Old Bones (Gideon Oliver #4) by Aaron Elkins
I picked this book for the Takes place in a non-English speaking country square in r/CozyMystery book bingo on Reddit and it was available at my library. When I read the blurb, it had all the things I like – history, World War II tales, forensic anthropology (I’m a sucker for old bones!) and after reading several good reviews and the “Look Inside” on Amazon (always my first stop when selecting a book) started off the book off with a bang. I was looking forward to diving into this and boy, am I glad I found it! This introduced me to a new series (well, they were written in the 80s, so new to me) to devour.
“Skeleton Doctor of America” Gideon Oliver is in France to teach classes at a law enforcement seminar. After a class, Joly, a French police detective, requests his help on his new case after some bones were discovered buried the cellar of a manoir. Like a dog, Gideon salivates at the mention of old bones and with his friend, FBI Agent John Lau, head off to take a look. At the manoir are assembled the family of the manoir’s owner, Guillaume du Rocher, who called them to a family meeting to discuss something important. Before the meeting could take place, Guillaume drowns, touching off an investigation that spans back to World War II.
This was a real mystery with so many questions: who was buried the basement? Who put it there? Was Guillaume murdered? If so, why? The buried bones touch off a mystery that begs to be solved, and Gideon and John find themselves in the middle of the investigation.
This reminds me of the old mysteries I’ve read – “old” meaning classic mysteries I’ve read that were written in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. In fact, it reminded me of books I’ve read by John Bude and Joann Cannan, always a plus in my book. The author did a great job so bringing the characters to life, fleshing out their personalities without bogging down the story with unnessesary detail, which helped the book maintain its quick pace. Main characters Gideon and John are a charming, likeable team, I liked them from the start. And the plot! So many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, leading up to an explosive ending. I would love to go into detail about the details that fascinated me the most, but I don’t want to spoil anything so let me just say…whooo boy, this was one of the most intricate and unexpected plots I’ve ever read and I’m hooked!