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The Inquisitor's Key

(Body Farm #7)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  3,527 ratings  ·  369 reviews
The most riveting and ambitious novel to date in Jefferson Bass’ New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series, The Inquisitor’s Key takes forensic investigator Dr. Bill Brockton to Avignon, France, and embroils him in a deadly religious mystery that could shake the Vatican itself to its very foundations.  Another sterling crime novel in the vein of Patricia Cornwell ...more
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by William Morrow (first published January 1st 2012)
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Patricia I went back through the books, because I didn't remember any mention of her dying. I found the place in Chapter 5 of "The Bone Yard" (book #6) Isabell…moreI went back through the books, because I didn't remember any mention of her dying. I found the place in Chapter 5 of "The Bone Yard" (book #6) Isabella was supposedly still alive and pregnant, and Bill was still trying to sort out the situation and wondering where she was (he had recently received the origami bird from her from San Francisco). Then, the next time she is mentioned is in "The Inquisitor's Key" (book #7) in Chapter 25. This brief sentence "Then there was Isabella, with whom I'd had a brief romantic encounter, and who'd died in Japan when the tsunami struck the coast where she was staying." It seems like she was just forgotten along the way, which was very disappointing to me because I thought her character and subplot added a lot of personal depth to Bill. (less)
Kristin The next 2 books take place in the early days of the Body Farm and I believe Bass wrote them to set up for the final book in the series, so Miranda wa…moreThe next 2 books take place in the early days of the Body Farm and I believe Bass wrote them to set up for the final book in the series, so Miranda wasn't yet his assistant.(less)

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This is my least favorite book in the usually good Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass. The plot is similar to both "The Da Vinci Code" and even to Kathy Reichs' superior "Cross Bones" in that the central mystery involves a skeleton that may or may not be the bones of Jesus Christ and the lengths to which some religious followers (both the Catholic Church and a fundamentalist preacher feature here) will go to ascertain the truth.

The biggest fault I found with the story is that it's boring. The c
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I've read a Body Farm. I've had this one on my to read list for a mighty long time. So with the "Madonna and the Corpse," and "The Inquisitor's Key" I've really enjoyed reading these. This was a second read of Madonna, but new with the Inquisitor. Good stuff.

Featuring the Tennessee bone expert (after 2011’s The Bone Yard), an awkward blend of a conspiratorial religious thriller and a forensic procedural, Dr. Bill Brockton drops his work on a dead undercover DEA agent
May 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
I may be the only person giving one star to this most recent Jefferson Bass offering. The book ostensibly is about an ossuary containing the bones of Jesus, but it deteriorates into a kind of Da Vinci Code, replete with subplots and nefarious Bad Guys. Also too many coy ("Aren't we cute?") kind of anti-religious (more specifically, anti-Catholic) wise cracks in the formulaic dialogues.

With fewer than 100 pages to go, and not giving a hoot in Hell if Miranda is rescued or not, or if Stefan murder
Jon Jefferson
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fascinating and great fun: I'm talking about the research and writing of it (yes, I wrote it). Medieval mystery meets modern murder; think DaVinci Code, "Bones," and Girl with a Pearl Earring. The cast of medieval characters includes Petrarch, his unrequited love Laura, the Italian painters Giotto and Simone Martini, and an Inquisitor-turned-Pope. Now that it's finished, I miss them already! I hope others find it as fascinating & fun to read as I found it to write... ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Inquisitor's Key by Jefferson Bass.

I've read/listened to several in the body farm series and enjoyed them very much. I enjoyed them for their uniqueness and for the excellent story telling quality. This book was a big disappointment. I started listening to it on Cd narrated by the same person as in all the others and nothing caught my attention. I couldn't stay focused because there was nothing worth focusing on.

Sorry to say this was a big disappointment for an otherwise wonderfully special
Sep 06, 2013 added it
Shelves: 9-dnf
Not interested in the historical religious settings
*Rating* 3 1/2
*Genre* Mystery


The Inquisitor’s Key is the seventh novel in the Body Farm series. The main character of the series is Dr. Bill Brockton, renowned forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read this series, you really should consider trying it out. If you weren’t aware that this place actually exists, they I shall correct your mistaken belief when I say that I’ve actually visited there than
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bass returns with another jam-packed book, full of intrigue and a pile of historical research. While not my favourite of the series, the author did invest countless hours into developing a thoroughly entertaining book and was able to balance the ongoing character progression that keeps the series fresh and addictive. While moving the setting far outside the setting of the Body Farm, Bass successfully keeps the reader interested. Presenting both historical and scientific facts (and fallacy?) in s ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Read!!!

This book brings the Bone Detective, Dr. Bill Brockton, across the globe! He is involved in a controversial quest to determine whether the bones in France belong to none other than Jesus Christ himself. You would think that there would be a major conflict of religious organizations here, but the characters are well-balanced and used very effectively. I love this new addition to The Body Farm Novels! I know you will too! Don't miss this great book, it is a MUST read!!!
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another Body Farm mystery and it is the most complicated one yet. This one finds Dr. B suddenly summoned to Avignon by his young assistant Miranda who has been taken to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. When a frightened and disheveled Dr. B arrives it's only to find the whole thing is a ruse set up to keep Miranda and her French colleague's amazing find a secret. They need his help to determine whether or not the bones they've discovered in the walls of the Palace of the Popes could possi ...more
I had been told that this series gets off to a rocky start but then got better, so after their last book, which I rather enjoyed, I had such high hopes for this one. But I was disappointed, as I have been with this series as a whole. Being written in part by the real-life founder of the anthropology research facility in Tennessee, I expected this series to be based on cases that have actually come into said facility, with a bit more dramatic flair, to make it a really interesting fictional read, ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Medieval mystery meets modern-day murder, as Dr. Brockton and Miranda Lovelady investigate the discovery of ancient bones found in the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France.

Instead of a simple phone call asking for his assistance, Miranda inveigles her associate to tell Bill Brockton, the ‘bone specialist’ and Miranda’s lecturer and mentor, that she’s in hospital with acute appendicitis. This alerts us to the fact Brockton has suppressed feelings for Miranda and despite being twenty years her s
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I'm simply tired of religious mysteries set in the medieval period. They seem way overdone to me at this point. Maybe I got tired of hearing the main character characterize himself as an old man and chastise himself for his attraction to his younger assistant. This simply put me in mind of dirty old men and all that I find distasteful about them. Or maybe I just didn't find the mystery intriguing enough. At any rate, I had a hard time getting involved in the story until about 1/3 of the ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I know if anyone goes back and reads my reviews for my previous "Body Farm" reads, I always say that that particular book is the best of the series (until I read the next one), but I must say that The Inquisitor's Key is the Pièce de résistance of the series. This book is beyond intelligently written with loads of intrigue set in multiple eras which come together spectacularly, yet Jon Jefferson remained true to the "down to earth" character of Bill Brockton. When I heard the premise of the book ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was the best Jefferson Bass book so far. Loved it. Avignon was a great setting and I could imagine walking the streets myself. I felt the history of the place come alive and loved the switching back and forth from the past to the present. I didn't see the Descartes thing coming lol, even though I should have after reading the prequel. Father Mike was also a bit of a surprise although I knew there was a tracker in the medal ;). I'm sad to be finished with it so soon, but as always with Jeffe ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I was very disappointed in this book. The premise was ok, and I liked the parallel story telling of the past and the present. However, it took me a while to get into it, and I was unsatisfied with the ending. I was also severely upset with the convenience of how Isabella was done away with. Seriously? We don't even get her story. We don't get to find out what happened with the baby? She's just written off, almost as an afterthought. I hated that. Plus, it made me feel as though I had missed a ch ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This was my first Body Farm novel and I am of two minds about it. Generally, I enjoyed the modern day sleuthing but I found the Middle Ages look-backs to be unnecessary and I'm not sure they added anything to the book. Of course, without them, the novel would have been a novella.

I enjoyed the descriptions of Avignon. The use of French with the necessary translations was skillfully handled. Generally I found the characters well-developed. Granted, there were times that Brockton's mooning over Mir
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all: I haven't read any other book of this series. So I can't say whether or not this is a worthy part.
The first half of the book takes its time. It's not clear what the story will go to. But we do learn a lot about the characters and (very interesting) the history of the city of Avignon.
The second half is more suspenseful, more Thriller-like. We meet new dubious characters and lot more action takes place.
Maybe not a book you will remember for the rest of your life. But a good reading
Susannah Carleton
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin Overman
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clearly my absolute favorite of the series to date. I dig books with religion and this one was historically brilliant! Their title Bones of Betrayal is a second favorite. Why? The historical content is out of this world and juicy. Things I wish I knew during WWII, and makes me crave the History channel too. History is fun! I do declare, these two titles deserve a spot on my own bookshelves. We have this book in present time and past time... back and forth in Paris, France and in particular Avign ...more
Ray Palen
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jefferson Bass have created something special with their latest release, THE INQUISITOR’S KEY. They were already creating forensic anthropology-centered thrillers every bit as good as Kathy Reichs. Now, with this new novel, they enter into the religious, artistic and historical fiction realm of authors like Dan Brown and Iain Pears.

Jefferson Bass --- the pen-name for the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass --- continue their Dr. Bill Brockton series with their most intense and deftly
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Inquisitor's Key provides an interesting plot and a climactic ending, but may contain a few too many details for some readers.

The Inquisitor's Key is a Body Farm novel, meaning it's part of a series about the Body Farm, the human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee. However, after the initial scene, which really had nothing at all to do with this book, we don't return to the Body Farm.

Dr. Bill Brockton, a renowned forensic anthropologist, is summoned to Avignon, Fr
So disappointing compared to the other one I read of his. Maybe it stems from my disliking books that end up investigating in international places. I do not mind a story if that is the home base other than the U.S, but and even though I do read some of these and find them okay, they are not my "cup of tea." and I usually avoid them. I just did not find the subject here at all interesting and maybe it is just my mindset these days of growing weary of the mediocre, maybe it was audio and my mind i ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
Dr. Bill Brockton’s assistant Miranda is spending the summer doing some forensic bone work in Avignon, France. Dr. Brockton’s feelings for Miranda have been becoming a little more personal than professional, so when he receives a call that she has fallen ill and is hospitalized in France he jumps on the next plane. Turns out its all a ruse used to get him to Avignon without anyone knowing (overhearing) the real reason. Miranda takes him to a “find” in the Palace of Popes which may or may not be ...more
Casey Whitworth
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Having never read the prior Body Farm novels by Jefferson Bass, I recently received an advance copy of the new novel The Inquisitor’s Key. Within minutes of cracking open the novel, I had a familiar yet infrequent experience: you know—that proud, greedy feeling you get when you finally discover an author (and trick yourself into believing that you were the first).

The Inquisitor’s Key features dual narrative arcs on a collision course with one another—a modern-day murder mystery with a case of un
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I'm a great admirer of the Body Farm series, authored by Jefferson Bass.  Jefferson Bass is a team of writers who are Tom Jefferson, a renowned journalist, and Dr. Bill Bass, the founder of The Body Farm at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  My undergraduate degree is in biological anthropology and Dr. Bass has long been one of my heroes - a true visionary and pioneer in the field of forensic anthropology.  Dr. Bass and Mr. Jefferson make a great team as they bring compelling storytellin ...more
Michael Johnston
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I picked this up as one of those easy to read, mindless thrillers to pass summer days. I have read others in this series and the main character is kind of intriguing. Dr. Bill Brockton is a "forensic investigator" famed for his ability to find criminal clues in the study of the bodies of murder victims. Usually he ends up in danger and in the middle of scientific mysteries that are at least diverting.

This one was a little thin. The authors (it is the work of two authors in collaboration) start t
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Honestly I was just a tad disappointed with this entry. The constant shifting in storylines was distracting, and I really couldn't get interested in the medieval parts -- in the end, I just started skipping those. And Dr. Brockton suddenly crushing on Miranda was a little icky to me. Where did that come from?

I guess this book being set in a totally different location took me out of my comfort zone. To fans of the exotic, this won't be a problem. Me, I kinda missed Tennessee. On the bright side,
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Wonderful! Love this book. Again Jefferson Bass has given us a story that draws us in and keeps us immersed in not only the mystery of the bones, but also in lives of the characters. An excellent book with a bit of history and lots of twists and turns. Dr. Bill Brockton & Miranda Lovelady are characters in which you’d like to have as friends – and could because they are so real. I generally do not prefer stories set in foreign countries, but this book captivated me and made me want to know more ...more
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Jefferson Bass is the pen name of Jon Jefferson, writer, and Dr. Bill Bass, renowned forensic anthropologist. Jefferson and Bass have collaborated on 2 nonfiction books and 6 crime novels; their 7th novel, The Inquisitor's Key, will

Other books in the series

Body Farm (10 books)
  • Carved in Bone (Body Farm, #1)
  • Flesh and Bone (Body Farm #2)
  • The Devil's Bones (Body Farm, #3)
  • Bones of Betrayal (Body Farm #4)
  • The Bone Thief (Body Farm, #5)
  • The Bone Yard (Body Farm, #6)
  • Cut to the Bone (Body Farm, #8)
  • The Breaking Point  (Body Farm, #9)
  • Without Mercy (Body Farm, #10)

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“know what Clement said about being pope?” I shook my head, as he’d hoped I would. “Clement said none of his predecessors knew how to be pope.” “What did he mean?” “He meant that none of the others knew how to throw such big parties. He was also called ‘Clement the Magnificent.’ When he was crowned as pope, he gave a feast for three thousand people. He served one thousand sheep, nine hundred goats, a hundred cows, a hundred calves, and sixty pigs.” “Goodness. That’s, what, ten, twenty pounds of meat for every person?” “Ah, but there is more. Much more. Ten thousand chickens. Fourteen hundred geese. Three hundred fish—” “Only three hundred?” He stretched his arms wide—“Pike, very big fish”—then transformed the gesture into a shrug. “But also, Catholics eat a lot of fish, so maybe it was not considered a delicacy.” He held up a finger. “Plus fifty thousand cheeses. And for dessert? Fifty thousand tarts.” “That’s not possible. Surely somebody exaggerated.” “Non, non, pas du tout. We have the book of accounts. It records what they bought, and how much it cost.” “How much did it cost?” “More than I will earn in my entire life. But it was a smart investment. It made him a favorite with the people who mattered—kings and queens and dukes. And, of course, with his cardinals and bishops, who sent him money they collected in their churches.” Turning away from the palace, he pointed to a building on the opposite side of the square. “Do you know this building?” I shook my head. “It’s just as important as the palace.” “What is it?” “The papal mint.” “Mint, as in money?” He nodded. “The popes coined their own money, and they built this mint here. They made gold florins in the mint, then stored them in the treasury in the palace.” “The popes had their own mint? That seems ironic, since Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem.” “If you look for inconsistencies, you will find a million. The popes had armies. They had mistresses. They had children. They poisoned their rivals. They lived like kings and emperors; better than kings and emperors.” “And nobody objected?” “Oh, sure,” he said. “Some of the Franciscans—founded by Saint Francis of Assisi—they were very critical. They said monks and priests and popes should live in poverty, like Jesus.” 0 likes
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