977, obstetrician Colin Sanford aspires to be the first person to produce a viable baby through this innovative procedure. Aided by embryologist Giselle Hearn, Sanford successfully treats an infertile patient, Joyce Kennett. But before he can announce the birth of Joyce's son, her husband, James, shoots Giselle dead and then himself. While trying to determine what triggered the murder-suicide, Det. Bernie Baumgartner discovers an additional mystery: the disappearance of Giselle's laboratory supervisor. A duel of wills and wits ensues between the detective and Sanford, who aims to guard his reputation and avoid scandal. Karp (The Ragtime Fool), who as a young doctor was a witness to the race to produce the first IVF baby, tempers his well-constructed whodunit with dashes of science and a hint of poignancy.