Old Bones: A Gideon Oliver Mystery

Aaron Elkins, Author Mysterious Press $15.45 (197p) ISBN 978-0-89296-262-4
When revered Resistance-hero Guillaume du Rocher drowns in a rushing flood tide off Mont St. Michel, members of the familysummoned by Guillaume on undisclosed urgent businessare already assembled at the domaine du Rocher, where, instead, they hear his will. The next day in the basement, a partial skeleton is uncovered, and Gideon Oliver, American physical anthropologist known as the ""Skeleton Detective,'' is called from his lectures at an international forensics conference to examine the bones. Gideon confirms the remains, determines that they are those of a young man dead almost 50 years, suggesting a connection to local Resistance actions, including one in which Guillaume's brother Alain was executed after Claude Fougeray, a du Rocher cousin and now Guillaume's principal heir, collaborated with the enemy. While Gideon gleans more and more information from the skeleton, Claude is poisoned and Gideon himself is threatened. An intricate plotmore substantial than it promises initiallyis weighed down by a school of weak red herrings, by too much multisyllabic information about bone structure and by characters more caricatured than lifelike. Elkins (The Dark Place and Fellowship of Fear), is better on the muck and sand below the abbey where the action, especially a thrilling final scene, gallops along as fast and compelling as the tide itself. (December 14)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-445-40687-2
Hardcover - 366 pages - 978-1-55504-828-0
Paperback - 366 pages - 978-1-55504-804-4
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