My review of Aaron Elkins’ Murder In the Queen’s Armes


Anthropology professor Gideon Oliver would prefer to keep his mind on his beautiful new bride Julie during their English honeymoon, but one intrusive question will not stop nagging at him: Who would want to steal a thirty-thousand-year-old parieto-occipital calvarial fragment?

Yet someone has lifted this chunk of prehistoric human skull from a musty museum in Dorchester. Then, thirty miles away, an archaeology student is murdered, increasing tension and suspicion at a dig that had already seethed with suspicion, rivalry, and mistrust. Could there be a connection between a hot bone and a cold-blooded murder? Gideon is called on by the police to apply the unique skills for which the media have named him “the Skeleton Detective,” and he reluctantly agrees. Before he is done, his sleuthing will lead him to another murder and will—in the most literal and terrifying manner imaginable—sic the dogs on him, putting Gideon himself, and Julie as well, in mortal danger . . .

4 Stars, probably closer to 3.5 stars

Book 3 in the Gideon Oliver Series

Enjoyable, but slower paced than The Dark Place. It kept that slower pace throughout the book. We don’t even find out there’s been a murder until a third of the way through the book. There’s some pretty heavy foreshadowing going on in this one. At times if felt like the author was hanging out neon signs ‘Here Be A Clue!’, ‘this is important and will play prominently later’.

One of the things that bothered me a little was identification of the body. The hole in the elbow from the wear and tear of pitching is found in the right fossa. But the individual was a lefty (southpaw). That should mean the extra wear and tear is in the left elbow as that is where all the stress is located. Some of the distances and geography didn’t seem quite right either, but that might have just been artistic license.

Julie didn’t have as big a role in this story, even though she was around for the entire thing. Abe, while only being there for half the book had about the same amount of activity as the previous story. Unfortunately there was no John Lau this time. Outside of Inspector Bagshawe Dr. Merrill I don’t think there was a sympathetic character in the story. They all struck me as pretty big douches. Well, Hinshore the innkeeper wasn’t bad either. There is always a different setting, and this time it’s the English coast along the Channel. While it doesn’t sound horrible, it doesn’t seem like someplace I would ever seek out as a vacation spot.

The eBook was formatted so-so. There were several noticeable spelling/grammar errors and a couple of odd line breaks.