The British Library offers a taster article by scholar Ruth Richardson about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the influence in Shelley’s day of grave robbing. It’s a light intro that many readers probably know in regards to Shelley’s life and the origin of Frankenstein (a game played in Geneva for all participants to come up with a suitable ghost story), but the article also frames the era of grave robbing and mass bodysnatching. Her own mother dying soon after childbirth, this could have been an illicit activity that Mary Shelley constantly thought over:
Frankenstein: graveyards, scientific experiments and bodysnatchers by Ruth Richardson, 15/5/2014 at The British Library website
She may indeed have lived for years with the fear that despite the willows her father had planted there, her mother’s body might have been stolen and dismembered.