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Olmec Obituary (Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Book 1) Kindle Edition
A royal Olmec cemetery is discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, containing the earliest writing in all the Americas. Dr Pimms is elated to join the team investigating these Aztec ancestors. Triumph is short-¬lived, however, as Elizabeth's position on the team is threatened by a volatile excavation director, contradictory evidence, and hostile colleagues.
Amid seventeen concealed skeletons, an evolving mental library, and Welsh soup, can Dr Pimms determine cause of death for a 3,000-‐year-‐old athlete before being fired?
With the archaeological intrigue of Elizabeth Peters, forensic insight of Kathy Reichs, and comfort of a cosy mystery, Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a fascinating new series by archaeologist and palaeogeneticist L.J.M. Owen: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth.
Really cold cases.
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About the Author
- ASIN : B01610FEE4
- Publisher : Echo Publishing (1 November 2015)
- Language : English
- File size : 1733 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 247 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 280,161 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Dr Pimms, solves 'mysteries from across time - an intermillennial sleuth, if you will.'
Author L. J. M. Owen cleverly weaves the past with the present, so the mystery has a sense of urgency despite the deaths occurring so long ago.
The last sentence is a cracker and leads nicely into the next installment.
P.S. The recipes at the end look far too intimidating for me to try but they sounded delicious in the book:-)
Even though she has made some friends at the library, when an archaeologist from her honours year gets in touch with an interesting proposition, Elizabeth is intrigued. Juan may not have been most reliable student, but the chance to analyse skeletal remains from a royal Olmec cemetery is irresistible. Juan’s supervisor, Dr Carl Schmidt has promised to credit her on the paper he will soon publish, so Elizabeth is happy to spend her Saturdays working on the bones. But Elizabeth uncovers a few anomalies, and Dr Schmidt’s reaction is unexpected.
Two narratives tell the story: during 1231 BCE, the circumstances leading to the deaths of Imox, Ix, Tzkin and their children are revealed; in the present day, Elizabeth explores the 3000 year-old mystery of seventeen skeletons. Owen effectively conveys the challenge and frustration of investigating the deaths at a remove of both distance and time (rather a lot of it!). Much interesting information about archaeology and Mesoamerican people is subtly included, although there are also undisguised info dumps where one character enlightens another. After all, dental non-metrics are not something one encounters on a daily basis!
For much of the book, despite unfailing moral support from her grandparents and friends, Dr Pimms presents as a rather spoiled young woman wallowing in self-pity; luckily, over the last fifty pages, she stops assuming certain things, accepts her error and shows some maturity. Elizabeth is endowed with an eidetic memory and has created for herself a phrenic library: these make her a fascinating character, of whom readers will want more.
Owen kindly includes a glossary of technical terms, a lexicon of foreign language phrases, and 9 pages of mouth-watering recipes. The readers is left wondering about certain events in Elizabeth’s past and present, ensuring there is plenty of scope for further books in this cosy crime series. Readers are bound to look forward to the next instalment, Mayan Mendacity. An excellent debut novel.
With thanks to Echo Publishing for this copy to read and review
Shortly after returning to Canberra, Elizabeth is approached by a former colleague. Apparently a royal Olmec cemetery has been discovered, deep in the Mexican jungle. This cemetery apparently also contains the earliest writing in the Americas. Elizabeth is invited to join the team to undertake skeletal analysis (fortunately located in Canberra), and is very excited about this.
But Elizabeth quickly finds some contradictions in the evidence, and this brings her into conflict with the team’s director. And she has some challenges at home as well.
The novel shifts between Elizabeth in the present, and some Olmec people in 1231 BCE. How did these Olmec people die? Will Elizabeth be able to find a cause of death? Will she be able to make sense of the discrepancies in the evidence?
This novel didn’t completely work for me. There are two reasons for this. Initially, I did not much care for Elizabeth. Secondly, I had some difficulties with the team (especially the director) established to do the skeletal analysis in Canberra. I can’t write more about this without introducing spoilers. While I found the story interesting, it didn’t completely hold my attention. Yet I’m intrigued, and I’m hoping that Ms Owen further develops a number of the characters. Will I keep reading? Yes, I’m keen to read the next book to see how Ms Owen develops the character of Elizabeth and her role as ‘Intermillennial Sleuth’. I think that the series has potential.
This is Ms Owen’s first novel, and I understand that eight more novels are planned, in a series entitled ‘Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth’.
The plot and the characters in this book are rather old fashioned and Elizabeth seems rather naive. She has an eidetic (similar to photographic) memory and is academically advanced, and this has made her a bit of a loner. Her family is a mixing pot of cultures with their own family rituals and they don't seem to seek much outside company beyond their cats! However things pick up when the author introduces flashbacks to an ancient Olmec family who are facing fears and challenges which seem very real. Elizabeth is called upon to solve how their skeletons were found in a cave in Mexico.
I found the modern day part of the story stretched my credulity in places, but this was an enjoyable escapist read, with fascinating facts about Olmec culture.
Top reviews from other countries
This is #1 in a series about Dr Pimms that has so far produced 3 volumes, and it is also the debut novel of the author who is qualified in all the same fields as her main character. While the story captured my interest, I found the writing to have a tone that was just a bit off - the only way I can describe it is that the voice of the novel was YA, while the plot and characters were decidedly adult. This made Elizabeth seem like a petulant 25yo for much of the story, and I had trouble warming to her. Combined with unrealistic family relationships (e.g. the grandfather) and often-clumsy dialogue, such as
'You’re a very silly girl who’s just making things worse for herself.' Carl’s anger was creepily calm. ‘You don’t honestly think I’d let a troublemaker like you win a job here, do you?’
this had me rolling my eyes a bit too frequently to seriously consider continuing with the series.
But there were some good things too. Elizabeth's multicultural family - with Welsh, French and Chinese grandparents - is completely food-obsessed, so there were some lovely passages describing cooking sessions and meals, and there were even a few recipes at the end. And the cats...
I had been wanting to get my hands on this book for ages. It took a while because none of the libraries I am associated with had it or would bring it in and I just didn’t have it in my budget to pay full price for this book. However, Lady Luck was finally on my side and I was able to pick this up as an e-book for $2. Woohoo! For over a year I had been waiting to dig into this story so as soon as I could I jumped right in.
This story, and presumably the others in the series, revolve around a modern woman and archaeologist solving mysteries both modern and thousands of years old. As an enthusiastic lover of ancient history, that is right up my alley. My greatest love is ancient Egypt but Rome, Mesoamerica, the vikings…it is all fascinating to me. My passion for all things ancient as well as a good mystery made this book a near perfect fit for me.
Our main character, Dr. Elizabeth Pimms, was, unfortunately, a little difficult to relate to. She was interesting and highly, highly intelligent as well as flawed as all good characters should be but at the same time she was a bit stale. Elizabeth had recently gone through some emotional upheaval due to the death of her father and her career being derailed because of that. After his death, she has to return home from her very first archaeological dig to become the family breadwinner so that her grandparents and siblings can remain in the family home. You know, good for her for doing that but at the same time she spends most of the book complaining about it which was frustrating. I understand that you wanted to do something else with your life, Elizabeth, but quit your bitching. Life doesn’t go the way we plan, deal with it. Fact.
Once the story gets into the mystery things get a good bit more interesting. It no longer focuses to much on the whiny, neediness of Dr. Pimms and instead on this group of women and girls from Mesoamerica over 3000 years ago. The group had been found buried in the ruins of a temple and Dr. Pimms help is requested by a shady archaeologist to study them. However, Elizabeth uncovers information which makes the dig sight appear staged and she is dismissed with great venom from working with the remains. Determined to uncover the truth, Elizabeth embarks on the challenge of proving her theories about the dig being staged and attempting to uncover the truth about the group of remains.
I would have liked to have seen a little more about the women who the remains belonged to. The flashbacks to when they were alive were engrossing and easily one of my favorite parts. I also enjoyed the familial interactions between Elizabeth and her family as her grandfather has some spunk.
Overall, a very enjoyable read and I thought that the conclusion tied everything together very nicely. The so-called bad guy wasn’t exactly who I thought it would be which also was great. I hate when I guess correctly. So, if you love a mystery with some ancient history tie-ins, this is the book for you. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how Dr. Pimms grows and expands as a person as well as whatever mystery she stumbles into next.
I read that L.J.M Owen funded this book by Kickstarter and I'm happy to follow along with the series from here on out!