From Publishers Weekly
In this seamlessly plotted corker of a mystery, Edgar Award winner Elkins reprises his "skeleton detective," forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, in a seventh outing that might well have been subtitled "Whose Bones Are These, Anyway?" Here Gideon receives an invitation to the sixth biennial "bone bash and weenie roast" of the Western Association of Forensic Anthropologists, to take place at the Whitebark Lodge in Oregon. The last WAFA conference held at the Whitebark Lodge, 10 years earlier, ended tragically when Albert Evan Jasper, irascible mentor to four of the attendees, died in a fiery bus crash on his way out of town. Or did he? As a highlight of this conference, Jasper's charred remains will be on display for viewing and study, but shortly after their unveiling, a number of alarming events occurring in rapid succession require all of Gideon's forensic powers: the bones disappear, a badly decomposed corpse is found in the woods and one of the original four attendees is murdered. What really became of Jasper and which remnants, if any, are his? Readers who like their humor dark and their gumshoes smart are sure to enjoy the "bone bash."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Oregon's anthropologist-sleuth Gideon Oliver (A Glancing Light, p. 566, etc.) and his park-ranger wife Julie are attending a conference of anthropologists at Whitebark Lodge, where ten years before Professor Albert Evan Jasper, undisputed top dog in the field, died in a fiery bus crash, at the end of another conference and amid rather mysterious circumstances. Several of the participants in that meeting are once again at Whitebark--one of them is Associate Professor Harlow Pollard, whose bludgeoned body is found in his cottage--the climax of a series of strange events seemingly tied to the past. Gideon cleverly solves the crucial element in that murder--the liveliest part of a sluggish story heavily laden with technical lore, all too rarely lightened with the author's finely honed sense of humor. Fans may be just a tad disappointed--for others, an unrewarding slog. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.