Twenty Blue Devils

Aaron Elkins, Author Mysterious Press $22 (340p) ISBN 978-0-89296-467-3
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 Therese. Amid rumors of Mafia retaliation for earlier, unfriendly testimony by plantation owner Nick Druett, Gideon runs into unexpected obstacles. Neither Nick nor Therese 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. Therese, 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.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 395 pages - 978-0-7862-1091-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-446-40526-3
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-1-4976-4330-7
Ebook - 230 pages - 978-1-4976-1015-6
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