Twenty Blue Devils [NOOK Book]

Overview

The dead man is the manager of Tahiti’s Paradise Coffee Plantation, producer of the most expensive coffee bean in the world, the winey, luscious Blue Devil. Nothing tangible points to foul play behind his fall from a cliff, but FBI agent John Lau, a relative of the coffee-growing family, has his suspicions. What he needs is evidence, and who better to provide it than his friend, anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective? Gideon is willing to help, but surprisingly—and suspiciously—both the police and ...
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Twenty Blue Devils

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Overview

The dead man is the manager of Tahiti’s Paradise Coffee Plantation, producer of the most expensive coffee bean in the world, the winey, luscious Blue Devil. Nothing tangible points to foul play behind his fall from a cliff, but FBI agent John Lau, a relative of the coffee-growing family, has his suspicions. What he needs is evidence, and who better to provide it than his friend, anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective? Gideon is willing to help, but surprisingly—and suspiciously—both the police and the other family members refuse to okay an exhumation order. As a result, Gideon, to his surprise and against his better judgment, finds himself sneaking into a graveyard under cover of night with John, a flashlight, and a shovel—not exactly up to the professional standards of the world’s most famous forensic anthropologist, but necessary under the circumstances.

Gideon prefers his bones ancient, dry, and dusty, but the body he must examine had lain in the tropical sun for a week before it was found and then buried native-style—shallow, with no casket—so it is not exactly his . . . well, cup of tea. But it is not the state of the remains that bothers him the most, it is the deeper human ugliness that his examination uncovers: subtle clues that do indeed point to foul play, to mistaken identity, and to a murderous conspiracy that may have percolated through the family for decades—and brewed a taste for murder.

The ninth entry in Elkins' Edgar Award-winning series digs up murder and treachery in Tahiti. Anthropologist/sleuth Gideon Oliver travels to Tahiti with FBI agent John Lau to exhume a body buried on a coffee plantation--only to be told when they arrive that there services are no longer needed. Sensing a secret too tantalizing to ignore, Gideon and John dig up the bones anyway. 304 pp. Print ads. Author publicity. 25,000 print.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Whimsical, intricately plotted...terribly clever.
NY Times Book Review
Gideon knows his bones -- and, in this case, his beans.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gideon Oliver, the shrewd, witty and self-deprecating forensic anthropologist, is at the top of his form in his ninth appearance (after Dead Men's Hearts, 1994). This tale, populated with a memorable and well-defined cast, finds Gideon traveling to Tahiti with friend and FBI agent John Lau to investigate what might have been the murder of Brian Scott, manager of the thriving, family-owned Paradise Coffee Plantation and common-law husband of the owner's daughter Thrse. Amid rumors of Mafia retaliation for earlier, unfriendly testimony by plantation owner Nick Druett, Gideon runs into unexpected obstacles. Neither Nick nor Thrse wants Brian's body exhumed; Nick's good friend, the pompous head of the local gendarmerie, agrees. Gideon, perceptive as always, notices something extraordinary in the official photographs of Brian and, as the ensuing investigation progresses, the seemingly close-knit family begins to unravel. Thrse, who is docile and uncommunicative, her politically correct sister and other, more devious family members are all at odds over a lucrative offer to buy the plantation, a move Brian had opposed. Zipping along at a smooth and rapid clip, the story combines masterfully etched characters and suggestions of lingering aromas of frangipani and coconut palms with the consummate panache of its hero. Elkins rewards his readers with a riveting mystery even while altering forever the way they will view their trendy, upscale coffee. Mystery Guild featured alternate; author tour. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
There must be trouble brewing at Nick Druett's Paradise Coffee Plantation. Nick's daughter Thérèse has sent back the lava samples she swiped from Hawaii, returning them in hopes of propitiating the volcano goddess Pele, who she can only hope has been responsible for the wave of infernal accidents (a worker maimed by new equipment, tons of coffee beans ruined by improper storage, two near-fatalities for Thérèse's unofficial husband Brian Scott) in her parents' Tahitian paradise. But Pele, or whoever, is undeterred. When a third accident leaves Brian dead, Thérèse's cousin, FBI agent John Lau, brings in forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver to examine Brian's corpse and see if he wasn't dispatched by a less divine agency. Nick, who'd originally requested an exhumation order, begins to waffle, and the police commandant won't let Oliver dig up the corpse. He must have read the Skeleton Detective's eight previous adventures (Dead Men's Hearts, 1994, etc.) and remembered what wizardry he can work on the most reluctant bones. But even he can't predict the spectacular deductions Oliver will base on an old head injury of Brian's and on his monster fibulas—or the hilarious home truths about the coffee business that'll follow.

Elkins has never gotten his due as a comic Patricia Cornwell. Maybe this tale, which beautifully balances tangy Tahitian backgrounds with a deft and brainy whodunit, will be the wake-up call.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497610156
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Series: Gideon Oliver Mysteries , #9
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 230
  • Sales rank: 181,957
  • File size: 654 KB

Meet the Author

Aaron Elkins
Aaron Elkins is a former anthropologist and professor who has been writing mysteries and thrillers since 1982. His major continuing series features forensic anthropologist-detective Gideon Oliver, “the Skeleton Detective.” There are fifteen published titles to date in the series. The Gideon Oliver books have been (roughly) translated into a major ABC-TV series and have been selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the Literary Guild, and the Readers Digest Condensed Mystery Series. His work has been published in a dozen languages.
 Mr. Elkins won the 1988 Edgar Award for best mystery of the year for Old Bones, the fourth book in the Gideon Oliver Series. He and his cowriter and wife, Charlotte, also won an Agatha Award, and he has also won a Nero Wolfe Award. Mr. Elkins lives on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with Charlotte.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Entertaining

    The book was entertaining and I did learn something from reading it. I think I may be tiring of Gideon's character, though. He and Julie need to have a medium or minor falling out. They're relationship is a little saccharin. I do enjoy the author's descriptions of the settings.

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