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More Bitter than Death (Emma Fielding Series #5)

More Bitter than Death (Emma Fielding Series #5)

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by Dana Cameron

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It's a deadly winter for archaeologist Emma Fielding as she tracks a killer in an old New Hampshire hotel, in this fifth mystery from real-life archaeologist Dana Cameron.

Archaeologist Emma Fielding should be on top of the world. Her teaching job secure and home life stable, she arrives at an archaeological conference at a famous old New Hampshire hotel, having


It's a deadly winter for archaeologist Emma Fielding as she tracks a killer in an old New Hampshire hotel, in this fifth mystery from real-life archaeologist Dana Cameron.

Archaeologist Emma Fielding should be on top of the world. Her teaching job secure and home life stable, she arrives at an archaeological conference at a famous old New Hampshire hotel, having outrun the winter storm that's paralysing the East Coast. A rising star in the field, she's in the midst of friends she's known all her life, celebrating the work of Professor Garrison, a venerable legend in the field.

 When Garrison is found dead on the iced-over lake outside the snow-bound hotel, however, Emma realizes that everyone has something to hide, including herself. While the police determine whether Garrison's death was an accident, suicide, or murder, Emma's intimate knowledge of her colleagues hasn't prepared her for what they're concealing, even from themselves. Emma is also forced to face the fact that the dead man was no friend of hers (or her grandfather Oscar) and that everyone-colleagues, police, and herself included-wonders why her view of him is so very different.

The presence of Emma's old flame Duncan brings up bitter memories she'd rather were left buried deep in the past: Duncan wants something from her and Emma can't tell whether it is an opportunity to rekindle their relationship or a way to ensure her silence permanently. Professional jealousies and infighting would be enough added to Garrison's mysterious death, but a series of thefts and attacks in the isolated hotel make the stranded archaeologists ask whether a vengeful ghost has returned, practiced criminals are targeting the conference, or one of their own number has finally succumbed to an array of deadly temptations.

Editorial Reviews

Florida Sun-Sentinel
“[D]elivers a unique, surprise-filled plot that’s enhanced by mature, intelligent characters.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Emma Fielding Series, #5
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.84(d)

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More Bitter Than Death

An Emma Fielding Mystery
By Dana Cameron

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Dana Cameron
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060554630

Chapter One

I was back at Penitence Point. They say that every criminal returns to the scene of the crime, and I sure felt guilty, but I wasn't sure about what. I had a lot to choose from, at the moment.

Although we were all stamping and shivering, walking on paths that were carved out of the knee-deep early January snow, I was knocking almost everyone dead with my tour of the site. Nearly everyone had paid attention when I warned them to dress sensibly, and the good thing about the gray afternoon was that it was perfect for imagining what it must have been like here four hundred years ago when the English colonists were wondering what the hell they were doing stuck in Maine. And frankly, being on the Atlantic coast when a storm was brewing, you had to want to be there for some reason. The snow that was already on the ground damped out the ambient noise of the twenty-first century, the dull light warning of the promised storm made you pause to think about life when you couldn't just flick a switch for light and heat, and the sound of the water brushing the beach and rolling the cobbles lent you a little of the sense of isolation that must have characterized the days of the first English settlers on this shore. I made good use of these points as I walked the group over to where we believed the buildings of Fort Providence once were, and to judge from the responses -- oohs, ahhs, questions, and laughter in the right places -- I was doing a great job.

This was one of my favorite things: talking about my archaeological work with my colleagues from up and down the East Coast. The conference we were all gathered for was one thing -- a yearly archaeological jamboree of hundreds of kindred spirits -- but actually being on the ground, at the site, in the environment, with a group of people who spoke your language, should have been sheer bliss.

What was really pissing me off was the two men who were tuned out, each in his own little world, at opposite ends of the site. The way I see it, if you're not going to pay attention, you shouldn't really take up someone else's space on the bus. More than that, I couldn't stand how childishly angry I felt with them -- each for separate reasons -- and struggled to focus on what was important.

I kept my talk brief and to the point, however, because the wind whipped right off the water to bite right through to the bone, no matter how many layers of wool or fleece or Gore- Tex you wore. And every time I looked over, they were the only two not paying attention. I tried funny, I tried serious replete with jargon, I tried romance and pathos. The rest of the group was right there following along with me, but no matter what I did, those two just wouldn't react.

I hate when that happens. I hate how petulant I felt, no matter how well I was hiding it.

What do you want, guys? Archaeology not enough for you? I can do murder and mayhem, if that's more to your taste.

Ah, to hell with them, I thought, and concentrated on the people who knew enough to pay attention, strutted and shimmied for them all the harder: archaeology as performance art. Knowing the older guy was just looking off to the water, and the younger, red-headed guy off to the right was looking around like he was waiting for a bus, impatient and bored, just gnawed at me. I had enough on my plate dealing with the past -- my own personal past in this place -- without them making it worse.

It was time to go.

The skies were darkening, low clouds heavy with snow as I finished off the spiel and began to herd everyone up the slope toward the bus, promising coffee and hot chocolate and a warm ride back to the conference hotel in New Hampshire. We'd been lucky so far, but the weather was looking nastier by the minute and the news had been promising a good solid storm by nightfall. I counted off the folks as they climbed on board, accepting praise from some, offers of data from others, making sure I didn't strand anyone at the site: that would have been a little too realistic a historical reenactment for anyone's liking. Stuck alone, miles from help, with winter's wrath about to unload on them ... Actually, it struck me as a sound punishment for some.

I felt my smile fade as the last person in the line reached me. I knew why he was last in line, the same way I knew why he hadn't been all that interested in my talk. What I couldn't understand was how quiet he'd been; that was unlike him. He looked just the same as I remembered from our undergraduate days. If he was a little more lined about the face, or a little more gray in his beard, the red hair and cocky attitude I knew so well was still there.

At first I didn't think he was actually going to make eye contact, was hoping he wouldn't, but he surprised me. Not for the first time. Damn his eyes.

"Good stuff, Em," he said, pausing a little before he climbed into the bus.

"Thanks." I couldn't bring myself to say his name and coughed to cover my surprise. He didn't look nearly as bad as I'd hoped, a little puffy -- tired perhaps. But the horns and sores I'd wished on him years ago were surprisingly absent. I fussed with the clipboard; I was still one body short.

"I've gotta go find Garrison," I said, nodding too briskly. I stepped back and around him, too obviously. Still not fast enough for me ...


Excerpted from More Bitter Than Death by Dana Cameron Copyright © 2005 by Dana Cameron. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dana Cameron is a professional archaeologist, with a Ph.D. and experience in Old and New World archaeology. She has worked extensively on the East Coast on sites dating from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. Ms. Cameron lives in Massachusetts. Ashes and Bones is her sixth novel featuring archaeologist Emma Fielding.

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More Bitter than Death (Emma Fielding Series #5) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not finish the book because it was so unintesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each time I read Dana Cameron¿s mysteries, I am left with pure happiness. MORE BITTER THAN DEATH is no exception. Emma Fielding is at a scholarly conference to give a paper in honor of the legendary archaeologist Julius Garrison. When Garrison turns up dead, Emma knows it was no accident. As usual Emma sticks her archaeological nose into police business, and is, at first, suspected of being the killer. The terrible realization for Emma is one of her friends or associates could be the murderer. This book is smart in the ways of depicting the characters and the environment. Cameron really understands the scholarly world of the professional archaeologist. In addition, I feel that the author has come into her own with this book. This series looks like it will just get better and better. ¿ Leslie Strang Akers
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Emma Fielding is attending an archaeology conference. Some of the most respected and noted names in the business are attending to celebrate the work of legendary Julius Garrison. The snow has piled high outside the hotel, but the conference attendees' tempers seem to be even higher. .................................... Emma came expecting to simply give a paper, listen to some papers, get reacquainted with friends, and buy a lot of archaeology books that she did not really need. Instead, Emma must deal with seeing Dr. Duncan Thayer, who jilted her long ago, watch cantankerous old Garrison be bitter to everyone unfortunate enough to meet him, and wonder why someone is stealing worthless pieces of jewelry and such. ..................................... When Garrison's lifeless body is found outside the snow-bound inn, Emma learns that she is one of the top suspects. Emma must put her archaeological skills together with her new forensic teachings to figure it all out - before SHE becomes the next lifeless body. .................................................................... ...................... **** This is the fifth mystery for Emma. Each book is stand alone; however, if you read them in order you may watch the character actually mature in the role. Since the author, Dana Cameron, is a professional archaeologist, she is able to make the entire story very realistic. You cannot help but envision the main character puzzling away. Excellent series! This is a terrific addition. ****