Where the Bones are Buried
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (2015)
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Waiting for the other shoe to drop and looking over her shoulder is what cultural anthropologist Dinah Pelerin feels like she has spent the majority of her adult life doing. With a plum new job at the university in Berlin and Thor Ramberg, the James Bond-like Norwegian cop sleeping next to her, there should be plenty to keep her happy. And she is ready for a new lease on life.

However, Dinah’s new found happiness flies out the door when she literally opens it to Swan Calms, her Seminole Indian mother, who has a tomahawk to grind with her ex-husband’s German business partner. The fact that her ex got an early ticket to the happy hunting ground in the sky or that she has no valid claim to the pile of money the partner has stashed doesn’t deter Swan.

Armed with a gun and a half-baked plan Swan is intent on getting “her share” and she didn’t show up on Dinah’s and Thor’s doorstep alone. She’s managed to drag her former arch enemy and current sidekick, Margaret, along for the ride. Tension between the two older women immediately ratchets-up, leaving Dinah to wonder what planets must have collided to bring Margaret, also an ex-wife of the same drug-dealing man, and Swan together. With a pathological liar for a mother and murder in Margaret’s background, the outlook isn’t looking so good.

Swan’s plan turns to blackmail, putting everyone’s life the line. Then the plan turns deadly and Swan becomes the focus of a murder investigation. Genetic ties and misplaced loyalties press Dinah to channel her inner warrior to track down the evidence needed to exonerate her mother. But what if the evidence proves her guilt?

Secrets, lies, and betrayal weigh heavily in this fifth installment of the Dinah Pelerin series. And, Dinah knows well that the cruelest lies are those of omission. Like Dinah, each character in this rich, quirky cast has a story to tell but their truths rest dangerously below the surface. Dinah’s hunt for the killer tests her resolve and forces her to question her own truths. By releasing the secrets of her past, Dinah gains a new level of strength and confidence. Her final hurdle is one of trust, and readers will root for her as she grapples with a long-overdue leap of faith.

With a strong sense of setting, author Jeanne Matthews invites the reader to travel vicariously with Dinah while she navigates her way through the sights, sounds and history of Berlin. As Dinah delves deeper into the city, the reader becomes privy to the eccentricities of a European sub-culture in love with the Native American past, and to the darker side of the antiquities trade.

Where the Bones are Buried contains a large cast of characters, some fun and peculiar, some dark and tortured, all of whom have a hidden agenda. While the associated subplots are intricate, “red herring” aficionados will savor the challenge of bringing together the myriad clues of this clever and complex mystery. Matthews has, once again, crafted an entertaining, and, at times, humorous mystery that will have mystery readers enthralled.