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by Kate Ellis
Minotaur Books, July 2002
240 pages
ISBN: 0312274548

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A young farmer unearths a skeleton on his mother's small farm in Devon and calls the police. DI Gerry Heffernan is sure that it is the skeleton of the boy's father, who disappeared several years earlier, but DS Wesley Peterson, who has a degree in archeology, is sure it is at about 1000 years earlier. Peterson is interested in the archeological aspect of the corpse, but he has another, more recent crime to solve. Ingeborg Larsen, a Danish tourist, has gone missing on her way into Tradmouth, and there have been a series of home invasions among some of the wealthier farmers in the area. In the latest one, the homeowner was shot in the leg.

Wesley calls in his friend, Neil Watson, who is conducting a dig at the local church for the county archeological society, to check on the skeleton. Heffernan insists that it is that of small time villain Jock Palister who had disappeared three years earlier. Peterson is more interested in finding the Danish tourist before it's too late. And in the meantime, there is to be an historical reenactment in the next town, of the Viking landings in the area.

As the lines of inquiry begin to come together, we learn about the medieval history of the region. Each chapter begins with a paragraph from the chronicles of a monk written in 997, detailing life during the Viking invasions, and it has a parallel to modern day life.

There has been a TV program called TIME TEAM running in England for about 10 years. In it, a team of archeologists goes to a location and has three days in which to unearth what's there...be it stone age encampments or 19th century factory buildings. Ellis uses many of the same techniques in building her stories of Devon.

Note: This is a review of the UK paperback, the cover of which is shown above, published by Piatkus Books in November 2000. If you can't wait until July to read this book, you can order from Crime in Store (CrimeBks@aol.com) in London. The cost is 5.00 (or about $7.00)

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, March 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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