My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days
Pages - 280
Publisher - Travelling Life Press
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Alderson’s latest art mystery thriller, Rituals of the Dead, Book three of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series.
Art history student Zelda Richardson is working at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua – the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When his journal is found inside one of the bis poles, Zelda is tasked with finding out more about the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects.
Zelda is pulled into a world of shady anthropologists, headhunters, missionaries, art collectors, and smugglers – where the only certainty is that sins of the past are never fully erased.
Join Zelda as she grapples with the anthropologist’s mysterious disappearance fifty years earlier, and a present-day murderer who will do anything to prevent her from discovering the truth.
Zelda (what a brilliant character name eh) is a student at Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and gets to work on some Bis poles and cataloguing bones that are mixed, need sorted and returned. The pressure is on, when a diary of missing archaeologist millionaire Nicholas Mayfield shows up in the crate a new mystery needs solved. Nicholas disappeared in 1962 and now his diary has appeared will light finally be shone on what happened? Some people prefer the past to stay in the past and a little thing like murder can help with that, Zelda has no idea what she has stumbled upon.
So, this is book three in a series, I don't think I missed anything by starting here and I liked the book so much I will be checking out the previous ones. There are references to things that have happened in the other books but nothing I would say that screams spoiler.
The book splits in two timelines, present day with the bis poles and museum business, the other is in 1962 with Nicholas and the lead up to his disappearance. I never really thought I was into museum or archaeology type stories and if I pick them up in a shop I am more likely to put them back down than buy them. I am so glad I read this, I actually love reading about other cultures, things people believe, rituals and the lengths people will go to when money is involved.
There are a fair few characters but not so many you get lost or can't keep track. The duo timeline is very well marked so you know exactly what time period you are in and it is really easy to follow. A bit of travel for book location, learning about cultures, bis poles (which I don't even think I knew existed before this book) and then just to kick it up a notch we have a murder!
Really good pace, if I hadn't had a lot on I think I could have read it in one sitting, I love book that spark an interest in something long after you put the book down. I actually want to watch a wee documentary on Dutch New Guinea now, who says you don't learn or get inspired from fiction books! This was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, action, informative and pulls you into the story quite quickly, 4.5/5 for me this time!