Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews

Bring together an antagonistic family, a dying man, Aboriginal myths, and an isolated lodge, set them all down in the Top End of Australia, and you have Jeanne Matthews' debut, a traditional mystery called Bones of Contention.

Dinah Pelerin's wealthy American "Uncle" Cleon Dobbs is dying of cancer, so he called his large extended family together one last time, holding the threat of changing his will over their heads. With two ex-wives, and a current one, only Dinah's mother, out of the entire family, was smart enough to stay home. But, all of his children from three marriages showed up, along with Dinah, who loves Cleon, but wants to know the truth about her father's mysterious death. She arrives to find backstabbing relatives, trouble with everyone from the youngest children to Cleon, the oldest family member, and stories of a murder. It seems the poisonous snakes and trees aren't the only dangerous residents in the isolated community.

It shouldn't be surprising that another murder occurs, but that doesn't stop the family members from feuding. Cleon only adds to the fuel, fanning flames while he spreads suspicion, and introducing a new family heir to the mix. Dinah, the one family member with few expectations, is pressured by an unusual police inspector to keep him in the loop. It's too bad Dinah is so confused as to the realities of family dynamics.

Jeanne Matthews works with Aboriginal myths, ancestors and song-lines in her debut. She captures Australia's past and present, including current politics, but it's all background to the family mystery. Bones of Contention is a solid traditional mystery, complete with isolation, murder, and characters with all kinds of motives. Without giving his identity away, I'm hoping for a return of the surprising Inspector.

Note: Jeanne Matthews will be appearing at the Velma Teague Library for Authors @ The Teague on June 24 at 2 p.m. as part of the panel, Women Who Kill.

Jeanne Matthews' website is www.jeannematthews.com

Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews. Poisoned Pen Press, ©2010. ISBN 9781590587287 (hardcover), 316p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a review copy, in hopes I would review it.

11 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I love the set-up for this mystery...dying man, will, isolation. Very Agatha Christie and I LOVE Agatha. I'll be checking this one out...thanks, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Elizabeth. Yes, this one is very traditional, very Agatha Christie.

Kay said...

I've had this one on my radar to read for a while now. Looking forward to it and enjoyed your thoughts. How exciting about the Women Who Kill panel tomorrow. I bet you are excited and busy! Hope you'll give us an extended view of it Lesa, as always.

Lesa said...

I am excited about the Women Who Kill panel, Kay. I'm just not sure if you'll that recap on Friday or Saturday. I might go out with the group on Thursday night, so we'll see. If I do that, it will be Saturday before the recap. It's going to be fun!

Lesa said...

I am excited about the Women Who Kill panel, Kay. I'm just not sure if you'll that recap on Friday or Saturday. I might go out with the group on Thursday night, so we'll see. If I do that, it will be Saturday before the recap. It's going to be fun!

caryn said...

Bones of Contention sounds like just my sort of book. Thanks for the review Lesa, and thank you for posting abit about what your blog is about on DL.
Caryn

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Caryn. I had enough comments from people saying we like to know that I felt I should still put it on DL. Those not interested can see it says blog & skip it.

kitchen tables said...

The story is very interesting and by reading it you will learn a lot of very informative stuff. I love your post.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Kitchen Tables.

Kris said...

Love the idea of this one. How fun! Well, I suppose not for the family but for an innocent person looking in it sure does.

Lesa said...

Definitely not for the family, but, then, it's a pretty snarky family anyways, Kris.