Mayan ruins in the Yucatán...a secret room in a tomb...age-old skeletons. To anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the renowned Skeleton Detective, the invitation to join the archaeological excavation of Tlaloc promises two months of paradise on earth.That is, until an ancient series of Mayan curses against desecrators of the site is unearthed. When the first one comes to pass ("The bloodsucking kinkajou will come freely among them"), it's taken by all as a practical joke. But by the time the fourth one is apparently consummated ("The one called Xecotcavach will pierce their skulls so that their brains spill onto the earth"), nerves have begun to fray and suspicions and discord to mount.The steamy jungles weigh down upon the band of eccentric anthropologists as one by one the curses continue to materialize. It takes Gideon's special talents for deduction--along with the enigmatic insights of Mexico's one and only Mayan-Indian inspector of the state judicial police--to resolve an ancient riddle and a modern, murderous mystery.
Deep in the primeval rainforest of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, the skeletal remains of a murdered man are discovered. And a strange, unsettling tale begins to unfold, for forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver determines that the murder weapon was a primitive bone spear of a type not seen for the last ten thousand years. And whoever--or whatever--hurled it did so with seemingly superhuman force. Bigfoot "sightings" immediately crop up, but Gideon isn't buying them.But something is continuing to kill people, and Gideon, helped by forest ranger Julie Tendler and FBI special agent John Lau, plunges into the dark heart of an unexplored wilderness to uncover the bizarre, astonishing explanation.
A forensic anthropologist is on a trail that stretches from prehistoric times to a present danger.
An ancient skeleton tossed in a garbage dump is the first conundrum to rattle Gideon Oliver when he arrives in Egypt. There to appear in a documentary film, he expects an undemanding week of movie star treatment and a luxurious cruise up the Nile with his wife Julie. But when Gideon discovers a tantalizing secret in the discarded bones--and violence claims a famous Egyptologist's life--he is thrust into a spotlight of a different kind. Plying his calipers as the world's foremost forensic anthropologist, Gideon's investigation of the goings-on leads him through the back alleys and bazaars of Cairo and deep into the millennia-old tombs of the Valley of the Kings.As the puzzle is painstakingly pieced together, Gideon will find that the identifying traits of a cunning killer are the same now as they were in the time of the pyramids: greed without guilt, lies without conscience...and murder without remorse.
Chris Norgren, museum curator and Renaissance art expert, heads to Berlin to assist in mounting a sensational exhibit: The Plundered Past--twenty priceless Old Masters looted by the Nazis, thought for decades to be lost forever, and only recently rediscovered. But things quickly get out of hand when Chris's patrician, fastidious boss, after smelling a forgery in the lot, turns up dead the very next day--on the steps of a dismal Frankfurt brothel, of all places. Now Chris faces two daunting tasks: finding a fake painting among the masterpieces, and a real killer whose sights are now set on him.
Edgar® Award-winning author Aaron Elkins's creation--forensics professor Gideon Oliver--has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "a likable, down-to-earth, cerebral sleuth." Now, the celebrated Skeleton Detective is visiting friends at a vineyard in Tuscany when murder leaves a bitter aftertaste... It was the unwavering custom of Pietro Cubbiddu, patriarch of Tuscany's Villa Antica wine empire, to take a solitary month-long sabbatical at the end of the early grape harvest, leaving the winery in the trusted hands of his three sons. His wife, Nola, would drive him to an isolated mountain cabin in the Apennines and return for him a month later, bringing him back to his family and business. So it went for almost a decade--until the year came when neither of them returned. Months later, a hiker in the Apennines stumbles on their skeletal remains. The carabinieri investigate and release their findings: they are dealing with a murder-suicide. The evidence makes it clear that Pietro Cubbiddu shot and killed his wife and then himself. The likely motive: his discovery that Nola had been having an affair. Not long afterwards, Gideon Oliver and his wife, Julie, are in Tuscany visiting their friends, the Cubbiddu offspring. The renowned Skeleton Detective is asked to reexamine the bones. When he does, he reluctantly concludes that the carabinieri, competent though they may be, have gotten almost everything wrong. Whatever it was that happened in the mountains, a murder-suicide it was not. Soon Gideon finds himself in a morass of family antipathies, conflicts, and mistrust, to say nothing of the local carabinieri's resentment. And when yet another Cubbiddu relation meets an unlikely end, it becomes bone-chillingly clear that the killer is far from finished...
When anthropology professor Gideon Oliver is offered a teaching fellowship at U.S. military bases in Germany, Sicily, Spain, and Holland, he wastes no time accepting. Stimulating courses to teach, a decent stipend, all expenses paid, plenty of interesting European travel . . . what's not to like?It doesn't take him long to find out. On his first night, he is forced to fend off two desperate, black-clad men who have invaded his Heidelberg hotel room with intent to kill. And then there's the little matter of a few trivial details that the recruiting agency forgot to mention--such as the fact that the two previous holders of the fellowship both met with mysterious ends.From there it's all downhill. Gideon finds himself the target in an unfamiliar game for which no one has bothered to give him the rules. What he does have, however, is his own considerable intellect and his remarkable forensic skills. He will need them, for he is playing for some fairly high stakes. The security of Western Europe . . .
Mild-mannered and law-abiding, Chris Norgren, curator of Renaissance and Baroque Art at the Seattle Art Museum, is an unlikely undercover investigator, but when a priceless Rubens portrait is discovered in a shipment of "authentic reproductions" in a local warehouse, Chris is pressed into service to find out how it got there. The quest leads him to the medieval city of Bologna, one of his favorite places, but all too soon what might have been a welcome Italian interlude turns into a bizarre journey into shady art world doings and murderous secrets. . . .
What was supposed to be an Italian vacation for forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver and his wife turns into a busman's holiday when their hosts' only child goes missing--and nearby construction workers unearth human bones. The family awaits Oliver's conclusions with both dread and cautious hope. But along the way, he'll expose some extraordinary deceptions that lay bare the long-hidden secrets at the dark heart of a highborn family.
Gideon Oliver expects to be amicably bored when he takes on the role of "accompanying spouse" at a lodge in the magnificent wild country of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where his forest ranger wife Julie is attending a conference. But it turns out to be exactly his cup of tea. There is another group at the lodge: six scientists on a memorial journey to the site of a thirty-year-old glacial avalanche that killed three of their colleagues. Their leader is TV's most popular science personality, the unctuous M. Audley Tremaine, who is the sole survivor of the fatal avalanche.But he doesn't survive long, and is soon found hanged in his room. If that isn't upsetting enough, shocked hikers discover human bones emerging from the foot of the glacier--are they the shattered remains of the three who died, finally seeing daylight after their two-mile. three-decade journey within the glacial flow?When the FBI seek expert help, everyone agrees how fortunate it is that Dr. Oliver, the famed Skeleton Detective, is on the scene. Everybody, that is, but the person who wants ancient history to stay that way--and who believes that murder is the surest way to keep the past buried.
From the Edgar® Award winning author of Uneasy Relations. Starring Professor Gideon Oliver? ?a likable, down-to-earth, cerebral sleuth.? (CHICAGO TRIBUNE) Sailing the Amazon with a group of botanists, ?Skeleton Detective? Gideon Oliver is on his dream vacation. But it turns nightmarish when fierce head-hunters narrowly miss killing the group leader, then a deranged passenger kills a botanist and flees. Long-past enmities and resentments?and new ones as well?might explain things. And when a fresh skeleton turns up in the river, Gideon is sure that, in this jungle full of predators, humans may be the deadliest of all.
In April 1945, The Nazis, reeling and near defeat, frantically work to hide the huge store of art treasures that Hitler has looted from Europe. Truck convoys loaded with the cultural wealth of the Western world pour in an unending stream into the compound of the vast Altaussee salt mine high in the Austrian Alps. But with the Allies closing in, the vaunted efficiency of the Nazis has broken down. At Altaussee, all is tumult and confusion. In the commotion a single truck, its driver, and its priceless load of masterpieces vanish into a mountain snowstorm.Half-a-century later, in a seedy Boston pawnshop, ex-curator Ben Revere makes a stunning discovery among the piles of junk: a Velazquez from the legendary Lost Truck. But with it come decades of secrets, rancor, and lies, and the few who know of the painting's existence have their lives snuffed out one by one by an unknown assassin. Revere must travel back to the grand cities of Europe to unravel the tangled history of the lost truck and its treasures before fifty years of hatred, greed, and retribution catch up with him.
A Boston ex-curator finds one of the art treasures lost in 1945 by the Nazis. Now he must find the other treasures before 50 years of hatred, greed and retribution catch up with him.
There isn't much left of the irascible Albert Evan Jasper, "dean of American forensic anthropologists," after his demise in a fiery car crash. But in accord with his wishes, his remains--a few charred bits of bone--are installed in an Oregon museum to create a fascinating if macabre exhibit. All agree that it's a fitting end for a great forensic scientist--until what's left of him disappears in the midst of the bi-annual meeting (aka the "bone bash and weenie roast") of the august WAFA--the Western Association of Forensic Anthropologists--in nearby Bend, Oregon.Like his fellow attendees, Gideon Oliver--the Skeleton Detective--is baffled. Only the WAFA attendees could possibly have made off with the remains, but who in the world would steal something like that? And why? All had an opportunity, but who had a motive?Soon enough, the discovery of another body in a nearby shallow grave will bring to the fore a deeper, more urgent mystery, and when one of the current attendees is found dead in his cabin, all hell breaks loose.Gideon Oliver is now faced with the most difficult challenge of his career--unmasking a dangerous, brilliant killer who knows every bit as much about forensic science as he does.Or almost.
Anthropology professor Gideon Oliver would prefer to keep his mind on his beautiful new bride Julie during their English honeymoon, but one intrusive question won't stop nagging at him:Who would want to steal a thirty-thousand-year-old parieto-occipital calvareal fragment?Yet someone has lifted this chunk of prehistoric human skull from a musty museum in Dorchester. Then, thirty miles away, an archaeology student is murdered, increasing tensions and suspicion at a dig that had already seethed with suspicion, rivalry, and mistrust.Could there be a connection between a hot bone and a cold-blooded murder?Gideon is called on by the police to apply the unique skills for which the media have named him "the Skeleton Detective," and he reluctantly agrees. Before he's done, his sleuthing will lead him to another murder and will--in the most literal and terrifying manner imaginable--sic the dogs on him, putting Gideon himself, and Julie as well, in mortal danger...
Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best mystery novel of the year.With the roar of thunder and the speed of a galloping horse comes the tide to Mont St. Michel goes the old nursery song. So when the aged patriarch of the du Rocher family falls victim to the perilous tide, even the old man's family accepts the verdict of accidental drowning.But too quickly, this "accident" is followed by a bizarre discovery in the ancient du Rocher chateau: a human skeleton, wrapped in butcher paper, beneath the old stone flooring.Professor Gideon Oliver, lecturing on forensic anthropology at nearby St. Malo, is asked to examine the bones. He quickly demonstrates why he is known as the "Skeleton Detective," providing the police with forensic details that lead them to conclude that these are the remains of a Nazi officer believed to have been murdered in the area during the Occupation.Or are they? Gideon himself has his doubts. Then, when another of the current du Rochers dies--this time via cyanide poisoning--his doubts solidify into a single certainty: someone want old secrets to stay buried ... and is perfectly willing to eradicate the meddlesome American to make that happen.
An Edgar Award Winner (Best Mystery of the Year), a pile of human bones has been unearthed in the dank cellar of the ancient du Rocher estate on the isle of Mont St. Michel.
It's a headline-making story: the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt. René Vachey, the iconoclastic art dealer who claims to have uncovered it, wants to make a gift of it to the Seattle Art Museum, but curator Chris Norgren is wary. Vachey is notorious in art circles for perpetrating scandalous shams; not for profit but for the sheer fun of embarrassing the elite and snobbish "experts" of the art establishment. And thanks to the web of strings attached to Vachey's donation (e.g., no scientific testing permitted), even Rembrandt expert Chris is uncertain as to whether or not the painting is authentic.His doubts multiply when he goes to Dijon to examine it, and finds himself in the middle of a host of controversies of which Vachey is the devilish focus. But there's no doubt that the bullet soon found in Vachey's head is authentic. And there's no telling how much time Chris has to find the truth about the "masterpiece"--and the murder--before he finds himself painted into a corner by a shrewd and villainous murderer.1993 Nero Award, given by The Nero Wolfe Society/The Wolfe Pack for literary excellence in the mystery genre.
Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac is known for three things: pâté de fois gras, truffles, and prehistoric remains. The little village, in fact, is the headquarters of the prestigious Institute de Préhistoire, which studies the abundant local fossils. But when a pet dog emerges from a nearby cave carrying parts of a human skeleton--by no means a fossilized one--Chief Inspector Lucien Anatole Joly puts in a call to his old friend, Gideon Oliver, the famed "Skeleton Detective."Once Gideon arrives, murder piles on murder, puzzle on puzzle, and twist follows twist in a series of unexpected events that threaten to tear the once-sober, dignified Institut apart. It takes a bizarre and startling forensic breakthrough by Gideon to bring to an end a trail of deception thirty-five thousand years in the making.
There is a small village in France that is well known for its page de foie gras and bones, boasting the largest concentration of prehistoric bones in Europe, where people occasionally commit murder.
Gideon is happy to be in Mexico with his wife-until he's asked to examine the mummified corpse of a drifter thought to be shot to death. Gideon's findings reveal that the cause of death is far more bizarre. Then he's asked to examine the skeleton of a murder victim found a year earlier-only to discover another coroner error. The Skeleton Detective knows that two "mistakenly" identified bodies are never a coincidence. But if he isn't careful, unearthing the connection between them could make him another murder statistic in Mexico.
From Edgar Award winner Aaron Elkins comes a gripping masterwork of suspense, an astonishing, globe-spanning adventure that plunges an ordinary man in a deadly morass of lies, guilt, murder, and terrible secrets spawned when a world exploded in war. Pete Simon's all-American life was everything he ever wished for: a good home, a satisfying career, and a marriage still strong and loving after nearly twenty years. But in the days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, everything is about to change. And it begins with the appearance of a stranger at his door. The man ranting madly about money, death, and forgiveness is unknown to Pete-but not to his distraught wife, Lily. Only when the man has gone does the truth come out. The unwelcome visitor was Lily's father, whom she had claimed died long ago in their native France. The next day he is dead, his savagely beaten body washed up in a nearby marsh-and Lily disappears, leaving a note behind begging Pete not to follow her. As a nation mourns its fallen leader, Pete Simon is devastated by a tragedy of his own. Now, with a business card from an antiques dealer in Barcelona as his only lead, he sets out to find his missing wife, embarking on a twisted and perilous journey that will carry him to Europe, where the hideous crimes of the Nazi aggressors remain fresh in the minds of those who cannot forget... or forgive. But each door Pete opens leads him deeper into a painful and shocking past, slowly revealing secrets of greed, terror, guilt, and treacherous collaboration with a monstrous enemy that could shatter everything he believes in and destroy everything he loves. And suddenly he has become more than a concerned husband and seeker of a bitter truth; he has become the target of desperate, dangerous men and their terrifying vengeance. A haunting parable of good and evil and the many shifting shades of humanity in between, Aaron Elkins's Turncoat is an extraordinary reading experience, a compelling, provocative, and rocket-paced roller- coaster ride with surprises at every turn that will leave the reader breathless.
Pete Simon's all-American life was everything he ever wanted: a good home, a satisfying career, and a marriage still strong and loving after nearly twenty years. But in the days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, everything is about to change.It starts with the appearance of an old man at his door, ranting madly about money, death, and forgiveness. The man is a stranger to Pete--but not to his wife Lily. Only later does the truth come out. The unwelcome visitor was Lily 's father, whom she had claimed died during World War II in their native France, executed by the Nazis.The next day, he truly is dead, his savagely beaten body washed up in a nearby marsh--and Lily disappears, leaving behind only a brief, enigmatic note asking Pete not to look for her.Now, with a business card from an antiques dealer in Barcelona as his only lead, Pete sets out on a twisted and perilous journey that will carry him to places where the hideous crimes of the Nazis remain fresh in the minds of those who cannot forget...or forgive. But each door Pete opens leads him deeper into a painful and shocking past that threatens everything he holds most dear. And suddenly he has become more than a confused and distraught husband; the bitter truths that he uncovers one by one in the search for Lily now make him--and her--the targets of desperate, dangerous men and their terrifying vengeance.
The dead man is the manager of Tahiti's Paradise Coffee Plantation, producer of the most expensive coffee bean in the world, the winey, luscious Blue Devil. Nothing tangible points to foul play behind his fall from a cliff, but FBI agent John Lau, a relative of the coffee-growing family, has his suspicions. What he needs is evidence, and who better to provide it than his friend, anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective?Gideon is willing to help, but surprisingly--and suspiciously--both the police and the other family members refuse to okay an exhumation order. As a result, Gideon, to his surprise and against his better judgment, finds himself sneaking into a graveyard under cover of night with John, a flashlight, and a shovel--not exactly up to the professional standards of the world's most famous forensic anthropologist, but necessary under the circumstances.Gideon prefers his bones ancient, dry, and dusty, but the body he must examine had lain in the tropical sun for a week before it was found, and then buried native-style--shallowly, with no casket--so it is not exactly his...well, cup of tea. But it's not the state of the remains that bothers him the most, it's the deeper human ugliness that his examination uncovers: subtle clues that do indeed point to foul play, to mistaken identity, and to a murderous conspiracy that may have percolated through the family for decades--and brewed a taste for murder.
The dead man is the manager of Tahiti's Paradise Coffee Plantation, producer of the most expensive coffee bean in the world, the winey, luscious Blue Devil. Nothing tangible points to foul play behind his fall from a cliff, but FBI agent John Lau, a relative of the coffee-growing family, has his suspicions. What he needs is evidence, and who better to provide it than his friend, anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective? Gideon is willing to help, but surprisingly--and suspiciously--both the police and the other family members refuse to okay an exhumation order. As a result, Gideon, to his surprise and against his better judgment, finds himself sneaking into a graveyard under cover of night with John, a flashlight, and a shovel--not exactly up to the professional standards of the world's most famous forensic anthropologist, but necessary under the circumstances. Gideon prefers his bones ancient, dry, and dusty, but the body he must examine had lain in the tropical sun for a week before it was found, and then buried native-style--shallowly, with no casket--so it is not exactly his...well, cup of tea. But it's not the state of the remains that bothers him the most, it's the deeper human ugliness that his examination uncovers: subtle clues that do indeed point to foul play, to mistaken identity, and to a murderous conspiracy that may have percolated through the family for decades--and brewed a taste for murder.