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The Xibalba Murders (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery #1)

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  621 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Lara McClintoch, her marriage ended and her antiques business sold, eagerly embarks on a trip to Mexico to help an old friend solve a mystery. On arrival, her friend puts off their meeting and then disappears. After Lara witnesses a brazen robbery of a valuable statue of the ancient Mayan civilization and stumbles on a corpse in a museum of antiquities, she becomes a polic ...more
ebook, Second, 290 pages
Published February 4th 2013 by Bev Editions (first published 1997)
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Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersMurder in Mesopotamia by Agatha ChristieThe Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters2001 by Arthur C. ClarkeKing Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Archaeology Novels
23rd out of 109 books — 37 voters
XVI by Julia KarrThe Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins GilmanYear of Wonders by Geraldine  BrooksThe Year of the Flood by Margaret AtwoodThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Titles that start with X, Y, or Z
60th out of 253 books — 70 voters

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Community Reviews

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I need to mention I received this book from GoodReads giveaways.

A Canadian store owner Lara McClintoch is recently divorced. It seems to me lately having a main heroine suffering from a bitter divorce, but always finding tall, dark, and handsome guy (or looking for him really hard) is a necessary part of the book to be qualified as cozy mystery. I have a really hard time trying to picture Miss Marple searching for the Right Guy, but it did not prevent her from becoming one of the most famous fem

Sadly, Xibalba was only the background color and not the actually murderer (or recipient of victims) and the plot was pretty easy to unravel (for me, not the dumbass doing the investigating) but this was still a moderately entertaining mystery. I appreciated the effort the author made to incorporate the Mayan calender and it was nice to have an archaeological mystery set in Mexico rather than the over-played Egypt.
Why do all of these kinds of Cozy Mystery stories all have women who think they are the best people to solve murders, or that they are the only ones who can discover the facts of what is going on and solve all of the clues? They do dumb things and risk their lives and everything turn out well in the end. Is this reality?

As for the story. It was okay. I liked some of the characters very much and thought some of them were just too "much". What I liked best was the information on the Maya. I thoug
Antiques dealer Lara McClintoch goes to Mexico at the calling of her local expert, Dr. Hernan Castillo Rivera, because he tells her there is an important archaeological dig going on that may result in some new finds for her shop.

Almost immediately after Lara's arrival, Castillo Rivera disappears and Lara finds herself drawn into intrigue not only surrounding the archaeological site but also the museum for which Castillo Rivera was once the director.

I began to suspect the "whodunnit" at about the
Jennifer Lauren Collins
Hamilton's details of Mayan history, archaeology, and artifacts are interesting and beautifully woven into the fabric of the mystery, but that said, they rather overshadow everything else (and this is coming from someone who truly has an interest in those details!). In comparison, there was just too little attention to characterization but in the opening pages, and actual action (as opposed to thought or discussion) was so rare and quick that it might be slipped into the space of a paragraph, un ...more
Diana Sandberg
Hm. Well, not terrific. This series has come highly recommended by several folk whose opinions more often than not coincide with mine. I will therefore have a look at the next in this series, but this first one is not impressive. The identity of the Bad Guy was obvious from the very first meeting; there is considerable foolish, ham-handed exposition (e.g.: our heroine, a grad student in MesoAmerican studies, has also lived in Merida in the past, yet we have a scene with an archaeologist explaini ...more
Terri Lynn
I am so excited to have discovered this series of archaeological mysteries by Lyn Hamilton.

In THE XIBALBA MURDERS, Lara McClintoch has just gotten divorced from Clive Swain who forced her to sell her beloved antique/design shop so he could make a grab for all she has. She decides to enroll in college to study the ancient Maya.

As her university break begins, Lara receives a mysterious call from an old friend who is an archaeologist in Mexico. He wants her to come help him find "what the rabbit w
Goodreads Description- Lara McClintoch, her marriage ended and her antiques business sold, eagerly embarks on a trip to Mexico to help an old friend solve a mystery. On arrival, her friend puts off their meeting and then disappears. After Lara witnesses a brazen robbery of a valuable statue of the ancient Mayan civilization and stumbles on a corpse in a museum of antiquities, she becomes a police suspect. Afraid of the police and unsure whom to trust, Lara follows clues pointing to black markete ...more
Wow! I can’t believe how swiftly this novelist swept me away. The motion chugs along so well on every page, I wonder if Lyn Hamilton paired her manuscript down to these parts or if it was action-packed from the start. She had room to pause now and again for details. A few scenes were glossed over, I’d like to have savoured. Notwithstanding it’s a resounding A+ and for a début novel! I’m also pleased and proud to discover this gifted writer is Canadian. Lyn’s style truly stands out.

A technique I’
Ana T.
I must admit that although the blurb seemed intriguing enough I only picked up this book because I need an X title for my A to Z Challenge. I thought that it would be a fun challenge but now it seems wrong somehow to spend my time reading books just because I need to strike out a letter. Having said that, it doesn't mean I wasted my time by reading this, there were good things and bad things.

The good things first, it was refreshing to read a book set in Mexico and about Mexican history. Since M
Connie N.
This is a good cozy mystery, although I lost interest here and there, which is why I gave it 3 stars. Lara McClintoch is a student of the Mayan culture and travels to Mexico at the request of her friend to help him in a mysterious search. Unfortunately he is discovered dead soon after her arrival, so not only is she looking for his killer, but she's also trying to figure out what he had discovered and why he needed her help. I thought the story got bogged down in some of the ancient culture and ...more
"After receiving a cryptic phone call from Dr. Hernan Castillo, an expert in Mayan history, Lara travels to Merida, Mexico, to help him with a mysterious project that he has undertaken. But on arriving in Merida, Lara sees no sign of the good doctor -- until his lifeless body turns up in his office at the museum. Retracing the doctor's recent footsteps, she is drawn into the jungles surrounding Merida. For in this lush paradise are the temples of Mayan gods -- and the camps of modern-day rebels ...more
This series by Canadian Lyn Hamilton is described as archaeological mysteries. That was the most interesting part for me--the detailed information about an ancient civilization and the archeological finds that tells us about it. This novel, her first one, was about the Mayans specifically in Merida, Mexico. Protagonist Lara McClintoch is an antiquities dealer but she has just lost her store in a bitter divorce. An old friend invites her to Mexico to show her something special, but before she get ...more
Barbara ★
BORING! BORING! BORING! Need I say more? Well I will anyway.

This is dry as dirt and it gets so bogged down in explaining the intricasies of the Mayan calendar that you actually lose sight of the storyline. Too much information that really isn't necessary to solving the murder mystery. I had to force myself to continue to read and to finish this book. I should have followed my instincts and put it down after the first 50 pages of tedious writing.
Not bad for a cozy (I don't have a good history with them). I know several reviews call out Lara on her stupid moves, but honestly, she's less stupid compared to some other choice cozy heroines. I found the Mayan legends interesting, even though it was so much exposition. I did find some of the things questionable - the main character is written into the will of a Mayan Museum Director as someone whose interest in Maya culture equal to his own, but there's a lot of things I'm assuming are basic ...more
For my A-Z challenge. If it hadn't been for needing this one for the challenge, I wouldn't have finished it. I give it 1.5 stars only because the mystery was ok despite the fact that it took half the book to get going. The main character relied too heavily on her dreams which seemed to be presented as valid as actual Mayan history. I had high hopes for it because I love archealogy, but not sure I'll read another at this point.
Initially I picked up The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton for two reasons: 1) It's got a lovely "X" right there at the beginning and that knocks off a rather difficult letter for the Alphabet Soup Challenge and 2) It's set in Mexico, so it works for the Around the World Challenge. It also counts for a whole boatload of other challenges, so I thought it was all good. But geez, Louise, it was difficult to finish this rather blah, rather predictable book. First problem: It's written in the first pe ...more
An interesting, well-written mystery threaded throughout with Mayan mythology and archaelogical tidbits. Look forward to reading some of Lyn Hamilton's other archaelogical mysteries.
Quite entertaining mystery set in Mexico, with lots of interesting background on Mayan culture. Occasionally a bit too much info dumping, though.
I'd have given it 5 stars if the characters had been less predictable. Of course, I love mysteries, so the problem might have more to do with my own familiarity with the roles that show up in every mystery. Still, the best writers go past the formulaic characterizations (shady characters that turn out to be good guys and helpful individuals who turns out to be bad guys). While I can't say I didn't see most of it coming, I still found the pacing and level of detail highly enjoyable. I also felt l ...more
J. Else
I really liked how the author threaded information in about the Mayan culture at the start of her chapters. This did not happen for the earlier chapters, but I enjoyed the quick narrative which smoothly morphed into the modern-day tale. Having the chapters marked as Mayan calendar days were also fun additions. I always appreciate a well-told spot of history.

I can’t say the “who” of “who-dunnit” was a surprise. I figured it from the get-go. And compared to the historical chapter starts, the mode
Lara is obsessed with the Mayan culture. She loves finding rare and beautiful artifacts. She has just sold her Toronto antiquities store and is unsure of the direction her life will take. Then she receives a cryptic phone call from Dr. Hernan Castillo, an expert in Mayan history, to help him with a mysterious project. But when she arrives in Mérida the good doctor is nowhere to be found --until his lifeless body is found in his office.

Lara knows she must retrace the doctor's steps to find out wh
I picked up this book in hopes of getting a good murder mystery in an archaeological setting. Instead I get a book about woman, Lara McClintock, who studies art history for her business of buying and selling art objects and visits an archeological site. The murder? Doesn't happen until at least half way through the book, after we've heard all about Lara's troubles with her divorce and lack of love life. I should have known I'd be in trouble when the book starts off in the first person. I've real ...more
readinghearts (Lyn M)
Jan 14, 2010 readinghearts (Lyn M) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lynne, Donna, Cam, mystery lovers
Recommended to readinghearts (Lyn M) by: Shari
The premise of this book (and I presume the whole series) is mysteries that occur during archeological digs. The main protagonist is the owner of an antiquities store who travels the globe and gets involved in solving the mysteries that occur.

At first I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book, partly because I had just read a book that I literally could not put down, partly because it took a bit to get used to the writing style in this book. For example, the author begins a lot of se
First in the Lara McClintoch archealogical thriller/mystery series. Lara is just out of a divorce, has lost her antique dealer business to her dead beat husband, and has been court ordered to not be able to start up another business for another year unless her husband retracts or remarries. So on an extended stay-cation Lara gets a call from a friend in South America, and from the mysteriousness of it flies down to meet with him. Thus ensues her very first mystery murder to solve involving fanta ...more
Lekshmi Priya
Apr 17, 2012 Lekshmi Priya rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: maya fanatics
Well, the Xibalba Murders is indigenous in the sense that the narrative is laced with the old maya legends and their ball games, especially those of the Hero twins and the Lord Darkness with the story in a detached yet impressive sort of way. At intervals, the old legend is unfolded as to how the twins outwitted the Lords of Darkness. Each chapter starts with the days according to the maya count of days, the Tzolkin and the explanation to it is given, so that we don’t get lost (but the explanati ...more
A good start to the series. I learned a few things about Maya mythology. The archeological background of the writer and the way she integrated the information in the plot makes the reader receptive to the information. It is still not perfectly blended into the plot but it's far from the pages and pages of information dumping style I've sometimes come across. The culprits I guessed early on but the lead character, Lara, is endearing and worth following up on. Recently divorced and having lost the ...more
Jennifer Storm
Archaeological mysteries are hard to come by and very often go light on the archaeology. This book is no exception. The author, however, did do a very good job of integrating the Mayan calendar into the plot, marking the passage of time, setting the tenor of the unfolding scene, and creating a link between current happenings and the ancient past. The setting, in Mayan Mexico, is enticingly described, the characters well drawn, but the plot is not as complex as one hopes for in a gripping mystery ...more
I liked this mystery, but as late as halfway through I was still unclear about the date until it specifically says that it's set in the 1990s. I think that was because of the prevalent "Had I But Known" vibe that was almost overpowering the book. For those who don't know, that was a technique common to mysteries in the 1930s by authors like Mary Roberts Rinehart and then the 1980s in Gothic mysteries by Phyllis A. Whitney and E. X. Ferrars. It features lots of foreshadowing, a heroine in trouble ...more
I love Mayan history so I did enjoy this. I have done lots of research and the like when I was an undergrad. I am fascinated by their culture. I only gave this book 3/5 stars because I am not crazy about how Hamilton writes. Things happened so quickly and I had to go back a little just to see how that happened. I did love how she named the chapters by one of the Mayan calenders and how she explained or compared the day and what it meant. I guess the ending maybe because I was somewhat expecting ...more
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The Women's Myste...: The Xibalba Murders #1 1 15 Dec 25, 2013 08:05PM  
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Lyn Elizabeth Hamilton was a Canadian author of archaeological mystery novels.

She worked in communications in the public service and private companies before publishing her first novel at the age of 50. She had been director of Cultural Programs Branch for the province of Ontario and director of public affairs for the Canadian Opera Company. Later, Hamilton taught mystery writing for the School fo
More about Lyn Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Maltese Goddess (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #2)
  • The Moche Warrior (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #3)
  • The Celtic Riddle (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #4)
  • The African Quest (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #5)
  • The Etruscan Chimera (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #6)
  • The Thai Amulet (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #7)
  • The Magyar Venus (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #8)
  • The Moai Murders (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #9)
  • The Orkney Scroll (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #10)
  • The Chinese Alchemist (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #11)
The Celtic Riddle (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #4) The Maltese Goddess (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #2) The Moche Warrior (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #3) The Etruscan Chimera (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #6) The Orkney Scroll (Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery, #10)

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