An Edgar Award–winning mystery featuring the forensic anthropologist hailed as “a likable, down-to-earth, cerebral sleuth”—from the author of Switcheroo (Chicago Tribune).
“With the roar of thunder and the speed of a galloping horse comes the tide to Mont St. Michel,” goes the old nursery song. So when the aged patriarch of the du Rocher family falls victim to the perilous tide, even the old man’s family accepts the verdict of accidental drowning.
But too quickly, this “accident” is followed by a bizarre discovery in the ancient du Rocher chateau: a human skeleton, wrapped in butcher paper, beneath the old stone flooring. Professor Gideon Oliver, lecturing on forensic anthropology at nearby St. Malo, is asked to examine the bones. He quickly demonstrates why he is known as the “Skeleton Detective,” providing the police with forensic details that lead them to conclude that these are the remains of a Nazi officer believed to have been murdered in the area during the Occupation. Or are they? Gideon himself has his doubts. Then, when another of the current du Rochers dies—this time via cyanide poisoning—his doubts solidify into a single certainty: Someone wants old secrets to stay buried . . . and is perfectly willing to eradicate the meddlesome American to make that happen.
Voted one of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century, and featuring “a thrilling final scene,” Old Bones will captivate fans of Kathy Reichs and Tess Gerritsen as well as readers of Aaron Elkins’s popular Alix London series (Publishers Weekly).
Old Bones is the 4th book in the Gideon Oliver Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
When revered Resistance-hero Guillaume du Rocher drowns in a rushing flood tide off Mont St. Michel, members of the familysummoned by Guillaume on undisclosed urgent businessare already assembled at the domaine du Rocher, where, instead, they hear his will. The next day in the basement, a partial skeleton is uncovered, and Gideon Oliver, American physical anthropologist known as the "Skeleton Detective,'' is called from his lectures at an international forensics conference to examine the bones. Gideon confirms the remains, determines that they are those of a young man dead almost 50 years, suggesting a connection to local Resistance actions, including one in which Guillaume's brother Alain was executed after Claude Fougeray, a du Rocher cousin and now Guillaume's principal heir, collaborated with the enemy. While Gideon gleans more and more information from the skeleton, Claude is poisoned and Gideon himself is threatened. An intricate plotmore substantial than it promises initiallyis weighed down by a school of weak red herrings, by too much multisyllabic information about bone structure and by characters more caricatured than lifelike. Elkins (The Dark Place and Fellowship of Fear), is better on the muck and sand below the abbey where the action, especially a thrilling final scene, gallops along as fast and compelling as the tide itself.
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I Didn't Really Like This Book But You Might
An old style mystery a bit in the Agatha Christie way. It took forever to get going and had silly characters who were not very believable. The plot was implausible as well. If an updated A. Christie would please you, you might want to read this.