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Bones of Contention (A Dinah Pelerin Mystery #1)

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  35 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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Sep 13, 2012 Trish rated it did not like it
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
Sep 01, 2010 Charlie rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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
Aug 04, 2010 Ivyd rated it it was amazing
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
Susan Ideus
Sep 21, 2010 Susan Ideus rated it really liked it
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
Andrea Love
Aug 03, 2010 Andrea Love rated it really liked it
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
Cathy Cole
Jul 14, 2013 Cathy Cole rated it it was ok
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
Vicki Gooding
Jun 24, 2014 Vicki Gooding rated it really liked it
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
Jun 21, 2010 Richard rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 26, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Betty McMahon
Sep 29, 2012 Betty McMahon rated it liked it
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
Jul 11, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2010 Alan rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
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
Mar 29, 2015 Robbi rated it really liked it
I love this. The dialogue is the best. From the Georgia sounthernisms to the Australian outback strine it's marvelous. It's all a bit Agatha Christie or Perry Mason on the whodunits but it's well done. I do recommend the audiobook for the first time. That's how I did Bet Your Bones. Puts those accents deep in your head. Otherwise unless you can do linguistic gymnastics these might not be as good. Matthews makes me laugh aloud.
Jul 26, 2014 Beverly rated it liked it
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.
Susan Schreyer
Jun 19, 2010 Susan Schreyer rated it it was amazing
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!
Oct 05, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, humor
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.
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.
Oct 08, 2015 Lee rated it did not like it
This is a terrible book that I did not even think worth finishing. Too many boring characters, mostly poorly developed. I will not even bother with any of the many others in the series. I thought perhaps the setting in Australia would provide interest, but even that fails totally.
Oct 25, 2011 Terry rated it liked it
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.
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.
Nov 13, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it

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.
Nov 17, 2011 Miki rated it did not like it
I can't believe it - there is not ONE likeable character in this book! I didn't care what happened to anyone.
Jul 13, 2010 Lynne rated it it was ok
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
Sep 06, 2013 Elizabeth Sewell rated it liked it
Good mystery with fun, likable main character. Will read remaining books in series to "detox" from heavier fare.
Jul 06, 2015 R.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly enjoyed it. I am not usually a "cozy" mystery kind of person, but Dinah is my kind of woman and the story was very fun.
Lindah rated it really liked it
May 18, 2012
Lynn Bellair
Lynn Bellair rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2015
Cindy Buell
Cindy Buell rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2016
Midori Kunitsugu
Midori Kunitsugu rated it liked it
May 29, 2016
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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...

Other Books in the Series

A Dinah Pelerin Mystery (5 books)
  • Bet Your Bones (A Dinah Pelerin Mystery, #2)
  • Bonereapers
  • Her Boyfriend's Bones
  • Where the Bones Are Buried

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