Sep 18, 10
Read in September, 2010
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Archaeology is the motif, the setting and the job description for many of the characters in this book.
Interestingly, the cover depicts a butterfly collection, as the actual artifact collection in the story would be either too ugly or too telling (female homicide victims whose bodies have been preserved in several cultural styles - i.e., shrinken head, mummified, bog-preserved)
Hard to say if the main character is really Josephine P., the young archaeology PhD working in Boston at the Crispin museum, who oversees the CT scan of the museum's recently discovered mummy (who proves to not be 2,000 years old after all, but a modern homicide victim.)
The main character might be Josie's mother, the supposedly dead Medea Sommer. Or it could also be the police detective team of Jane Rizzolo and whatshisname Frost.
Anyway, the mother and daughter had been forced to assume false identities in order to try and disappear forever from the sick Bradley Rose (son of a rich archaeology sponsor)who has been stalking the mom.
But at book's start, Josephine's longtime cover starts to dissolve. She's been targeted by "Bradley" to flush out Josie's mother, whom even Josie thinks is dead.
Turns out Bradley is long dead, and not the mom. but his fellow sick-o Jimmy Scott keeps up the pursuit (covertly financed by Bradley's rich, corrupt dad.) Bradley and Jimmy had gotten to know each other as teens while confined for therapy at an expensive private facility for young sexual predators.
Interesting weaving of anthropology and psychology concepts throughout the crime story.
The book's non-demented characters - Josephine, Crispin museum curator Nicholas Ribonson, Med. Examiner Maura Whatshername and police officers Jane and Frost -- are all well developed, realistically likeable and annoying by turns.
Book does not tread into the story's difficult aftermath: How does a loving mother convince her fraught daughter that she (mom) disappeared out of love for same daughter? Even tho Medea reappears at the precise moment to help save Josie, certainly the daughter will have a hard time forgiving her all those years of absence.