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Olmec Obituary

Olmec Obituary 1

Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth Series: Book 1

by L.J.M. Owen

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 01/11/2016

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $17.25

Yearning for her former life as an archaeologist, Australian librarian Dr. Elizabeth Pimms is struggling with a job she doesn't want, a family she both loves and resents, and enforced separation from her boyfriend.

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.Amidst 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: DrPimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases. L.J.M. Owen drew extensively on her education and experience when developing the novel. Relevant qualifications include an undergraduate degree in archaeology and a PhD in palaeogenetics from ANU, and a graduate diploma in library management from Curtin University.

Crime & Mystery
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Echo Publishing
Dimensions (mm):
L.J.M. Owen

Dr L.J.M. Owen has degrees in archaeology, forensic science and librarianship. She speaks five languages and has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia. L.J. was inspired to write the Dr Pimms series by the neglected women's stories she discovered between the cracks of popular archaeology. Three books in this series have been published by Echo Publishing. L.J.'s new novel, The Great Divide, introduces a new story world and characters. L.J. is also the Festival Director of the Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival, a celebration of literature and literacy in southern Tasmania, and divides her time between Canberra and southern Tasmania.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • An excellent debut novel.

    by on

    Olmec Obituary is the first book in the Dr Pimms, Intermillenial Sleuth series by Australian author, L J M Owen. Like her grandfather and father before her, Elizabeth Pimms is a librarian. It may be a wonderful profession, but it’s not her career of choice: before the sudden death of her father, Dr Pimms was pursuing her life’s aspiration as an archaeologist in Egypt, with Luke, the man of her dreams; now, Luke is at a dig in Mexico and Elizabeth is in Canberra, providing a steady income to support her siblings.

    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

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