Dr. Simon Brambell was the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City at the time of the events of Reliquary. He was a slender Irishman with a long face and thin hair, about sixty five years old, always adorned with horn-rimmed glasses. Brambell was the twin brother of Dr. Patrick Brambell. He was a habitual early-riser, and after being robbed once at gunpoint and twice at knifepoint, always carried a surgical scalpel with him for protection.Brambell's office initially investigated the bodies of Pamela Wisher and an unknown man recovered from the Humboldt Kill. When it became known that the man had suffered from grotesque physical deformities, Brambell himself was called in, and he agreed with the police that the investigation be moved away from the relatively public space of the medical examiner's office. A laboratory was arranged at the New York Museum of Natural History and the bodies were secretly transported there.
Museum employee Dr. Margo Green and retired curator Dr. Whitney Frock were asked to assist Brambell, due to perceived similarities between the Wisher killing and the Museum Beast Murders eighteen months earlier. Frock and Brambell disagreed often and eventually came to detest one another.
The investigation proceeded slowly. The three determined that the bodies had been chewed on at the time of death, and also hacked with a crude instrument, like a stone knife or axe. The male corpse remained unidentified until Margo discovered four pieces of metal embedded in the body's lower back. Brambell recognized the pieces as screws from a plate installed to correct a back condition called spondylolisthesis, and immediately reached out to the few surgeons who were known to perform the procedure.
He never had a chance to hear back from any of them, however: Brambell was attacked and killed while walking home from the museum at midnight. His throat was brutally cut, the victim of an apparent mugging.
Green and Frock mourned Brambell's death, but continued the investigation. Dr. Green received a phone call from a Dr. Cavalieri in Baltimore, one of the surgeons Brambell had contacted. Cavalieri had immediately recognized the x-rays due to a specialized technique that he alone used, and identified body as Green and Frock's former museum coworker, Greg Kawakita. Kawakita had left the museum some months before and had apparently become involved in the production of a drug known as Glaze. Dr. Cavalieri expressed bewilderment at the conditions shown in the x-rays, particularly that the plate inserted to treat the spondylolisthesis had been removed.
In reality, Frock had been working with Kawakita before his death and had taken over leadership of a community of Glaze addicts (the Wrinklers) who lived underground due to their extreme sensitivity to light. Frock helped Kawakita further refine the drug and get the surgical plate removed. When Frock sensed that Brambell was on the verge of discovering the identity of the second skeleton, he had Brambell killed.