Edgar® Award–winning author Aaron Elkins’s creation—forensics professor Gideon Oliver—has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “a likable, down-to-earth, cerebral sleuth.” Now the celebrated Skeleton Detective unearths a wealthy family’s darkest secrets…
Alex Torkelsson has just gotten word: his late uncle Magnus’s plane has been found south of Hawaii’s Big Island after ten long years. So too have Magnus’s few skeletal remains, now handed over to the only man who can fit together the pieces of this mystery...
What forensic detective Gideon Oliver discovers could shake the Torkelsson family tree to its very roots. But this time his work is yielding more questions about the past than answers. Questions about the long-ago execution-style murder of Magnus’s brother...about a mysterious will that benefits—as well as incriminates—its heirs...and most disturbing of all: questions as to the true identity of the corpse in the lagoon. As lie upon lie is revealed, Gideon’s only hope is to let the bones of the dead condemn the living—before the living take revenge.
In Edgar-winner Elkins's solid 12th whodunit to feature forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver (after 2004's acclaimed Good Blood), Oliver's Hawaiian vacation turns into a busman's holiday, as he and close friend John Lau, an FBI agent who's also enjoying some downtime, get involved in a decade-old mystery surrounding the deaths of two elderly Swedish brothers who owned a huge cattle ranch. One night in 1994, hit men acting for an unknown client murdered Torkel Torkelsson, then attempted to conceal the corpse with an act of arson; that same night, Magnus Torklesson and a pilot took off in a small plane, never to be heard from again. Now divers have discovered the wreckage of the long-lost plane in a lagoon, with some skeletal remains. Soon learning that none of the original police investigation's conclusions may be valid, Oliver and Lau find themselves intrigued and frustrated by the lies and evasions pitched rapidly at them by the Torkelssons' heirs, all of whom have different motives for obscuring the truth. Oliver's deductions will remind classic mystery readers of archetypal scientific sleuth Dr. Thorndyke, and his three-dimensional personality and humor will continue to attract first-timers.