Although this book is part of the "Archaeological Mystery' series, the only 'archaeology' in it is a passing remark by the narrator, Lara, that she was formerly married to a Mexican archaeologist. Rather a disappointment there.
Lara, a 40-something antique dealer from Toronto, has gone to Ireland with a friend to hear a reading of a will. Apparently, years in the past, her friend saved Eamon Byrne (the deceased gentleman)'s life, so he's once of the inheritors. However, all the other beneficiaries are members (and associates) of the squabbling family.
In order to try to bring his disagreeing (and rather disagreeable) relatives together, Mr. Byrne, a collector of ancient Celtic antiquities, devised a treasure hunt. Each family member gets a clue, and supposedly, everyone will have to share their clues and work together to find a very valuable hidden item.
However, the relatives don't seem interested in working together, and then the hired help starts dropping dead - most likely murdered.
It falls to Lara to try to piece together the clues, which are all based in Irish folklore and history, and solve the mystery.
The meshing of Celtic myth and history with a mystery like this is nice, unfortunately the story is a little bit unbelievable.
For example, a vague reference from an ancient poem seems to indicate a certain hill. So Our Characters go to that hill, climb it, and decide that 'cause the cairns that mark the trail are ancient, they should look at them. And they find a clue in an envelope wedged between the stones of one of the cairns. Talk about needle in a haystack! And in the space of a couple of weeks, they solve and find a dozen or so of these!
Also, the main character, Lara, is really bland. Perhaps her personality is more sharply defined in earlier books of the series, but I found her to be rather boring - especially in contrast to all the other characters, who had just bundles of quirky traits. They were also ALL the proud bearers of sterotypically Irish names. I mean, yes, the Irish do often have traditional Irish names, but not *everyone* in Ireland is named Padraig or Fionuala!
The book also has one of those unfortunate and cliched endings where the villain feels the need to hold someone at gunpoint while talking about the evil deeds and motivations for all the crimes committed for about 10 pages.
Sorry, but a solution to a mystery should make sense without that expository laziness.
Generally, one would think the killer would just go ahead and kill the victim without feeling the need to explain his or her actions at some length..... (meanwhile usually giving the victim a chance to escape...)
Enjoyed this one, although, I was looking for a little bit more of a challenge. I did like the fact that the story was interwoven with Irish folklore and a bit of history. I agree with some of the earlier comments regarding their disappointment that the book did not contain archaeological related information or a story developed along those lines. Perhaps that's contained in Hamilton's first novel, which I plan to read, as well. Hamilton's style is engaging and keeps you movitivated and interested to find out "Who done it?!" : )
This marks the fourth in the series. It starts off slower than the others but contains some fascinating details about Celtic lore. This time our heroine has gone to Ireland with her friend Alex who has inherited something from a man whose life he saved. The family is a dysfunctional mess but are charged with following a series of clues to find a treasure. Naturally murder and mayhem follow. I really like this series.
Carol M. (Delone) reviewed The Celtic Riddle (Archaeological Mystery, Bk 4) on
I enjoy the Lyn Hamilton mystery series because with every story you learn something new and interesting about history or an ancient culture, plus it's a good story too. She always takes you somewhere fascinating and it's a good read. Enjoy!
Lots of material about Celtic mythology and Irish music interwoven with the tragic consequences flowing from a lost child. The protagonist is a likeable antiques dealer from Toronto. It is one of a series that I have enjoyed.
From Publisher's Weekly: "This multilayered tale will please both puzzle enthusiasts and those who demand a totally surprising solution to a crime." Good book - I like the character Lara McClintoch and her adventures.
The co-owner of a Toronto antiques store, Lara McClintoch is obsessed with finding rare and beautiful artifacts. Her travels take her to the ends of the earth, where history jealously guards its treasures---and where the mysteries of the past meet the dangers of the present...
When Lara discovers the ancient Celtic poem that serves as the key to finding a mysterious treasure, she comes closer to the secret, someone thwarts her at every turn--with murder.