Cover image for Five
Archer, Ursula, 1968- author.
Uniform Title:
Fünf. English
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Minotaur Books, 2014.
Physical Description:
324 pages ; 25 cm
Every corpse is a clue. A woman is found murdered in a field. Tattooed on her feet is a strange combination of numbers and letters. Detective Beatrice Kaspary quickly identifies these as map co-ordinates, which lead the police to a 'treasure box' containing several severed body parts -- and a note from the killer with a series of cryptic clues to the identity of the next victim. So begins a desperate scavenger hunt in which Beatrice herself becomes a pawn in the killer's game of cat and mouse, as she risks all to uncover the murderer.
General Note:
Translation of: Fünf.

Published under the pseudonym Ursula Archer.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
Audubon Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Boston Free Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
East Aurora Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Collins Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A woman's corpse is discovered in a meadow. A strange combination of letters and numbers has been tattooed on the soles of her feet. Detective inspector Beatrice Kaspary from the local murder squad quickly identifies the digits as map coordinates. These lead to a series of gruesome discoveries as she and her colleague Florin Wenninger embark on a bloody trail; a modern-day scavenger hunt using GPS navigation devices to locate hidden caches. The "owner" of these unofficial, unpublished geocaches is a highly calculating and elusive fiend who leaves his victims; body-parts sealed in plastic bags, complete with riddles that culminate in a five-stage plot. Kaspary herself becomes an unwilling pawn in the perpetrator's game of cat and mouse as she risks all to uncover the motives behind the murderer's actions. Five is definitely not a book for the faint-hearted, but it delivers great suspense, unexpected plot twists, and multi-dimensional characters.

Author Notes

URSULA ARCHER is a science journalist and an award-winning author of YA and children's books. Five is her first adult mystery. She lives in Vienna, Austria, with her family.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Austrian detective Beatrice Kaspary lands an unusual case of grisly geocaching (a kind of GPS-aided treasure hunt) in this combination police procedural and fast-paced thriller. A woman's body is found with geographic coordinates tattooed on the soles of her feet, leading Kaspary and her partner, Florin, on a bizarre chase. Following the GPS leads them to a box containing a body part and a puzzle, which they must solve to find the next cache. Luckily, one of their coworkers is familiar with geocaching and is able to explain it all, so readers unfamiliar with the usually tame hobby will understand it, too. Red herrings galore are scattered along the trail, as the body count keeps climbing and the overworked detectives feel the pressure to solve the case quickly. The somewhat stereotypical police detective Kaspary is divorced, married to the job, and has to deal with a difficult and demanding ex and the constant juggling of her kids and her work. Her relationship with Florin hints at a possible romance down the road and adds another level of interest to the story. Sure to appeal to Stieg Larsson fans.--Alesi, Stacy Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Austrian children's book author Archer makes her U.S. debut with her first adult novel, a riveting mystery that centers on geocaching, the hunt for hidden objects using only a GPS device. Near Abtenau, a woman's body is found at the bottom of a rock face with hands tied behind her back. Her feet are tattooed with a series of letters and numbers indicating GPS coordinates, which lead Det. Beatrice Kaspary of the Salzburg State Office of Criminal Investigation and her colleagues to a box containing a man's severed hand and clues to yet another location. The chain continues, and further body parts become clues to the whereabouts of yet more victims. Plagued with a secret from her past that she's never shared, exasperated by her ex-husband, and taunted by texts from the ghoulish killer, Beatrice is in a frantic race to determine what the victims have in common so she can apprehend the murderous game master. The suspense builds until the shocking climax. Agent: Carolin Mungard, Rowohlt Verlag GmbH (Germany). (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

When a woman is found dead in a field, Austrian detectives Beatrice Kaspary and Florin Wenninger catch the case. They're used to seeing corpses in their line of work, but never have they seen a body tattooed with what turns out to be GPS coordinates. When they find out where the points lead, it's there that they unearth a container with a severed human hand, along with two cryptic notes. Florin and Beatrice are soon following a puzzling trail of clues, and even more body parts, with the feeling that the killer is building up to something epic. But when the murderer takes a personal interest in Beatrice, the tension immediately moves up a notch. VERDICT A single mother of two, Beatrice is a refreshing protagonist who isn't afraid to take chances in this first adult mystery from a noted Austrian YA and children's book author. Archer's very effective procedural, with some clever twists (and gruesome crimes), also explores the intriguingly odd world of geocaching, and those who inhabit it. While some readers may have things figured out before the end, the journey is well worth it. [See Prepub Alert, 6/16/14.] Kristin Centorcelli, Denton, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



RAIN OF THE GHOSTS CHAPTER ONE DRUMS Rain could hear the drums as she raced past me. Of course, I knew there were no drums, but Rain usually had a soundtrack going non-stop in her head, and right now it was playing a major tribal beat. Or maybe that was just her pulse. She was pedaling like mad through the streets of San Próspero. Anxious but exhilarated. She didn't notice my companion or myself, but every other downbeat, she'd look back over her shoulder. Were they behind her, ready to shoot? Would they be around the next corner? Or both. It was eight, nine o'clock at night on a Thursday. The moon hadn't risen yet, but San Próspero was a tourist town, a tourist island, so downtown was always well lit. A fine mist hung in the air, diffusing the light from the street lamps, bathing everything in a soft glow. It was early September, hot and humid. It might rain any minute. Moisture, half-condensation, half-perspiration, beaded on Rain's copper skin, on her arms, legs and forehead. Her long dark hair, braided into a thick black rope, trailed behind her as she accelerated. Rain and Charlie were riding ten-speeds they had "rented" from Charlie's mom. (There hadn't been time to tell her about it.) Rain leaned in as her royal blue bike slid around a corner. Charlie followed suit on his gold one. He too looked over his shoulder. They had never been caught. But tonight the invaders seemed to be everywhere. I glanced toward Maq, but he was engrossed in the study of a mosquito that had lighted on his leathery arm. Clearly, we weren't going to intervene. Rain spotted another enemy contingent, coming down Brown's Road and heading straight for them. "Charlie! Evasive maneuvers! Veer off! Veer off!" Together and without hesitation or deceleration, they took the next corner, racing down a side street paved with cobblestones. The vibrations rattled up through their tires, playing out in Charlie's voice as he glanced over at her, "They control the whole island!" Rain's face was a mask of intensity, but a sly smile crept into her eyes and then onto her mouth as the drums in her head pounded louder. "Never surrender!" she shouted back at him. Charlie's dark brown eyes looked forward again. Two more at the other end of the street. He pointed ahead with one hand; "We're surrounded!" But Rain had already seen them and was pedaling even harder. Charlie matched speed, and their foes seemed to rush toward them. Then in perfect synch, the two teens turned down a dark alley, the bikes at a forty-five degree angle. The alley was practically an obstacle course. Charlie yelled out, "Dumpster at ten o'clock!" "I see it!" Dumpsters, wooden crates and other garbage made it impossible to ride abreast in the thin corridor between the two brick buildings. Rain pulled out in front. That was natural. She always took the lead. And Charlie always let her. He was very aware he always let her. He frowned slightly. They approached the mouth of the alley. Rain called back over her shoulder, "We're almost out! Veer left!" "No! They'll be waiting for us! Go right! Right!" This time Rain's smile was obvious. She broke the alley and shot off to her left. Charlie shook his head ruefully, but he was hardly surprised. He followed her. Now they were on Camino de Las Casas heading north toward the ocean. The street was packed with small shops on both sides, and there wouldn't be another place to turn off for half a mile. Charlie pulled up alongside, intent on reasoning with her at high speed. But it was too late. Both kids skidded to a harsh stop, a look of horror etched on their faces. The drums had instantly gone silent. They were caught. Trapped. And their attackers were preparing to shoot. "We're doomed," Charlie whispered. Fortunately, the enemy - Bernie Cohen - was neither the swiftest nor the most coordinated of individuals. With his left hand, he fumbled for the outsized and outdated camera that hung around his neck against the background of his electric blue and gold Hawaiian shirt - while simultaneously pointing at Rain and Charlie with his right hand. The fact that he was right-handed made the whole camera manipulation thing that much more difficult. "Look, Maude," he said, "local color." "Oh, they're perfect, Bernie. Get a picture." "I am." But his right hand still hung in the air, and his wife's insistent elbow nudging only served to distract him further. "Get a picture, Bernie," Maude kept saying. All this gave Charlie and Rain time to reevaluate the danger. Two tourists. Hefty and old. (Well, not really old. Bernie was only fifty-seven, and Maude was fifty-five. But to the two thirteen-year-olds, the Cohens seemed ancient.) Better yet, they were slow. There might still be time. Bernie now had a firm grip on the camera, but Rain and Charlie were already struggling to turn their bikes around. It wasn't exactly a graceful endeavor. They were straddling the ten-speeds, and they were too close together. Charlie's pedal came very close to hooking the spokes of Rain's front wheel. "Hurry," she cried in a panic, "he's going to shoot!" "I can see that!" (Really, Bernie & Maude and Charlie & Rain had much more in common than any of them realized.) Once they had the bikes facing south, they hopped on the pedals and pushed off, fighting inertia. They had to get far enough fast enough so that Bernie wouldn't bother to shoot. Frankly, they wouldn't have made it if Maude hadn't given Bernie one last good elbow to the ribs, squealing, "Bernie, they're getting away!" Bernie had both hands on the camera and was taking aim, but he stopped to meet Maude's disapproving glare. By the time he rediscovered his viewfinder, the kids had disappeared into the mist. I had left Maq to his blood-sucking friend. For reasons I still cannot explain, I felt a need to be there, to see even these events in person. I watched from the shadows as Bernie lowered his camera. His mind wasn't hard to read. Drums, he thought, I think I hear drums. Excerpted from Five by Ursula Poznanski All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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