Elkins is a master.
In Edgar-winner Elkins's absorbing 15th novel to feature forensics anthropology professor Gideon Oliver (after 2007's Little Tiny Teeth), Oliver and his wife, Julie, are off to Gibraltar so he can take part in a conference honoring the discovery of the First Family, the skeletons of a human woman buried with her half-Neanderthal child. After he narrowly escapes death twice before he can take part in the program, however, Gideon becomes suspicious that other "accidental" deaths associated with the archeological dig may actually be murders. Gideon interacts with a small group of scholars who display amusing quirks while also showing enough professional vanity to make them suspects. When Gideon studies the bone evidence, he gets the job done without CSI gimmicks and glitz, and Julie presses him for explanations if matters get too technical. In addition, Elkins offers readers a pleasant tour of the Rock and its neighborhood. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The latest in the Gideon Oliver series will not disappoint fans of the brainy, lovable physical anthropologist whose help cracking archeological mysteries earned him the name Skeleton Detective. The discovery of a pair of skeletons (aka the First Family) in Gibraltar sets the scientific world on its ear. One of them, a woman, was clearly a Neanderthal; however, the young boy buried with her has homo sapien characteristics, leading many to theorize that Neanderthals and homo sapiens interbred. After traveling to Gibraltar to help celebrate the anniversary of this important discovery, a misleading newspaper article about the speech Gideon plans to give results in two attempts on his life. Realizing that someone is desperate to keep something about the First Family a secret, the suspicious Gideon helps local police determine that two recent deaths-previously ruled as accidents-were murders linked to the discovery of the First Family. Eventually Gideon's acumen helps determine that the killer is his colleague Rowley Boyd, who was trying to cover the fact that the bones from the First Family were taken from two different excavation sites, debunking the "mixing-theory," and shaming those who had built their careers around it. This mystery has all the essential ingredients, such as suspense and good pacing; however, Elkin also manages to make anthropology fascinating by creating an accessible character with a penchant for forensics in Gideon. This series is capable of turning older teens who like science into mystery readers or mystery lovers into science buffs. Reviewer: Valerie Ott
The Rock of Gibraltar serves as the exotic site where anthropologist Gideon Oliver will be giving a talk on what might be the greatest paleontological hoax of all time. But two murders put Gideon into jeopardy. Mostly using a gentle tone and highly instructional when dealing with history, archaeology, and paleontology, Elkins (Edgar Award winner for Little Tiny Teeth) delivers a solid mystery.
Jo Ann Vicarel
A trip to Gibraltar brings Dr. Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective (Little Tiny Teeth, 2007, etc.), up against old bones and new. The Europa Point dig's discovery of the First Family-Gibraltar Woman, a Homo sapiens skeleton, and Gibraltar Boy, the Neanderthal skeleton cradled in her arms-raised the heady possibility that Neanderthals and humans lived in peaceful coexistence with each others' communities some time thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, Gideon, who's headed to a conference commemorating Europa Point, hasn't been equally successful at keeping the peace. He didn't keep a tight enough lid on his sense of humor when he was talking to a newspaper reporter covering his trip, and now headlines scream that he's going to unmask the biggest anthropological fraud since Piltdown Man. What Gideon finds instead is evidence of far more recent violence: the suspicious cave-in that buried Europa Point area supervisor Sheila Chan three years ago; the fiery death of wealthy amateur archeologist/TV personality Ivan Gunderson; and two nearly fatal attacks on Gideon's own august person. Which of the eminent conferees-Gibraltar museum director Rowley Boyd, tippling Europa Point director Adrian Vanderwater, schoomarmish archeologist Audrey Godwin-Pope, Gideon's old student Pru McGinnis-has been responsible for the carnage, and why?Beyond the sawdust exposition-Elkins catalogs his characters' professional credentials and physical appearance as conscientiously as any field anthropologist-lies a neatly turned puzzle with a didactic but painless use of the forensic expertise that's the Skeleton Detective's stock in trade.