Bones of Contention
Review: Jeanne Matthews introduces 30-year-old underemployed Dinah Pelerin, who is unexpectedly summoned to the home of a distant (in more ways than one) and dying uncle — "a chain-puller extraordinaire and a master of manipulation" — in Bones of Contention.
Dinah is not one to worry; for her, worries "crop up out of thin air, full blown toadstools after a rain." She has drifted from job to job — a copywriter in Denver, a lounge canary and piano player in Atlanta, a paralegal in Seattle … but she really wants to be an anthropologist — when she learns that her Uncle Cleon Dobbs, who she thought was living in Georgia, is dying of cancer and is gathering the family together in a remote area of northern Australia. Not that it matters much, she barely knows him. But when she catches her boyfriend red-handed in the arms of a red-head, she's ready for a change of scenery. When she arrives in Australia, she discovers a number of unusual episodes have been occurring, including the death of a journalist found impaled on top of a sea turtle. There are rumors that Uncle Cleon is planning on changing his will — his lawyer is present as is the physician who has agreed to assist in his suicide — but is there something more sinister brewing?
Bones of Contention is filled with a most unusual assortment of characters, and the basic storyline seems intended to exploit the various eccentricities of the cast, often at the expense of a logical progression in the plot. In and of themselves, the situations are often humorous and the setting is undeniably appealing, especially for a nascent anthropologist. But the murder mystery itself is rather confusing and elsewhere there is really too much going on here to fully engage the reader in a satisfactory way.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Bones of Contention.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Bones of Contention for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Bones of Contention: Australia
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Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews — A Dinah Pelerin Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $24.95