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Rituals of the Dead

(Adventures of Zelda Richardson #3)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A museum researcher must solve a decades-old murder before she becomes the killers next victim in this riveting dual timeline thriller set in Papua and the Netherlands.

Agats, Dutch New Guinea (Papua), 1961: While collecting Asmat artifacts for a New York museum, American anthropologist Nick Mayfield stumbles upon a smuggling ring organized by high-ranking members of the
ebook, 260 pages
Published April 15th 2018 by Traveling Life Press
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Bobby Underwood
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third entry in the museum and artifact-themed Zelda Richardson quasi-cozy mystery series has much to offer those fascinated with other cultures, especially primitive ones. Like Lovers Portrait, the second in the series, there are intermittent flashbacks woven throughout the present day narrative which have a direct correlation to whats happening now. The author has done a good job in making the flashbacks to Nicholas Mayfields expedition in 1962 as interesting as the present day narrative of ...more
Pamela Allegretto
Jennifer Aldersons first-hand experience and meticulous research make this well-written novel a fascinating read. Her attention to detail is bound to captivate anthropology fans. It also poses the moral question as to who owns the rights to ancient artifacts and how they should be treated. The protagonist, Zelda Richardson, is an engaging, ethical researcher that readers will easily applaud. My compliments to Jennifer Alderson for another enjoyable read. ...more
Mary Angela
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
If youre looking for a mystery jam-packed with art and history, look no further. History comes alive as Alderson interweaves the past (the disappearance of an archeologist in 1962) with art student Zelda Richardsons present assignment (a museum exhibition of bis poles). Being a lover of history, I enjoyed learning about past and present Dutch history while trying to solve two mysteries. Zelda is a fun and inquisitive sleuth! I look forward to going on more adventures with her. ...more
Dora Ilieva
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rituals of the Dead was given to me for an advance review and it just blew me away. Ive read other books by Jennifer S. Alderson and am quite familiar with the quirky naivete of Zelda Richardson, the main character in Jennifers thrillers. This book sees Zelda in the centre of an anthropological mystery where her trusting, yet inquisitive nature, which makes her so endearing to the reader, could potentially spell the end of her life. The pace is fast without being hectic; the intrigue unfolds ...more
Jacqueline (Fall In Love With The Sound of Words)
This is the third instalment of the Zelda Richardson novel by Jennifer Alderson. Honestly, they just keep getting better! I was so happy to continue with Zelda's story. She is completely relatable and just wanting to graduate her masters program and then work in museum research...clearly that is too much to ask...

Zelda has once again, through no particular fault of her own, become embroiled in another mystery. This time as she is taking notes for the Troppenmuseum's Bis Pole exhibition, a
J C Steel
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rituals of the Dead is a tense mystery thriller that combines the sedate world of Dutch museums with a decades-old murder on the far side of the world. Zelda Richardson is an American expatriate, working as an intern to support her Masters thesis in Amsterdam, when her research starts dragging up details that don't quite mesh with the official version of events. Her off-books work almost costs her her internship, and that's only the beginning of the trouble. Can Zelda figure out how the facts ...more
Elizabeth Lloyd
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Zelda Richardson is an adventurous heroine who loves to solve mysteries. She needs to succeed in her placement as an intern at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam but the work involves Asmat Bis poles from Papua New Guinea, totems made for the spirits of the dead, whose evil looking faces seem to be leading her into danger.

Seven crates have been discovered unopened for 50 years in the archive depot of Rotterdams Wereldmuseum. As Zelda and the more important staff from the museums observe, the crates
E.J. Bauer
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I do enjoy reading this author's work as her knowledge is extensive and results in me researching the subject even further. This time, a proposed exhibition of native artifacts in an Amsterdam museum collides with the disappearance of a young American man bartering for the same items in 1961 in New Guinea. Murder and intrigue combine as Zelda Richardson, an art history student, sets about solving a mystery that's over 50 years old.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything I like in a mystery: Compelling characters, international settings, a mystery steeped in culture and history. Immersed in the debate currently taking place in the international art world, the theft of artifacts and demands by indigenous people for their return, the novel presents various sides of these issues for the reader to consider. All in all, this is a very satisfying mystery that left me with much to ruminate on.

I have not read the other books in the series yet. This worked
Lucia Davis
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read! I loved learning about the Asmat culturethe artand how life was in Papua in the sixties. This time, Zelda gets drawn into the mystery concerning the fate of a young American explorer, who disappeared in that area at that time. Zelda still works in Amsterdam, a city dear to my heart, which for me gave it that little extra. Very enjoyable and recommended! ...more
Amy Shannon
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing

First, I'm a big fan of Alderson's, and I've read her other books, The Lovers Portrait: An Art Mystery, Down and Out in Kathmandu: Adventures in Backpacking, and Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand. I was impressed by the first book and continued to love her work. When I heard about this one, Rituals of the Dead, I was already excited to read it. Now, with all that said, I need to dive right into this story. Even when I like or love an author's work, I never have any
Janice Richardson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It isn't often one holds their breath while reading. As I finished the last chapter of Rituals of the Dead, all I could think was wow. Just wow.
In Book 3 of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson, Zelda is serving her internship at the Tropenmuseum. An upcoming display of artifacts from New Guinea leads to the discovery of skeletal remains and a diary from a wealthy explorer/collector who disappeared in the 1960's.
History comes alive in this story as Zelda photographs the diary, unearthing a story
Rosa Fedele
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another cracking novel by author Jennifer Alderson. I adored her previous art mystery, The Lover's Portrait, and was once again quickly drawn into the adventures of her naive and slightly off-beat protagonist, Zelda. Again, Alderson has researched her subject thoroughly and the technical descriptions of what actually happens at the Tropenmuseum were quite intriguing. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks to the wilds of Papua in the 60's and learned so much about the Asmat culture - I hadn't even ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 280

Publisher - Travelling Life Press

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Aldersons latest art mystery thriller, Rituals of the Dead, Book three of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series.

Art history student Zelda Richardson is working at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When his
Paula Dyches
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have listen to other books by this author and have really enjoyed them, and this one did not disappoint. She does a wonderful job keeping the mystery alive and also the story unique. The narrator does a wonderful job as well which only adds to the overall fun of this book. I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. 

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Interesting mystery crafted well within the plot, with culture and themes running throughout the narrative (and just on the right side of preachy).

Zelda decides to relocate, but she becomes embroiled with a mystery surrounding some artefacts seems to spill into the present, with a team member being murdered. The questions mount and so does the tension

The pace was good, the writing tight. The dual timeline, too, was handled well. The art, history, and suspense all blended well within the story,
ChillwithabookAWARD With
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S Alderson has received a Chill with a Book Readers' Award.

"Very interesting and thought provoking, the author clearly researched as well as using her knowledge of the Asmats and this was evident throughout the book."

Pauline Barclay
Founder of Chill with a Book Awards
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Even if I wasnt interested in anthropology, this book would have had me at the Papua New Guinea setting. Plus it was a freebie, so I checked it out. Normally I wouldnt read this (lite) sort of thing and book 2 in a series, but the description assured it can easily be read as a standalone and it did. The major thing here is that the author actually knows what shes talking about having worked as a special consultant to the very museum the story takes place in on a much similar collection of Asmat ...more
Robbie Cheadle
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Rituals of the Dead, Zelda Richardson, an American art history student living and working in Amsterdam, is again drawn into a strange mystery. Her accidental involvement in the mystery has the potential to threaten her life and the lives of selected people around her.

Zelda is working as an interim at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua. When a number of sealed crates from the early 1960s are discovered and opened in a public forum, the
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love museums and I love anthropology/archaeology, so a novel with ethnographic museum relics was delicious. The relics in this instance were New Guinea bis poles,which I had never heard of so it gave me an opportunity to look them up. Fascinating art. The museums mentioned in the book were real places, so I got to look those up as well. The book switched back and forth between 1962 New Guinea when the items were being collected and modern day Amsterdam when an exhibit was being arranged. ...more
Tara Brown
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**This review is for the audiobook on Audible.**

Jennifer S. Alderson proves to us all in her latest, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery: Adventures of Zelda Richardson, Book 3, what I had suspected all along - she is the author to keep an eye on! No joke...she IS the one your mama warned you about! Alderson is on fire, and I have a feeling, this is just the beginning. After reading and listening to another of her books, The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery, I immediately recognized that
Pamela Allegretto
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Aldersons first-hand experience and meticulous research make this well-written novel a fascinating read. Her attention to detail is bound to captivate anthropology fans. It also poses the moral question as to who owns the rights to ancient artifacts and how they should be treated. The protagonist, Zelda Richardson, is an engaging, ethical researcher that readers will easily applaud. My compliments to Jennifer Alderson for another enjoyable read. ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rituals of the Dead is an entertaining and fast paced thriller and I did read the entire novel in one sitting. What made the book even more interesting was the flashbacks to Papua and New Guinea in the sixties. The book is not "only" a thriller, it's also about cultural exploration (and exploitation).
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S. Alderson, Zelda Richardson is doing an internship at the Tropenmuseum in Netherlands, where researchers have discovered bones and other artifacts sent to Netherlands by anthropologists from the Asmat region of Papua 50 years earlier. As the researchers open the last two boxes at a public press conference, they pull out two bis poles, Asmat versions of Native American totem poles. But in one of the boxes, they discover the journal from Nick Mayfield, the ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another excellent adventure for Zelda Richardson. She is working for Amsterdam's Tropenmuseum as an intern in the Ethnology department and is assisting in the preparation of a large Asmat bis pole exhibition. The bis poles were discovered warehoused in another museum's building and had remained unopened since they were shipped from Dutch New Guinea in 1963. The Asmat region of Papua is where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When Nicholas Mayfield's journal is found inside ...more
Artefact mystery set in NETHERLANDS and PAPUA NEW GUINEA - discover the exquisite artistry of Bis Poles!

Once again we join Zelda Richardson, who gave up her job as a multimedia developer at Microsoft, to relocate to Amsterdam and study art history. She currently has an internship at the Tropenmuseum where she is assisting in setting up a forthcoming exhibition of Bis Poles.

Bis Poles are artefacts that have been made on Papua New Guinea for generations by the Asmat people, carved during a bis
( Format : Audiobook )
"Property of Nicholas Mayfield."
Zelda Richardson had secured an internship at the Tropenmuseum in the Netherlands and was present at the press worthy arrival of crates of artefacts collected years before from the head hunting, ancestor worshiping Asmat tribes of Papua before Christian missionaries put an end to their belief system, activities and, consequently, their art. The boxes had been in storage for decades and had been delivered to the museum for a forthcoming
Annemarie Groves
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What could have been difficult to manage, worked extremely well, not only dealing with an ancient historical culture, a recent historical disappearance and then a present day murder could have gotten tied up in complicated knots. Some aspects of description got a little tiring but in general the book's pace was comfortable. It threw up some interesting questions about how 'explorers' treated sections of the world/society upon discovering them, highlighting that the white west had something of an ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
It took me a while to really get into the book. I liked the time flip between present day Zelda and the past with the deceased. Had it been written more professionally, it could have been woven more intricately, so the reader/listener discovers the story when Zelda does. As its written, I learned (figured it out?) in the first chapters and was just waiting for Zelda to put two and two together.
I liked Zelda, but it seems as this is a series, shes slowly maturing and coming into her
Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S. Alderson Note: Even though this is Book 3, it works fine as a stand alone novel.
Zelda Richardson continues to stumble around the antiquities gathered in Holland, making enemies and uncovering old mysteries. I liked this story quite a bit more than Book 2 mostly because I like Zelda more. Shes grown up a bit and now comes off as perhaps 20 years old instead of 15. Shes still a bit unsure of herself and not the swiftest to catch on, but some of that can be
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Hi! I am an American expat currently living in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, I moved to Darwin, Australia, before finally settling in the Netherlands. When not writing, you can find me in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning my next research trip.

My love of travel, art, and culture inspires my

Other books in the series

Adventures of Zelda Richardson (3 books)
  • Down and Out in Kathmandu (Adventures of Zelda Richardson #1)
  • The Lover's Portrait (Adventures of Zelda Richardson #2)

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