Bones of Contention
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Bones of Contention (A Dinah Pelerin Mystery #1)

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  96 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Top End of Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths. It’s a strange place to choose to end one’s life, but that is what Dinah Pelerin’s wealthy American uncle has done. Dying of cancer, he has summoned his entire family – current wife, ex-wife, assorted children and niece – to a remote, comfortless lodge where he inten...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published May 27th 2010)
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I gave this a try--audio, then paper copy. Matthews tries to keep the laughs-a-minute going but it becomes unbearable. Too many asides and innuendos...I was exhausted waiting for something to actually happen. Well past 100 pages into it, I found even the Australian part of it was corrupted with attempts at humor. I noticed on the new site, which is an audio download company, that the Poisoned Pen Press generally publishes cutsey cozies that I am not usually interested in reading. I...more
This story reads like a whodunit murder mystery reminiscent of the television series, Murder She Wrote sprinkled with a dash of Agatha Christie and mixed with a pinch of Perry Mason. The humor is superb and the insertion of the main character’s thoughts about what would be scribed on her headstone is insightful and hilarious. If you’re a fan of those series, then this will be an enjoyable, fun read for you. I loved the lingo and character development. The cast is vast, but each is unique and eas...more
Vicki Gooding
This book reads like a modern day Ellery Queen or Agatha Christie with a room full of family members trapped together, a murder mystery, lots of wealth and a who-done-it theme. A wealthy man is dying of cancer. Decides to hire a doctor who is willing to break the law with a suicide assistance agenda. Invites the family to share his last moments, and then the reading of the will. But before this pans out, the doctor ends up dead. The setting is Australia. The family a bit bizarre in the way they...more
Dinah has received a call from Uncle Cleon, her half-brothers father. He’s dying and has chosen to commit assisted suicide. He really wants to see her before he meets his maker. All the family, with the exception of her mother, has agreed to come to Australia. What a menagerie it is too. Dinah hops the first plane outta town to join the melee. Admittedly she has ulterior motives. She loves Uncle Cleon, no doubt, but she also just quit her job, caught her lover in flagrante with a redhead, and sh...more
Andrea Love
Review–Bones of Contention, Jean Matthews

A well written and intriguing murder-mystery set in Australia, Bones of Contention is an interesting read. The characters are colorful, but are not developed to their full potential. There are a couple of loose ends in Dinah’s recent past which would add a sense of completion if they could be tidied up.

Set in the uncommon locale of the Northern Territory in Australia, the setting is austere and the reader is presented with mysterious incongruities from...more
Susan Ideus
Set in Australia, this is a fast-paced, multi-layered novel of intrigue, family ties and family secrets, complete with mystery, murder and enough plot twists to make one dizzy.

Dinah Pellerin, a down-on-her luck young woman, fresh from the betrayal of her current lover, a Seattle cop, finds herself suddenly on the way to Australia at the behest of her “Uncle” Cleon who purports to be dying. She hitches a ride to from Darwin to Katherine with Jacko, a strange pilot who tries to befriend her, but s...more
Cathy Cole
This book has such an interesting premise and takes place in a country about which I've always been fascinated. When I saw the added bonus of anthropology, I knew I had to read it. I did, with very mixed results. The Australian setting is well done, and although the cast of characters is a large one, I didn't find it difficult at all to keep track of each individual. Dinah has a refreshing sense of humor, too. The bones of this tome skeleton are good, but a few things went awry for me when the m...more
Jun 21, 2010 Richard rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers, people interested in Australia
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review
A large, all American family gathers for the assisted suicide of the patriarch; wives 1 and 3, their children, their childrens' domestic partners; and their children.

Missing wife # 2 is represented by our narrator and detective-in-chief, Dinah Perelin. Although the family hales from Georgia, Dinah has been living in Seattle until she stormed out of her most recent underemployment and caught her cop boyfriend with another woman.

The setting of Australia, on the edge of the Outback, beyond Alice Sp...more
Pamela Mclaren
A new book by Jeanne Matthews with a strong female character who finds that her extended family is not all that it seems. In fact, her half brother is an art forger, her 'uncle's' wife is having an affair with one of his sons, and one of them is a murderer.

The secrets and lies come out as the family gathers in the Australian outback just before the assisted suicide of said 'uncle,' who has cancer. And from the moment they arrive, the family is squabbling about nearly everything -- about who is d...more
Debbie Heaton
In Simon’s mystery novel, Harvard scholar Dulcie Schwartz continues to work on her thesis when she receives a frantic call from her friend Trista. A visiting scholar has vanished and police suspect that Trista is involved. Dulcie dives in donning her detective hat to solve a mystery before anyone else gets hurt.

A nice addition to the A Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery series.

This is not "fine or profound" literature, but I thought it was an entertaining read. It wasn't a cozy mystery, nor was it graphic. The geographical details and Strine slang made it a hoot to read and Dinah's character infused a sense of humour into the book that provided quite a few chuckles. There was interesting information about The Top of Australia and a reference to a bar and grill in Darwin that could only be found in the Land of Oz--Duck Nuts Bar and Grill; yes I Googled it and it does...more
Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths. Dinah Pelerin’s wealthy American uncle, dying of cancer, has summoned his family to a remote lodge where he rewrites his will and commits suicide. What follows is a bizarre tale of mystery, intrigue and voodoo mystics.
I loved the first chapter of this book. Dianah Pelerin's has just arrived in Australia from the US, looking to make the last leg of her trip. She accepts a ride in a "tiny two-seater airplane" with Jacko as her pilot. One of the first things he does is offer her a beer from the cooler under his seat, which of course leads to her first feeling of trepidation. She has several "Lizzy McGuire" moments (moments in which she makes an observation about herself) in this first chapter which made me laugh...more
Wealthy Atlanta lawyer Cleon was heartbroken when his second wife Swan left him for another man. But he befriended Swan's new husband, and her daughter Dinah. Now, years later, Dinah is repaying his kindness by flying from Seattle to Australia for a family reunion at a decrepit lodge, where Cleon has decided to die by assisted suicide. The skeptical Dinah is not quite skeptical enough: she doesn't realize that things she finds out about Cleon, his son (and her half brother) Lucien, and his other...more
Betty McMahon
I liked the first chapter, but had to slog through the rest. The first chapter started out so well that I settled in for a good read -- interesting setting, sassy dialogue, fast-moving story. But then, it got bogged down with characters I couldn't care about, a convoluted plot I couldn't keep track of, and an ending that I still don't understand. I can't figure out why the author did not give us one character to root for; even the main one, Dinah Pelerin, was not likable. And the way she "figure...more
Even at the end, I still found none of the characters very likable. I have bought the next in the series, so will probably read it, but not right now.
May 08, 2014 Cheri rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
kinda silly but harmless.
Susan Schreyer
Fast paced, vivid setting, and unforgettable characters. American Dinah Pelerin attends a "family reunion" in the Top End of Australia orchestrated by her terminally ill uncle--who intends to commit suicide. However, there's far more going on than the gathering of warring family members--including murder and...well, you'll just have to read it to find out!
Didn't finish. Had to return book to library as it was an Interlibrary loan and you can't renew. Will be looking for copy for my at-home library so I can finish. As far as I got, I enjoyed the writing and the story. Look forward to finishing.
Set in the Australian Outback, this Dinah Pelerin Mystery must be the first in a proposed series. The plot is very complicated, but overall, an enjoyable read with lots of colorful background information.
Someone else said that this story reads like a whodunit murder mystery reminiscent of the television series which was my thoughts exactly. Not great literature but entertaining.

The reader is (I think the same person who reads for Patricia Cornwell...Kay Scarpetta).

The characters have zero redeeming qualities. It is a sad sad attempt.
I found this pretty dull, especially for a book set in Australia, which I thought would be exotic and exciting. It was plodding.
Elizabeth Sewell
Good mystery with fun, likable main character. Will read remaining books in series to "detox" from heavier fare.
I can't believe it - there is not ONE likeable character in this book! I didn't care what happened to anyone.
The Australian Outback setting adds a lot to this classic dysfunctional family mystery.
Jul 21, 2010 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Julie by: Seattle Times - local author
Really liked this local author (Renton, WA). Can't wait for more from her!
Donna Martemucci
fun mystery...lots of twists and turns. Loved the audio version...
Funny and well-plotted. I can't wait to read Dinah's next adventure!
Elly Wendy
ok, a summer read, but I didn't learn much or get inspired.
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Jeanne Matthews was born and raised in Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism and has worked as a copywriter, a high school English and Drama teacher, and a paralegal. She currently lives in Renton, Washington with her husband, who is a law professor, and a West Highland terrier, who is a prima donna.
More about Jeanne Matthews...
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