On an archeological excavation in Mexico, the Skeleton Detective must solve an ancient riddle and a modern murder: “A series that never disappoints.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
Mayan ruins in the Yucatán . . . a secret room in a tomb . . . age‑old skeletons. To anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the renowned Skeleton Detective, the invitation to join the archaeological excavation of Tlaloc promises two months of paradise on Earth.
That is, until an ancient series of Mayan curses against desecrators of the site is unearthed. When the first one comes to pass (“The bloodsucking kinkajou will come freely among them”), it is taken by all as a practical joke. But by the time the fourth one is apparently consummated (“The one called Xecotcavach will pierce their skulls so that their brains spill onto the earth”), nerves have begun to fray and suspicions and discord are mounting.
The steamy jungles weigh down on the band of eccentric anthropologists as one by one the curses continue to materialize. It takes Gideon’s special talents for deduction—along with the enigmatic insights of Mexico’s one and only Mayan Indian inspector of the state judicial police—to resolve an ancient riddle and a modern, murderous mystery.
Curses! is the 5th book in the Gideon Oliver Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Biological anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detectivemost recently featured in the Edgar-winning Old Bones heads down to the Yucatan to the archeological dig of Tlaloc, where five years previously he had been witness to the theft, by the project leader, of a priceless Mayan codex. After the scandal, the Mexican government closed the dig for several years but is now allowing work to resume under the direction of Gideon's old friend and mentor, Abe Goldstein. When Gideon and his wife, Julie, arrive to study some old bones, some recent remains make their appearance. A freelance reporter who is writing a sensational series on the dig and the theft is shot. Then the codex and a body are found under a rock fall; the victim turns out to be the main suspect. Most of the members of the current expedition, amateurs working without pay, are now under suspicion. While Gideon renews his friendship with the testy inspector of the Yucatan police, copes with an ancient Mayan curse and exercises his artful detective powers, he comes close to being killed himself. Elkins provides another delightful, semiserious romp through science and an exotic police culture.