At a construction site in lower Manhattan, a tunnel is unearthed beneath an old tenement which is being knocked down. Inside the tunnel, workers find bones and remains of personal objects belonging to a total of 36 people. A mysterious southern FBI agent appears at the New York Museum of Natural History in the office of archaeologist Nora Kelly. Agent Pendergast presses Dr. Kelly into service to investigate the site, and she discovers that it dates to the late 19th century. From the appearance of the remains, it is clear that the people have been murdered, but what is not clear is why, and for that matter why a southern FBI agent is investigating a century-old serial killing in New York City. The Cabinet of Curiosities is a marvelous mystery which taught me a bit about the phenomenon of cabinets of curiosities and the life of the poor in late 19th century New York. The books celebrates some gems of New York City culture, especially the Museum of Natural History. It is very much a novel of place--I searched for a street map of the city to follow the characters as they walked some of the neighborhoods I knew less well despite 10 years of living there. My brother-in-law has recommended the books of Preston and Child for a couple of years, and now I understand why. The characters in this book are fun to get to know, the atmosphere is delightfully creepy, and the action is well paced. At this point, I fully intend to read more of the Pendergast series. I definitely want to know more about Pendergast himself.