Questionable Remains

Beverly Connor, Author
Beverly Connor, Author Cumberland House Publishing $20.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-888952-53-7
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 272 pages - 978-0-373-26385-1
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Like its protagonist, Conner's second Lindsay Chamberlain mystery (A Rumor of Bones) delves into all mysteries in a methodical and calculating manner. Lindsay, a crisply authoritative forensic archeologist based at a Georgia university, and an expert in analyzing old bones, is asked to investigate a more modern case. Were the two-year-old deaths of three men found sealed in a cave caused by falling rocks? Or were the men murdered? The previous investigation, marked by bureaucratic ineptitude, bears the marks of a cover-up, and Lindsay puts herself at grave risk when she continues to pry into the case. Bullets are fired, a student volunteer is hurled off a cliff and, in some truly gripping and finely crafted scenes, Lindsay finds herself desperately clawing her way out of a sealed cave. There are parallel plots here. As one archeological dig after another is explored and relics of 16th-century conquistadors turn up, their dark and grisly story, full of greed and violence, is graphically depicted. There's a connection between 1567 and 1996: Had the dead cavers discovered ancient treasure? Unfortunately, the story has trouble breathing under its multiple and convoluted plots, and the characters--a shifty lawyer; some inept conspirators; even the 16th-century conquistadores--are one-dimensional. Only Lindsay's keen intellect and relentless drive--and the reader's pleasure in seeing her think-- keep this novel alive. (Sept.)
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