cover image WHERE THERE'S A WILL


Aaron Elkins, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-425-20026-1

In Edgar-winner Elkins's solid 12th whodunit to feature forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver (after 2004's acclaimed Good Blood ), Oliver's Hawaiian vacation turns into a busman's holiday, as he and close friend John Lau, an FBI agent who's also enjoying some downtime, get involved in a decade-old mystery surrounding the deaths of two elderly Swedish brothers who owned a huge cattle ranch. One night in 1994, hit men acting for an unknown client murdered Torkel Torkelsson, then attempted to conceal the corpse with an act of arson; that same night, Magnus Torklesson and a pilot took off in a small plane, never to be heard from again. Now divers have discovered the wreckage of the long-lost plane in a lagoon, with some skeletal remains. Soon learning that none of the original police investigation's conclusions may be valid, Oliver and Lau find themselves intrigued and frustrated by the lies and evasions pitched rapidly at them by the Torkelssons' heirs, all of whom have different motives for obscuring the truth. Oliver's deductions will remind classic mystery readers of archetypal scientific sleuth Dr. Thorndyke, and his three-dimensional personality and humor will continue to attract first-timers. Agent, Lisa Vance at the Aaron Priest Agency. (Apr. 5)