My review of Aaron Elkins’ Skeleton Dance
Les‑Eyzies‑de‑Tayac is known for three things: pâté de fois gras, truffles, and prehistoric remains. The little village, in fact, is the headquarters of the prestigious Institute de Préhistoire, which studies the abundant local fossils. But when a pet dog emerges from a nearby cave carrying parts of a human skeleton—by no means a fossilized one—Chief Inspector Lucien Anatole Joly puts in a call to his old friend, Gideon Oliver, the famed “Skeleton Detective.”
Once Gideon arrives, murder piles on murder, puzzle on puzzle, and twist follows twist in a series of unexpected events that threaten to tear the once sober, dignified Institut apart. It takes a bizarre and startling forensic breakthrough by Gideon to bring to an end a trail of deception thirty‑five thousand years in the making.
And another excellent installment in the Gideon Oliver series. Dr. Elkins has certainly gotten better at story telling over the years. The pacing was superb, and I just love all the information about Cro-Magnon man and Neanderthals. One of the things about the study of hominid evolution though is how fast it changes. By the time you read an article in a journal it’s already out of date.
The characters were pretty good, if not all that in depth. They were all likable. There’s no John Lau in this one, but Julie plays a more prominent part. And we get Joly again, who is a wonderful character. The setting in southern France is nicely done, even if it doesn’t play as large a part in the story itself as some others.
The eBook was formatted fairly well. There were a couple of spelling/punctuation errors, but nothing too egregious.