Death Du Jour (Temperance Brennan Series #2)

Death Du Jour (Temperance Brennan Series #2)

by Kathy Reichs

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Overview

Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs exploded onto bestseller lists worldwide with her phenomenal debut novel Déjà Dead -- and introduced "[a] brilliant heroine" (Glamour) in league with Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. Dr. Temperance Brennan, Quebec's director of forensic anthropology, now returns in a thrilling new investigation into the secrets of the dead.
In the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, Tempe Brennan is digging for a corpse buried more than a century ago. Although Tempe thrives on such enigmas from the past, it's a chain of contemporary deaths and disappearances that has seized her attention -- and she alone is ideally placed to make a chilling connection among the seemingly unrelated events. At the crime scene, at the morgue, and in the lab, Tempe probes a mystery that sweeps from a deadly Quebec fire to startling discoveries in the Carolinas, and culminates in Montreal with a terrifying showdown -- a nerve-shattering test of both her forensic expertise and her skills for survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671011376
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 08/01/2000
Series: Temperance Brennan Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 93,917
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a #1 New York Timesbestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. A Conspiracy of Bones is Kathy’s nineteenth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels. Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec. Visit Kathy at KathyReichs.com.

Hometown:

Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Québec

Place of Birth:

Chicago, Illinois

Education:

B.A., American University, 1971; M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

If the bodies were there, I couldn't find them.

Outside, the wind howled. Inside the old church, just the scrape of my trowel and the hum of a portable generator and heater echoed eerily in the huge space. High above, branches scratched against boarded windows, gnarled fingers on plywood blackboards.

The group stood behind me, huddled but not touching, fingers curled tightly in pockets. I could hear the shifting from side to side, the lifting of one foot, then the other. Boots made a crunching sound on the frozen ground. No one spoke. The cold had numbed us into silence.

I watched a cone of earth disappear through quarter-inch mesh as I spread it gently with my trowel. The granular subsoil had been a pleasant surprise. Given the surface, I had expected permafrost the entire depth of the excavation. The last two weeks had been unseasonably warm in Quebec, however, allowing snow to melt and ground to thaw. Typical Tempe luck. Though the tickle of spring had been blown away by another arctic blast, the mild spell had left the dirt soft and easy to dig. Good. Last night the temperature had dropped to seven degrees Fahrenheit. Not good. While the ground had not refrozen, the air was frigid. My fingers were so cold I could hardly bend them.

We were digging our second trench. Still nothing but pebbles and rock fragments in the screen. I didn't anticipate much at this depth, but you could never tell. I'd yet to do an exhumation that had gone as planned.

I turned to a man in a black parka and a tuque on his head. He wore leather boots laced to the knee, two pairs of socks rolled over the tops. His face was the color of tomato soup.

"Just a few more inches." I gave a palm-down gesture, like stroking a cat. Slowly. Go slowly.

The man nodded, then thrust his long-handled spade into the shallow trench, grunting like Monica Seles on a first serve.

"Par pouces!" I yelped, grabbing the shovel. By inches! I repeated the slicing motion I'd been showing him all morning. "We want to take it down in thin layers." I said it again, in slow, careful French.

The man clearly did not share my sentiment. Maybe it was the tediousness of the task, maybe the thought of unearthing the dead. Tomato soup just wanted to be done and gone.

"Please, Guy, try again?" said a male voice behind me.

"Yes, Father." Mumbled.

Guy resumed, shaking his head, but skimming the soil as I'd shown him, then tossing it into the screen. I shifted my gaze from the black dirt to the pit itself, watching for signs that we were nearing a burial.

We'd been at it for hours, and I could sense tension behind me. The nuns' rocking had increased in tempo. I turned to give the group what I hoped was a reassuring look. My lips were so stiff it was hard to tell.

Six faces looked back at me, pinched from cold and anxiousness. A small cloud of vapor appeared and dissolved in front of each. Six smiles in my direction. I could sense a lot of praying going on.

Ninety minutes later we were five feet down. Like the first, this pit had produced only soil. I was certain I had frostbite in every toe, and Guy was ready to bring in a backhoe. Time to regroup.

"Father, I think we need to check the burial records again."

He hesitated a moment. Then, "Yes. Of course. Of course. And we could all use coffee and a sandwich."

The priest started toward a set of wooden doors at the far end of the abandoned church and the nuns followed, heads down, gingerly navigating the lumpy ground. Their white veils spread in identical arcs across the backs of their black wool coats. Penguins. Who'd said that? The Blues Brothers.

I turned off the mobile spotlights and fell in step, eyes to the ground, amazed at the fragments of bone embedded in the dirt floor. Great. We'd dug in the one spot in the entire church that didn't contain burials.

Father Ménard pushed open one of the doors and, single file, we exited to daylight. Our eyes needed little adjustment. The sky was leaden and seemed to hug the spires and towers of all the buildings in the convent's compound. A raw wind blew off the Laurentians, flapping collars and veils.

Our little group bent against the wind and crossed to an adjacent building, gray stone like the church, but smaller. We climbed steps to an ornately carved wooden porch and entered through a side door.

Inside, the air was warm and dry, pleasant after the bitter cold. I smelled tea and mothballs and years of fried food.

Wordlessly, the women removed their boots, smiled at me one by one, and disappeared through a door-way to the right just as a tiny nun in an enormous ski sweater shuffled into the foyer. Fuzzy brown reindeer leaped across her chest and disappeared beneath her veil. She blinked at me through thick lenses and reached for my parka. I hesitated, afraid its weight would tip her off balance and send her crashing to the tile. She nodded sharply and urged me with upturned fingertips, so I slipped the jacket off, laid it across her arms, and added cap and gloves. She was the oldest woman that I had ever seen still breathing.

I followed Father Ménard down a long, poorly lit hallway into a small study. Here the air smelled of old paper and schoolhouse paste. A crucifix loomed over a desk so large I wondered how they'd gotten it through the door. Dark oak paneling rose almost to the ceiling. Statues stared down from the room's upper edge, faces somber as the figure on the crucifix.

Father Ménard took one of two wooden chairs facing the desk, gestured me to the other. The swish of his cassock. The click of his beads. For a moment I was back at St. Barnabas. In Father's office. In trouble again. Stop it, Brennan. You're over forty, a professional. A forensic anthropologist. These people called you because they need your expertise.

The priest retrieved a leather-bound volume from the desktop, opened it to a page with a green ribbon marker, and positioned the book between us. He took a deep breath, pursed his lips, and exhaled through his nose.

I was familiar with the diagram. A grid with rows divided into rectangular plots, some with numbers, some with names. We'd spent hours poring over it the day before, comparing the descriptions and records for the graves with their positions on the grid. Then we'd paced it all off, marking exact locations.

Sister Élisabeth Nicolet was supposed to be in the second row from the church's north wall, third plot from the west end. Right next to Mother Aurélie. But she wasn't. Nor was Aurélie where she should have been.

I pointed to a grave in the same quadrant, but several rows down and to the right. "O.K. Raphael seems to be there." Then down the row. "And Agathe, Véronique, Clément, Marthe, and Eléonore. Those are the burials from the 1840s, right?"

"C'est ça."

I moved my finger to the portion of the diagram corresponding to the southwest corner of the church. "And these are the most recent graves. The markers we found are consistent with your records."

"Yes. Those were the last, just before the church was abandoned."

"It was closed in 1914."

"Nineteen fourteen. Yes, 1914." He had an odd way of repeating words and phrases.

"Élisabeth died in 1888?"

"C'est ça, 1888. Mère Aurélie in 1894."

It didn't make sense. Evidence of the graves should be there. It was clear that artifacts from the 1840 burials remained. A test in that area had produced wood fragments and bits of coffin hardware. In the protected environment inside the church, with that type of soil, I thought the skeletons should be in pretty good shape. So where were Élisabeth and Aurélie?

The old nun shuffled in with a tray of coffee and sandwiches. Steam from the mugs had fogged her glasses, so she moved with short, jerky steps, never lifting her feet from the floor. Father Ménard rose to take the tray.

"Merci, Sister Bernard. This is very kind. Very kind."

The nun nodded and shuffled out, not bothering to clear her lenses. I watched her as I helped myself to coffee. Her shoulders were about as broad as my wrist.

"How old is Sister Bernard?" I asked, reaching for a croissant. Salmon salad and wilted lettuce.

"We're not exactly sure. She was at the convent when I first started coming here as a child, before the war. World War II, that is. Then she went to teach in the foreign missions. She was in Japan for a long time, then Cameroon. We think she's in her nineties." He sipped his coffee. A slurper.

"She was born in a small village in the Saguenay, says she joined the order when she was twelve." Slurp. "Twelve. Records weren't so good in those days in rural Quebec. Not so good."

I took a bite of sandwich then rewrapped my fingers around the coffee mug. Delicious warmth.

"Father, are there any other records? Old letters, documents, anything we haven't looked at?" I wriggled my toes. No sensation.

He gestured to the papers littering the desk, shrugged. "This is everything Sister Julienne gave me. She is the convent archivist, you know."

"Yes."

Sister Julienne and I had spoken and corresponded at length. It was she who had initially contacted me about the project. I was intrigued from the outset. This case was very different from my usual forensic work involving the recently dead who end up with the coroner. The archdiocese wanted me to exhume and analyze the remains of a saint. Well, she wasn't really a saint. But that was the point. Élisabeth Nicolet had been proposed for beatification. I was to find her grave and verify that the bones were hers. The saint part was up to the Vatican.

Sister Julienne had assured me that there were good records. All graves in the old church were cataloged and mapped. The last burial had taken place in 1911. The church was abandoned and sealed in 1914 following a fire. A larger one was built to replace it, and the old building was never used again. Closed site. Good documentation. Piece of cake.

So where was Élisabeth Nicolet?

"It might not hurt to ask. Perhaps there's something Sister Julienne didn't give you because she thought it unimportant."

He started to say something, changed his mind. "I'm quite sure she's given me everything, but I'll ask. Sister Julienne has spent a great deal of time researching this. A great deal."

I watched him out the door, finished my croissant, then another. I crossed my legs, tucked my feet under me, and rubbed my toes. Good. Feeling was returning. Sipping my coffee, I lifted a letter from the desk.

I'd read it before. August 4, 1885. Smallpox was out of control in Montreal. Élisabeth Nicolet had written to Bishop Édouard Fabre, pleading that he order vaccinations for parishioners who were well, and use of the civic hospital by those who were infected. The handwriting was precise, the French quaint and outdated.

The Convent Notre-Dame de l'Immaculée-Conception was absolutely silent. My mind drifted. I thought of other exhumations. The policeman in St-Gabriel. In that cemetery the coffins had been stacked three deep. We'd finally found Monsieur Beaupré four graves from his recorded location, bottom position, not top. And there was the man in Winston-Salem who wasn't in his own coffin. The occupant was a woman in a long floral dress. That had left the cemetery with a double problem. Where was the deceased? And who was the body in the coffin? The family never was able to rebury Grandpa in Poland, and the lawyers were girding for war when I left.

Far off, I heard a bell toll, then, in the corridor, shuffling. The old nun was heading my way.

"Serviettes," she screeched. I jumped, rocketing coffee onto my sleeve. How could so much volume come from so small a person?

"Merci." I reached for the napkins.

She ignored me, closed in, and began scrubbing my sleeve. A tiny hearing aid peeked from her right ear. I could feel her breath and see fine white hairs ringing her chin. She smelled of wool and rose water.

"Eh, voilà. Wash it when you get home. Cold water."

"Yes, Sister." Reflex.

Her eyes fell on the letter in my hand. Fortunately, it was coffee-free. She bent close.

"Élisabeth Nicolet was a great woman. A woman of God. Such purity. Such austerity." Pureté. Austérité. Her French sounded as I imagined Élisabeth's letters would if spoken.

"Yes, Sister." I was nine years old again.

"She will be a saint."

"Yes, Sister. That's why we're trying to find her bones. So they can receive proper treatment." I wasn't sure just what proper treatment was for a saint, but it sounded right.

I pulled out the diagram and showed it to her. "This is the old church." I traced the row along the north wall, and pointed to a rectangle. "This is her grave."

The old nun studied the grid for a very long time, lenses millimeters from the page.

"She's not there," she boomed.

"Excuse me?"

"She's not there." A knobby finger tapped the rectangle. "That's the wrong place."

Father Ménard returned at that moment. With him was a tall nun with heavy black eyebrows that angled together above her nose. The priest introduced Sister Julienne, who raised clasped hands and smiled.

It wasn't necessary to explain what Sister Bernard had said. Undoubtedly they'd heard the old woman while in the corridor. They'd probably heard her in Ottawa.

"That's the wrong place. You're looking in the wrong place," she repeated.

"What do you mean?" asked Sister Julienne.

"They're looking in the wrong place," she repeated. "She's not there."

Father Ménard and I exchanged glances.

"Where is she, Sister?" I asked.

She bent to the diagram once again, then jabbed her finger at the southeast corner of the church. "She's there. With Mère Aurélie."

"But, Sis -- "

"They moved them. Gave them new coffins and put them under a special altar. There."

Again she pointed at the southeast corner.

"When?" we asked simultaneously.

Sister Bernard closed her eyes. The wrinkled old lips moved in silent calculation.

"Nineteen eleven. The year I came here as a novice. I remember, because a few years later the church burned and they boarded it up. It was my job to go in and put flowers on their altar. I didn't like that. Spooky to go in there all alone. But I offered it up to God."

"What happened to the altar?"

"Taken out sometime in the thirties. It's in the Holy Infant Chapel in the new church now." She folded the napkin and began gathering coffee things. "There was a plaque marking those graves, but not anymore. No one goes in there now. Plaque's been gone for years.

Father Ménard and I looked at each other. He gave a slight shrug.

"Sister," I began, "do you think you could show us where Élisabeth's grave is?"

"Bien sûr."

"Now?"

"Why not?" China rattled against china.

"Never mind the dishes," said Father Ménard. "Please, get your coat and boots on, Sister, and we'll walk over."

Ten minutes later we were all back in the old church. The weather had not improved and, if anything, was colder and damper than in the morning. The wind still howled. The branches still tapped.

Sister Bernard picked an unsteady path across the church, Father Ménard and I each gripping an arm. Through the layers of clothing, she felt brittle and weightless.

The nuns followed in their spectator gaggle, Sister Julienne ready with steno pad and pen. Guy hung to the rear.

Sister Bernard stopped outside a recess in the southeast corner. She'd added a hand-knitted chartreuse hat over her veil, tied under her chin. We watched her head turn this way and that, searching for markers, getting her bearings. All eyes focused on the one spot of color in the dreary church interior.

I signaled to Guy to reposition a light. Sister Bernard paid no attention. After some time she moved back from the wall. Head left, head right, head left. Up. Down. She checked her position once more, then gouged a line in the dirt with the heel of her boot. Or tried to.

"She's here." The shrill voice echoed off stone walls.

"You're sure?"

"She's here." Sister Bernard did not lack self-assurance.

We all looked at the mark she'd made.

"They're in little coffins. Not like regular ones. They were just bones, so everything fit into small coffins." She held her tiny arms out to indicate a child-size dimension. An arm trembled. Guy focused the light on the spot at her feet.

Father Ménard thanked the ancient nun and asked two of the sisters to help her back to the convent. I watched their retreat. She looked like a child between them, so small that the hem of her coat barely cleared the dirt floor.

I asked Guy to bring the other spotlight to the new location. Then I retrieved my probe from the earlier site, positioned the tip where Sister Bernard had indicated, and pushed on the T-bar handle. No go. This spot was less defrosted. I was using a tile probe to avoid damaging anything underground, and the ball-shaped tip did not pass easily through the partially frozen upper layer. I tried again, harder.

Easy, Brennan. They won't be happy if you shatter a coffin window. Or poke a hole through the good sister's skull.

I removed my gloves, wrapped my fingers around the T-bar, and thrust again. This time the surface broke, and I felt the probe slide into the subsoil. Suppressing the urge to hurry, I tested the earth, eyes closed, feeling for minute differences in texture. Less resistance could mean an airspace where something had decomposed. More could mean that a bone or artifact was present underground. Nothing. I withdrew the probe and repeated the process.

On the third try I felt resistance. I withdrew, reinserted six inches to the right. Again, contact. There was something solid not far below the surface.

I gave the priest and nuns a thumbs-up, and asked Guy to bring the screen. Laying aside the probe, I took up a flat-edged shovel and began to strip thin slices of earth. I peeled soil, inch by inch, tossing it into the screen, my eyes moving from the fill to the pit. Within thirty minutes I saw what I was looking for. The last few tosses were dark, black against the red-brown dirt in the screen.

I switched from shovel to trowel, bent into the pit, and carefully scraped the floor, removing loose particles and leveling the surface. Almost immediately I could see a dark oval. The stain looked about three feet long. I could only guess at its width since it lay half hidden under unexcavated soil.

"There's something here," I said, straightening. My breath hung in front of my face.

As one, the nuns and priest moved closer and peered into the pit. I outlined the oval with my trowel tip. At that moment Sister Bernard's escort nuns rejoined the flock.

"It could be a burial, though it looks rather small. I've dug a bit to the left, so I'll have to take this portion down." I indicated the spot where I was squatting. "I'll excavate outside the grave itself and work my way down and in. That way we'll have a profile view of the burial as we go. And it's easier on the back to dig that way. An outside trench will also allow us to remove the coffin from the side if we have to."

"What is the stain?" asked a young nun with a face like a Girl Scout.

"When something with a high organic content decays, it leaves the soil much darker. It could be from the wooden coffin, or flowers that were buried with it." I didn't want to explain the decomposition process. "Staining is almost always the first sign of a burial."

Two of the nuns crossed themselves.

"Is it Éthsabeth or Mère Aurélie?" asked an older nun. One of her lower lids did a little dance.

I raised my hands in a "beats me" gesture. Pulling on my gloves, I started troweling the soil over the right half of the stain, expanding the pit outward to expose the oval and a two-foot strip along its right.

Again, the only sounds were scraping and screening. Then,

"Is that something?" The tallest of the nuns pointed to the screen.

I rose to look, grateful for an excuse to stretch.

The nun was indicating a small, reddish-brown fragment.

"You bet your a -- . That sure is, Sister. Looks like coffin wood."

I got a stack of paper bags from my supplies, marked one with the date, location, and other pertinent information, set it in the screen, and laid the others on the ground. My fingers were now completely numb.

"Time to work, ladies. Sister Julienne, you record everything we find. Write it on the bag, and enter it in the log, just as we discussed. We're at" -- I looked into the pit -- "about the two-foot level. Sister Marguerite, you're going to shoot some pictures?"

Sister Marguerite nodded, held up her camera.

They flew into action, eager after the long hours of watching. I troweled, Sisters Eyelid and Girl Scout screened. More and more fragments appeared, and before long we could see an outline in the stained soil. Wood. Badly deteriorated. Not good.

Using my trowel and bare hands, I continued to uncover what I hoped was a coffin. Though the temperature was below freezing and all feeling had left my fingers and toes, inside my parka I sweated. Please let this be her, I thought. Now who was praying?

As I inched the pit northward, exposing more and more wood, the object expanded in breadth. Slowly, the contour emerged: hexagonal. Coffin shape. It took some effort not to shout "Hallelujah!" Churchy, but unprofessional, I told myself.

I teased away earth, handful by handful, until the top of the object was fully exposed. It was a small casket, and I was moving from the foot toward the head. I put down my trowel and reached for a paintbrush. My eyes met those of one of my screeners. I smiled. She smiled. Her right lid did a jitterbug.

I brushed the wooden surface again and again, teasing away decades of encrusted soil. Everyone stopped to watch. Gradually, a raised object emerged on the coffin lid. Just above the widest point. Exactly where a plaque would be. My heart did its own fast dance.

I brushed dirt from the object until it came into focus. It was oval, metallic, with a filigreed edge. Using a toothbrush, I gently cleaned its surface. Letters emerged.

"Sister, could you hand me my flashlight? From the pack?"

Again, they leaned in as one. Penguins at a watering spot. I shone the beam onto the plaque. "Éthsabeth Nicolet -- 1846-1888. Femme contemplative."

"We've got her," I said to no one in particular.

"Hallelujah!" shouted Sister Girl Scout. So much for church etiquette.

For the next two hours we exhumed Élisabeth's remains. The nuns, and even Father Ménard, threw themselves into the task like undergraduates on their first dig. Habits and cassock swirled around me as dirt was screened, bags were filled, labeled, and stacked, and the whole process was captured on film. Guy helped, though still reluctant. It was as odd a crew as I've ever directed.

Removing the casket was not easy. Though it was small, the wood was badly damaged and the coffin interior had filled with dirt, increasing the weight to about ten tons. The side trench had been a good call, though I'd underestimated the space we'd need. We had to expand outward by two feet to allow plywood to slide under the coffin. Eventually, we were able to raise the whole assemblage using woven polypropylene rope.

By five-thirty we were drinking coffee in the convent kitchen, exhausted, fingers, toes, and faces thawing. Éthsabeth Nicolet and her casket were locked in the back of the archdiocese van, along with my equipment. Tomorrow, Guy would drive her to the Laboratoire de Médecine Légale in Montreal, where I work as Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec. Since the historic dead do not qualify as forensic cases, special permission had been obtained from the Bureau du Coroner to perform the analysis there. I would have two weeks with the bones.

I set down my cup and said my good-byes. Again. The sisters thanked me, again, smiling through tense faces, nervous already about my findings. They were great smilers.

Father Ménard walked me to my car. It had grown dark and a light snow was falling. The flakes felt strangely hot against my cheeks.

The priest asked once more if I wouldn't prefer to overnight at the convent. The snow sparkled behind him as it drifted in the porch light. Again, I declined. A few last road directions, and I was on my way.

Twenty minutes on the two-lane and I began to regret my decision. The flakes that had floated lazily in my headlights were now slicing across in a steady diagonal curtain. The road and the trees to either side were covered by a membrane of white that was growing more opaque by the second.

I clutched the wheel with both hands, palms clammy inside my gloves. I slowed to forty. Thirty-five. Every few minutes I tested the brakes. While I have been living in Quebec off and on for years, I have never grown accustomed to winter driving. I think of myself as tough, but put me on wheels in snow and I am Princess Chickenheart. I still have the typical Southern reaction to winter storms. Oh. Snow. Then we won't be going out, of course. Les québécois look at me and laugh.

Fear has a redeeming quality. It drives away fatigue. Tired as I was, I stayed alert, teeth clenched, neck craned, muscles rigid. The Eastern Townships Autoroute was a bit better than the back roads, but not much. Lac Memphrémagog to Montreal is normally a two-hour drive. It took me almost four.

Shortly after ten, I stood in the dark of my apartment, exhausted, glad to be home. Quebec home. I'd been away in North Carolina almost two months. Bienvenue. My thought process had already shifted to French.

I turned up the heat and checked the refrigerator. Bleak. I microzapped a frozen burrito and washed it down with room temperature root beer. Not haute cuisine, but filling.

The luggage I'd dropped off Tuesday night sat unopened in the bedroom. I didn't consider unpacking. Tomorrow. I fell into bed, planning to sleep at least nine hours. The phone woke me in less than four.

"Oui, yes," I mumbled, the linguistic transition now in limbo.

"Temperance. It is Pierre LaManche. I am very sorry to disturb you at this hour."

I waited. In the seven years I'd worked for him, the lab director had never called me at three in the morning.

"I hope things went well at Lac Memphrémagog." He cleared his throat. "I have just had a call from the coroner's office. There is a house fire in St-Jovite. The firefighters are still trying to get it under control. The arson investigators will go in first thing in the morning, and the coroner wants us there." Again the throat. "A neighbor says the residents are at home. Their cars are in the driveway."

"Why do you need me?" I asked in English.

"Apparently the fire is extremely intense. If there are bodies, they will be badly burned. Perhaps reduced to calcined bone and teeth. It could be a difficult recovery."

Damn. Not tomorrow.

"What time?"

"I will come for you at six A.M.?"

"O.K."

"Temperance. It could be a bad one. There were children living there."

I set the alarm for five-thirty.

Bienvenue.

Copyright © 1999 by Kathleen J. Reichs

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Death Du Jour (Temperance Brennan Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 325 reviews.
200flyer More than 1 year ago
My mom recently read one of the Temperance Brennnan series and recommended it to me. I'm now hooked. I've read the first two novels and both have been great thrillers. They remind me a little bit of Sue Grafton's alphabet series. Strong female protagonist who is easy to identify with and like. I'm in a patter where I read one of Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan novel, read something else and then go back to Tempe. Definitely recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd in this.series and absolutely could not put it down. Anyone who loves a good read should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dead Du Jour, was the first Kathy Reich´s novel I´ve read, and it was absolutly perfect, I used to never finish books, but with this one I stay up all night reading it......DeadDuJour is worth every penny and more, kudos to Kathy Reichs='
kittenlynda More than 1 year ago
I wasn't all that keen on continuing this series after reading the first book. I love the TV show and mystery/thriller novels, but the first book in the series just seemed a little out there to me. This book definitely saved the series for me and I've continued to read beyond book 2 since finishing it. The story is a little unbelievable, but it was a quick, easy, fun read.
AnakinFanatic More than 1 year ago
This book is for any Bones/ Brennan fan. Brennan begins her quest to try and connect what seems to be random killings. No one believes that there is any connection and Brennan must follow the occult to try and connect these murders. While trying to piece things together, Brennan must deal with her love for her ex and the love of Ryan and also keep tabs on her mischevious sister Harry. The book keeps fans wanting more.
eaw62995 More than 1 year ago
Death Du Jour is a very good book just like the first book in the series, Deja Dead. Death Du Jour has a very interesting plot where it is hard to guess who is involved and to the extent of their involvement until the end where everything is explained. It is very exciting and it keeps you on your toes. This book even delves a little deeper into the chemistry between Temperance Brennan and Andrew Ryan the Montreal police detective, which is good because in my opinion, every good book needs a little romance, right? All in all Death Du Jour is a great book and I recommend it to people who like murders and mystery, or even those CSI TV shows.
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan gets to aid in the beatification process of a Canadian nun as well as tying together the loose ends of a multitude of murders that may or may not be connected to an apocalyptic cult. Since the author is a forensic anthropologist in real life, there is a fantastic amount of scientific information woven in with the mystery part of the story and for anyone interested in forensics, which I am, this is an absolute gem that shouldn't be missed. In the previous book in the series, Tempe managed to get herself into trouble by making stupid mistakes, which is a personal peeve of mine in mysteries (what I call "Sookie Stackhouse Syndrome"), but there's none of that in this installment so I'm very pleased about that - the baddies really are as dangerous as they should be to make the stakes very high. The one thing that irked me is that Tempe talks about how she grew up listening to Irish folkmusic and then makes comments that make it evident she may never have heard even one song, but it's rather a small gripe and only annoying because it's something that is so easy to look up. So, if you're prepared to have oversight with an amazing amount of coincidences, this is quite a good read with a lot of interesting bone information.
mramos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Death du jour is Kathy Reichs second book. Here we begin in Montreal with Dr. Tempe Brennan, forensic anthropologist, searching for the remains of a Catholic nun who is being nominated for sainthood. That in itself would hav ebeen an interesting story for me to read about. But this quickly becomes a sub-plot of the book as our heroine is called to work on a case which consist of five burned bodies. These five bodies lead our herione on an interesting murder investigation where the bodies just start to continue to grow. This mystery is well written and tied up nicely by the end of the book. The conclusion of the first body we were introduced too, the remains of the catholic nun, are just quickly brushed over. And left me wanting to know more...Other then that, this is a good read. This book does give you a very good look inside of forensic anthropolgy. The author has a great grasp on the subject and is able to convey this to the reader in such a way that keeps you reading.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second installment in the Temperance Brennan series and it was as interesting as the first as the reader is provided a three tiered mystery that is woven masterfully tying together an century old excavation to a modern day murder mystery. Tempe takes on a private excavation of a convent cemetery to identify the remains a nun that is being submitted for canonization during the slow time of a Canadian winter. Not expecting the Great Quebec Ice Storm of 1998 ¿ the ice and cold preserve crime scenes, but hamper investigations. Unfortunately, the discovery of 6 bodies including 2 babies during the investigation of a fire interrupts her private work and threatens her academic schedule. Returning to UNC in Charlotte, NC Temperance encounters other mysterious deaths that lead her to some unusual circumstances and mysterious adventures.How all the pieces are woven together so intricately is amazing and yet holds the reader spellbound. Definitely a great series to be followed.
lauriehere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I cannot yet review this book until I read it.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A suspenseful story with details that enriched my understanding of forensic anthropology. Unfortunately, it is just too much of a coincidence for Dr. Brennan to have discovered bodies in two countries that just happen to be related to the cult her sister just joined. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by revealing that to you because after the third chapter any mystery reader of average intelligence will come to the same conclusion. It's a little irritating how Brennan keeps stating that something is niggling at the edges of her brain, but she can't put her finger on it. I was like, "Duh, your sister's in the cult." Seriously, it's pretty obvious. I'm not sure whether we're meant to pick up on it, but both my husband and I did. I still enjoyed reading the book, even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. Brennan is a sympathetic character most of the time, and her developing romance with Ryan is worth continuing to read the series for.
catalogthis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the follow-up to the author's debut novel, Deja Dead. We meet Tempe Brennan again, although this time she's chasing a cult leader rather than a serial killer. The pacing is better than the previous novel, and a character death really hits home. Reichs doesn't hold back on the scientific details, and this time we're also treated to lots of dialogue between academics, since she spends more time on university campuses than at police headquarters. Brennan's conversation with an entomologist gets rather... specific. I won't go into detail here, but if you're curious, then either read this book or Google the term "cheese skipper."
justicefortibet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the flow of the story right up until the last 15 pages. The plot has lots of twists and turns, different places and characters that all fit together in the end. The problem is that it feels like the author got to a certain point, realized she had written enough pages and then jammed everything in to bring it all together. It should have been done in about 50 more pages.
epkwrsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
SummaryWhile working on a historic case, to establish the sainthood of long dead Elizabet Nicolae, Temperence is called in to investigate a housefire where adults as well as children have been killed in what turns out to be a cult murder. The cult connections run deep, and once Temperence gets the Canadian officials to get over their macho selves, they begin to put the far flung pieces together in this "better stay sharp or you'll miss a clue" novel.In the process of Death du Jour, Temperence finds that a cult following is similar to a cancer that spreads wide and within even the smallest niches, only to be discovered after irreversable damage is done.What I LikedDetective Ryan - He's not Booth (from the t.v. show)...and that was almost a dealbreaker for me when I was trying to decide which next series to try...but this Temperence is not the Temperence on t.v. either...once I got to know both these characters in the book, the details worked out much better than I thought. I like their partnership; I think it's inevitable that they'll end up a couple of some sort, but I think they'll also remain professional...that's my hope anyway...if Reichs goes all lovey dovey on me, she'll lose me. Reichs got me again...I had absolutely no clue who the villain was...until Reichs decided to unveil it...I was stunned. Walking around with my earphones in, I actually stopped and said the person's name. My oldest daughter said, "Huh?"The movement from Montreal and Quebec to Charlotte, Virginia...Murtrey Island - the island of the monkeys...the movement of the story is one of the many reasons you have to stay alert while reading Reichs. I think she does that on purpose, and I appreciate it!Daisy Ginot - the McGill University professor with deep, dark secrets...I can't say much here, but she gave me chills from the first time Temperence met her. Elizabet - the bones that begin the mystery...end the mystery...a very comforting and effective closure...possibly one of the best I've read. While the storyline is wide, it all connects in the end and sets up just enough lose ends for continuation later in the series...Temperence's daughter Katy connects with an anthropologist mentor, Sam Rayburn of Temperence's on the grounds of the island on which he studies monkey behavior. Katy is struggling with decisions in her life right now so the connection here brings out some of her characteristics like her mom. Of course the most direct connection is that 2 dead bodies show up on the secluded island, which is quarantined due to risk of infection for the animals.Cults are the focus of this novel...and while the novel follows a distinct storyline, the reader also "accidentally" gains a great amount of information about the subject matter...all of the info pertinent to being able to figure out the puzzle.Temperence's brain doesn't stop when she sleeps...especially when she's working or anxious...at one time in her life, alcohol numbed that anxiety. A recovering alcoholic, Temperence works, runs, reads, travels, etc. in order to keep her sanity and stay sober. Even during the times that she would like a drink, she works through the desire logically...deliberately thinking about how the relief is always temporary and that the consequences, physical as well as emotional, are not worth a drink. Temperence drinks Diet Coke instead of alcohol, doesn't whine or moan about her status, and doesn't share her story with just anyone. I think I like this part of Temperence's personality bc it shows how even the toughest, smartest, most together women can and do have weaknesses/challenges over which they climb every. single. day.The older I get the more I am convinced that the brightest people are at risk of addictive behavior as well as mental challenges.What I Didn't LikeThe use of dogs as part of the villainous torture...I'm biased here, but dogs, knives and scalding liquid as forms of torture are gruesome. I'm also one of those dog owners who doesn't encourag
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Setting: Montreal, Quebec and Charlotte, North CarolinaProtagonists:Temperance "Tempe" Brennan - forensic anthropologist who splits her time between Montreal and CharlotteAndrew Ryan - Canadian Police Investigator to whom Tempe is attracted and who seems to be pursuing her in spite of the many barriers she erectsHarry, Tempe's younger sister from Texas who comes to visit, and then goes missing!The Great Quebec Ice Storm of 1998 ¿ the ice and cold preserve crime scenes, but hamper investigations.First Line:"If the bodies were there, I couldn¿t find them."Main Action: There have been some violent deaths that look like the work of a religious cult, and wouldn¿t you know it: they are occurring in both Quebec and Charlotte. Talk about your coincidences! Main Theme: Religious cults prey on those who have low self worth, disillusionment with their lots in life, and are psychologically needy.Subtheme: Another day, another grisly death. Death du jour.Bonus Aspect: Tempe shares her learning process about anthropological forensics with the reader. In this story, we learn all about how different types of insects and larva stages on a body can show time of death.Verdict: Not her best, and plot twists are pretty predictable, but you come away from it having learned something, and having been moderately entertained.(JAF)
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Generally, I prefer to read the book before I watch adaptations, but with the sheer number of book adaptions out there, this isn't always possible. In this instance, I got hooked on the television show "Bones", and, since I'm a mystery reader, I thought I would look into the series that inspired the show. Of course, "Bones" isn't a strict adaptation of the Temperance Brennan series. Rather, they combined Brennan's character and the author herself into a composite that served as the basis for Bones, they focused on forensic science, and they might borrow some elements of the crimes; other than that, it seems that everything is different. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when I enjoy the changes made for the tv show so much it does tend to reflect poorly on the book.Not that it was a bad story; I enjoyed the characters, and at first I was very interested in the mystery, and I thought the forensic elements were well executed. However, one of the biggest draws for me to the tv show is the humor, and this story was much more serious, very dark. Also, I prefer my mysteries to focus on the motivations and inner lives of the suspects, and in this story, the focus was on the science (although that wasn't too surprising) and all the corpses that keep piling up. I prefer less dead bodies and more sleuthing. Also, two of the bodies are twin baby boys, who had their hearts ritually cut out. Yuck.Then, as the story progressed, I became less and less interested in the mystery. I'll avoid spoilers, but let me just say that the culprit wasn't one individual, and I figured out what was going on long before the main characters did. I felt that the story started out well but just lost steam. Reichs really created a fine novel in the procedural/forensic science brand of mystery, it's just not the type of mystery that usually works for me. I still enjoy the humor and fast pace of "Bones", so I'll stick to the television and leave the books be, in this instance.
tulikangaroo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been two years since I read Deja Dead, and Kathy Reich's writing is as smart and interesting as I remembered. I enjoy that she is willing to create complicated, interconnected plot lines, though they can be confusing (by the end, I had forgotten who some of the earlier characters were), and that she keeps the level of action and detail high. Her sister's storyline was a little predictable, but that is a minor quibble with a great story.
redheadish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this in 2011 after finding 3 of Reichs books at a thrift and buying then reading outof sequence I relized I had to read them all in order! I just love Kathy reichs books!
sshadoan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I need some books set in Quebec that don't involve serial killers! This one is even set partially on the McGill campus, which is why I'm reading. I wish there was a search function that let me find books by setting. Well, bookssetin.com has a search feature for location, so I've got some leads on Montreal books! How exciting! Which is good, because these are pretty gruesome. Ok occasionally, but not frequently.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tempe Brennan faces off against cultists and her sister faces danger. Also, she unearths and examines a nun who is up for sainthood. A good entry in the series, solid, love the characters.
bilja on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As for me the best one in the Tempe Brennan serial. Played both in Canada and South Carolina, Tempe trips in her work everywhere: north, south, on vacation at home, As a pet lover I was truly worried about the cat Birdie and truly sorry for the anonimus burned one. Everything is connected, anything can happen to normal common people, danger is everywhere, clues are everywhere but our mind is simply to blind to see them. Such a thrilling story!
jepeters333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brennan's cases (about 10) lead to a cult in Montreal SC & Texas.
Alera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love these books, but not for the reasons I wish I would. Tempe is kind of overly predictable...and whenever a family member of hers is mentioned or a friend is mentioned...they tend to get themselves in peril which causes Tempe to delve even deeper into the case when I honestly don't know that she needs any motivation outside looking for the killer. What I do love are the cases themselves, the way things are built together and play out. I love the glimpse into Forensic Anthropology. I'm already reading the next one. It's a good series.
ct.bergeron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs exploded onto bestseller lists worldwide with her phenomenal debut novel Déjà Dead -- and introduced "[a] brilliant heroine" (Glamour) in league with Patricia Cornwell''s Kay Scarpetta. Dr. Temperance Brennan, Quebec''s director of forensic anthropology, now returns in a thrilling new investigation into the secrets of the dead. In the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, Tempe Brennan is digging for a corpse buried more than a century ago. Although Tempe thrives on such enigmas from the past, it''s a chain of contemporary deaths and disappearances that has seized her attention -- and she alone is ideally placed to make a chilling connection among the seemingly unrelated events. At the crime scene, at the morgue, and in the lab, Tempe probes a mystery that sweeps from a deadly Quebec fire to startling discoveries in the Carolinas, and culminates in Montreal with a terrifying showdown -- a nerve-shattering test of both her forensic expertise and her skills for survival
pauliharman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of the TV show 'Bones' and are looking for some of that lighthearted banter cut with some police procedural drama... then this book is not for you. The protagonist has the same name and job, but they aren't the same person and the tone is completely different.These books are more real: gritty, dark, personal, and with realistic science rather than CSI-isms. However, there is a tendency to reach for co-incidence, with many disparate events all coming back to the same core by the end. It seems unlikely that all these things would be lnked, or happen to the same person, book after book. but hey, that's the fiction genre it's in. it's just the one aspect that doesn't feel real in a way that the rest does. The atmosphere is well captured, I can feel the cold of being trapped in a Canadian ice storm.