Cover image for Fatal remains
Fatal remains
Bland, Eleanor Taylor.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 272 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



When Marti MacAlister and her partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik respond to a report of skeletal remains found on a wooded piece of land, the pair has no idea it's just the first indication of a convoluted case of murder and conspiracy dating back hundreds of years. The skeleton turns out to be quite a mystery in itself, leading Native American groups and historians specializing in the Underground Railroad to flock to the site.

Unfortunately for all involved, the violence associated with the area is not confined to the distant past, and soon reports of mysterious accidents and suspicious deaths are coming in faster than Marti would like. A small contingent of locals even swears the land is haunted by a ghost intent on exacting a vicious revenge for some unknown grievance. Marti knows there must be a more traditional explanation, and it's her job to find out what it is. Eleanor Taylor Bland is at the top of her form in this taut, well-researched, suspenseful entry in her award-winning Marti MacAlister series.

Author Notes

Eleanor Taylor Bland was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 31, 1944. She married a sailor when she was fourteen years old. She received a bachelor's degree in accounting and education from Southern Illinois University in 1981. She worked as an accountant at Abbot Laboratories until her retirement in 1999. In the early 1970s, she was diagnosed with Gardner syndrome and fought several bouts with cancer over the years. Her first novel, Dead Time, was published in 1992. She wrote the Marti MacAlister Mystery series. During her career, she received a Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award and a Chester Himes Mystery Fiction Award. She died on June 2, 2010 at the age of 65.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The tenth entry in Bland's series starring Marti MacAlister, an African American detective, formerly of the Chicago Police Department and now working in nearby Lincoln Prairie, is a historical excavation as well as a mystery. As MacAlister and partner Vik Jessenovik investigate suspicious deaths connected to the site of an archaeological dig, readers will learn a great deal about remains from Potawotami Indians as well as from runaway slaves seeking the Underground Railroad. A young archaeology student is hired to excavate on the grounds of a mansion whose inhabitants have long been plagued by bad luck. The student ends up crushed to death by a boulder, as does a workman sent after her to excavate. Unearthing a trove of long-kept secrets, MacAlister suddenly finds herself in the middle of a fight between preservationists and developers. A skillful blend of history and mystery, enlivened by MacAlister's jauntily determined character. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

African-American police detective Marti MacAlister is used to "simple" murders, not ones whose roots are as old and entwined with history as those she encounters in Bland's 11th meaty mystery (after 2002's Windy City Dying). Set in Lincoln Prairie, Ill., home to Potawatomi Indians, past and present, and to an early settler, Idbash Smith, who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, the story has a supernatural element that only mildly distracts amid the otherwise realistic crime-solving. When Marti and partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik look into the death of a young archeologist working alone at a site on the vast estate of Josiah Smith, they discover an odd history of accidents, most involving members of the Smith family. An aging black Jewish convert tracing his lineage from slavery to freedom and an unidentified Native-American body provide other threads that will take Marti into uncharted areas for an urban homicide investigation. Patience and persistence are the keys to the solution as Marti and Vik uncover the ghosts of the past literally and figuratively. This is a strong addition to a strong series, with a delightful kick of an ending. (Dec. 8) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved