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Dead Men's Hearts

Author: Elkins, Aaron Set In . . .
 Africa, Nile River, Egypt, Luxor
Genre: Mystery
Time Frame: 1990s
Published: 1994
Description: Earning a place right next to the books of Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman are the engrossing mysteries of award-winning author Aaron Elkins. As the Chicago Sun-Times says: "Murder, a singular detective, a winning supporting cast, humor - what more could we want from a mystery?" Yet Elkins's Gideon Oliver novels do give us more: They engage the reader in a foray into the fascinating field of forensic anthropology, and they always happen in the very best places on earth for murder! His latest work, Dead Men's Hearts, is set in an unbeatable location for old bones and new skullduggery: the ruins of ancient Egypt. A promised role in a documentary film draws Gideon Oliver to Egypt's famed Valley of the Nile, where he expects an undemanding week of movie-star treatment plus a top-of-the-line cruise along the river with his wife, Julie. But a skeleton unexpectedly turns up in the garbage of the Egyptological institute where the filming starts. The bones, Gideon determines, are those of an anonymous Fifth Dynasty scribe who has been uneventfully gathering dust in a storeroom for seventy years. These venerable relics are cleaned, sorted, analyzed, and placed back in storage with all due respect. Sifting through bones is nothing new for the man known as the Skeleton Detective, but wandering skeletons are out of the ordinary. So when the same remains inexplicably wind up in another garbage heap a few days later - days during which a staff member has died under highly suspicious circumstances - Gideon hauls out his calipers for a second, longer look. What he discovers will send him and Julie through the bazaars and back alleys of modern Egypt and deep into the ancient Valley of the Kings. And asthe puzzle is pieced together, Gideon will find that the identifying traits of a cunning killer are timeless: greed without guilt, lies without conscience... and murder without remorse.
  
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