Cover image for Bones of contention
Bones of contention
Matthews, Jeanne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, [2010]

Physical Description:
304 pages ; 23 cm.

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The Top End of Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths.nbsp; It's a strange place to choose to end one's life, but that is what Dinah Pelerin's wealthy American uncle has done. nbsp;Dying of cancer, he has summoned his entire family #150; current wife, ex-wife, assorted children and niece #150; to a remote, comfortless lodge where he intends to rewrite his will and commit suicide with the aid of a rogue Australian physician with whom he shares a mysterious history.

Dinah sees this time with her uncle as a last chance to learn the truth about her father, who died during the commission of a felony when she was a child.nbsp; But when she arrives, she discovers that the truth has more and darker ramifications than she'd bargained on.nbsp; Her artist brother thinks he's possessed by the spirit of snake god who is moving his hand metaphysically across the canvas; her uncle, who isn't really her uncle, is obsessed by a woman he married but could never possess; the rest of the family is seething with resentments; and a man none of them claims to know is murdered on a nearby island, impaled on the back of a sea turtle. nbsp;

nbsp;A wannabe anthropologist with a passion for mythology, Dinah tries to sort out the complicated song lines of her own ancestors while struggling to understand Dreamtime and solve not one, but two bizarre murders.nbsp; The Aboriginal concept of payback law takes on a terrible new meaning.

Author Notes

The author was born and raised in Georgia.nbsp; She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism and has worked as a copywriter, a high school English and Drama teacher, and a paralegal.nbsp; She currently lives in Renton, Washington with her husband, who is a law professor, and a West Highland terrier, who is a prima donna.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Matthews debuts a new series starring energetic amateur sleuth Dinah Pelerin. Dinah has had a series of makeshift jobs, but her real passions are mythology and anthropology. She has just received a summons from her wealthy American uncle to witness his suicide. Dying of cancer, he has asked his entire family (several wives, assorted children, and niece Dinah) to come to a remote lodge in northern Australia. Before the suicide can take place, a murder occurs that may be tied to the bizarre death of a stranger on a nearby island, who was impaled on the back of a sea turtle. Digging into the case, Dinah discovers that the members of her family are not exactly who or what she had assumed they were all these years. On the positive side, she may be in line for an inheritance, and she has a unique opportunity to study Aboriginal Australian culture. Readers will enjoy the anthropology frame and the liberal doses of Strine (Australian slang) that appear throughout. Fans of Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss should try this engaging new series, which will take Dinah to various locales in search of anthropological adventure.--Coon, Judy Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A dying man's pending changes to his last will and testament trigger murder in Matthews's unconvincing debut. Seeking the truth about her father's death, Dinah Pelerin flies from the U.S. to Australia when she learns that her mother's cancer-ridden ex-husband, Cleon, is planning to settle family affairs before ending his life by assisted suicide. Attending Cleon are his first ex-wife; his current wife; resentful Aboriginals; an alcoholic doctor; and assorted progeny, including Dinah's artist half-brother, Lucien. An Aussie cop investigates after a poisonous snake bites Lucien, the doctor dies under mysterious circumstances, and other shady matters come to light. The failure to properly utilize the huge cast; implausible, even idiotic, actions by Dinah; and the too numerous, clumsily introduced plot elements prevent the reader from summoning much sympathy for the heroine or the novel. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When her wealthy American uncle announces he's going to rewrite his will and commit suicide with the aid of a rogue physician, Dinah Pelerin joins her family in a run-down lodge in Queensland, Australia, where she soon discovers everything she believed about her family is false. VERDICT In this launch of a new international cozy series, Matthews places a refreshingly original female sleuth into a maelstrom of lies and deceit. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.