(Once again, my thanks to Norman Stevens, who wrote this brilliant installment)
The killer had consulted “Ducky” Mallard, the infamous NCIS Head Medical Examiner, so Mann’s heart was, indeed, removed almost intact. He removed the heart so carefully not because he intended to eat, or otherwise, destroy it. He was not, after all, some kind of Hannibal Lecter. He preserved the heart in order to incorporate it into an artists’ book that could be added to the choice collection of such books in the Rare Book Room of the Satis Library.
What better place would there be to memorialize Mann’s long-term relationship with the library? Mann, after all, fully deserved to be entombed in the library forever. It would serve him right. As Brad Leithuaser put it, “What is a library, after all, but a place where the dead, neatly coffined in their separate volumes, continue to speak.” (The Norton Book of Ghost Stories, p. 13) Such a book would be rarer, and more horrifying, than the fairly numerous books bound in human skin, such as two editions of The Dance of Death at the John Hay Library at Brown. Lacking the necessary skills to properly carve Mann’s name into the heart, preserve it, and incorporate it into a truly rare and unique heart-shaped tome, the killer called upon Ms. Nouleigh Rhee Furbished, who had shared sexual experiences with him in many parts of the library, to assist him in creating his masterpiece.
She, in turn, consulted with Abby Sciuto, “Ducky’s” colleague, who came up with an ingenious design that incorporates a self-contained, transistor-based refrigeration unit. Once the heart was properly frozen, a skilled stone carver, who chooses to remain anonymous, carved Mann’s name and dates into the heart. The heart now remains in its case surrounded by the text of Poe’s “The Telltale Heart” along with an iPod that transmits a low, pulsating recording of Mann’s own irregular heart beat whenever the case is opened.