Dead Men's Hearts - Gideon Oliver, Bk 8 Author:Aaron J. Elkins Earning a place right next to the books of Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman are the engrossing mysteries of award-winning author Aaron Elkins. As the Chicago Sun-Times says: "Murder, a singular detective, a winning supporting cast, humor -- what more could we want from a mystery?" Yet Elkins's Gideon Oliver novels do give us more: They engage the... more » reader in a foray into the fascinating field of forensic anthropology, and they always happen in the very best places on earth for murder! His latest work, Dead Men's Hearts, is set in an unbeatable location for old bones and new skullduggery: the ruins of ancient Egypt. A promised role in a documentary film draws Gideon Oliver to Egypt's famed Valley of the Nile, where he expects an undemanding week of movie-star treatment plus a top-of-the-line cruise along the river with his wife, Julie. But a skeleton unexpectedly turns up in the garbage of the Egyptological institute where the filming starts. The bones, Gideon determines, are those of an anonymous Fifth Dynasty scribe who has been uneventfully gathering dust in a storeroom for seventy years. These venerable relics are cleaned, sorted, analyzed, and placed back in storage with all due respect. Sifting through bones is nothing new for the man known as the Skeleton Detective, but wandering skeletons are out of the ordinary. So when the same remains inexplicably wind up in another garbage heap a few days later -- days during which a staff member has died under highly suspicious circumstances -- Gideon hauls out his calipers for a second, longer look. What he discovers will send him and Julie through the bazaars and back alleys of modern Egypt and deep into the ancient Valley of the Kings. And as the puzzle is pieced together, Gideon will find that the identifying traits of a cunning killer are timeless: greed without guilt, lies without conscience... and murder without remorse.« less
terrafreaky reviewed Dead Men's Hearts (Gideon Oliver, Bk 8) on
A bright, breezy, witty writing style, a cunning plot, a remarkably appealing hero, some uproariously funny dialogue, and an exotic Mideast setting add up to a winning combination in anthropologist/sleuth Gideon Oliver's eighth outing. After reluctantly agreeing to help film a documentary promoting Horizon House, a center for Egyptian studies located in the Nile Valley, Gideon and his wife, Julie, are looking forward to a relaxing few weeks. But soon after they reach Luxor, an ancient skeleton unearthed at a Horizon House dig in the 1920s is misplaced, and the illustrious head of the institute, Professor Clifford Haddon, is murdered. Gideon, already nicknamed "the Skeleton Detective" for his previous forays into anthropological crime-solving, finds himself caught up in one of the oddest and most deadly adventures of his sleuthing career. A priceless Amarna statuette is at stake, and if Gideon can outwit the mysterious, galabia-clad tomb-robbers, the crooked artifact smugglers, and the bumbling Luxor police, he may be able to find the missing statue and Haddon's killer. A refreshingly funny, clever, entertaining mystery that will appeal to a broad range of readers.