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Curses! (Gideon Oliver, #5)
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Curses! (Gideon Oliver #5)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  881 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Mayan ruins in the Yucatan...a secret room in a ancient skeleton. To Gideon Oliver, anthropologist, this archaeological find is paradise on earth. He and his wife, Julie, have joined his old mentor, Abe Goldstein, at Tlaloc, Mexico, to make sure there are no dirty doings at the dig. Five years before scandal rocked the site when a colleageue ran off with a pricel ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published April 8th 1993 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1989)
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Kamas Kirian
Awesome little story about murder at an archaeology dig in the Yucatan Peninsula. I really loved this one. I'm possibly biased having wanted to be an archaeologist at one time and studied anthropology for a time in college. I even got to see some Mayan ruins on a trip to Belize back in '08. So yeah, I guess I'm a bit biased. Sue me.


I love the interactions between Gideon and Abe. And I liked the police inspector as well. Most of the characters weren't very deep though. The ending was no great sur
Christine Cody
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
For some reason, I didn't remember reading this book until (of course) I reached the climactic scenes. Alas. But it is good enough book that it was definitely just as enjoyable the second time around. What surprises me is that the fifth book of this series was the earliest I could find (although I believe earlier ones are available on Kindle). They certainly are better than their lack of availability would indicate. The main character of these books is a forensic anthropologist, an expert partic ...more
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Haven't read one of this series for quite awhile, don't know why I waited. This book grabbed me from the beginning and of course I had to stay up late to finish. 4 stars
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, 1992
Gideon and Julie on a Central American dig. Murder and a missing codex...better than Murder in the Queen's Armes, but still not as good as The Dark Place.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dependable series that I enjoy rereading.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
another good one in the series.
Mal Warwick
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now 41 years of age and happily married for two years, Gideon Oliver is a tenured professor of physical anthropology at a university near Seattle. He is known far and wide as “the Skeleton Doctor” for his work in forensic anthropology with the FBI. As Curses! opens, Gideon is between terms and feeling restless. He has been imprisoned behind his desk for far too long, writing academic papers that practically nobody will ever read. Then he receives a call from his onetime professor and ongoing men ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Elkins takes the readers on yet another international adventure with Dr. Gideon, this time down to Mexico. When invited to work on a dig by his long-time mentor, Gideon and his wife rush down to Mexico to work on excavating the ruins of a temple and its inhabitants. Mystery surrounds the site, as one of the previous workers is said to have stolen an important codex and simply disappeared years before. When Gideon is attacked and a letter warning him to leave does not do the trick, the 'gods' beg ...more
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Back to the Skeleton Doctor we go. This one follows Gideon and his wife to the Yucatan area where Gideon's mentor is running a dig. This site was originally worked five years earlier but closed down because a valuable artifact was stolen by one of the archaeologists.

Soon after Gideon arrives, an ancient curse is deciphered which threatens anyone working in the area, and things begin to happen that seem to fulfill the curse. It's not until someone is murdered that the pieces of the puzzle begin t
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This is another in the series of stories about Gideon Oliver, The Skeleton Detective. I hadn’t realized it but this series of books was actually made into a TV series in the late 1980’s. The show only ran for 5 episodes.
In this book we are treated to a visit to a Mayan ruin called Tlaloc, in the Yucatan. When Gideon is on site checking out a skeleton that was discovered there, a series of curses seem to come true, one of which results in a man’s murder. Gideon uses his skills as a bone detectiv
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Curses! by Aaron Elkins.

Gideon Oliver receives a call from his old mentor, Abe Goldstein. Abe is in the Yucatan Peninsula at an archeological site they had unearthed together in 1982. It seems Abe and his team of Mayans have uncovered a skeleton at Tlaloc. Gideon's assistance is urgently required for identification of that skeleton by Abe.
Gideon and Julie are on the first plane out of Washington State headed to the Yucatan and on to their new adventure.

This story ties in with a former adventure
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it; am reading the series in order. The section towards the end about where Gideon went into the workroom where each anthropologist had a cubby hole and what he found in his cubby I thought a bit drawn out and fount it unbelievable about how such a smart, knowledgeable man, experienced in whatever the "dig" environment could happen, could be so blind to what was happening. Gideon seemed foolish to me as he had many opportunities to change things during that drawn out scene...Otherwise I ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoy Aaron Elkins books like I enjoy Diet Coke, I don't expect it to nuture my body or soul but I love every swallow of it anyway. This book was no different, the mystery wasn't tremendously mysterious but the ups and downs of getting to the conclusion made me turn pages as fast as I could. I remember Agatha Christie's Miss Marple say once that it was the stupid killers that got caught and this book proves that. All that work and mayhem for a piece of highly circumstantial evidence that any d ...more
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Gideon Oliver gets invited back to a dig on the Yucatan Peninsula that he was involved with 5 years before. The dig supervisor at the time ran off with a priceless Mayan codex and the dig was shut down. Now Gideon's friend Abe Lewis is in charge on the dig when a Mayan curse is found and it seems to be coming true. Not as much forensic anthropology as some books in the series but still a lot of fun.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick easy read - I loved it!
It is a mystery about Mayan curses :) cool
The main character, Giddeon, is a skeleton expert and is called in to an excavation site to help with an ancient skeleton. But - it seems that he was at that site several years proviously when a Myaan codex wwas discovered - and stolen. The old mystery comes together with the current excavation and Mayan curses start coming true !
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I understand the attraction of Mexico when living in the perpetual drip of the Northwest. I might be a little less hardy when it comes to surviving the many traumas Oliver goes through in this Yucatan Tlaloc dig. I'd be happier in the hotel courtyard with Julie. But this tale makes a good read while its raining.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
#5 in the anthropology professor and recognized bones specialist Gideon Oliver mystery series. Oliver is asked to return to a Maya excavation in Yucatan that he was involved with 5 years earlier and had been shut down because of a valuable thief. He and others at the site become involved with curses and other life threatening events as they continue the site excavation.
Dana Phillips
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read for bedtime

Easy reading when it's time to wind down and relax into the mystical world of mystery where you can forget your own troubles and enjoy getting to know this likable version of Indiana Jones.
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this on my vacation to Cancun! How perfect. Some of the action takes place at Chichen Itza and having seen the ruins for the first time made the book come to life for me. I certainly enjoyed the solution of the mystery and did not catch on until it was fully explained. Satisfying.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
I found this to be an easy read. The Mayan mythology was nicely incorporated into this murder mystery. I am a fan of the skeleton detective although there wasnt as mush focus on his skeleton skills in this book as others it was still enjoyable.
Larry Piper
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
My spouse gave me this book to read so as to prepare me for our trip to Chichén Itzá. I had read it before. It's an engaging book and has some interesting background on the Maya and the Chichén Itzá site, which for the most part, seems to be relatively accurate.
Linda Gaines
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Not as good as books set in the Pacific Northwest, this one is of a dig in Mexico.
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cypresslibrary
I subbed the forensics class yesterday. I should bring in more books by Elkins and Reichs for the students, it might enthuse them.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Gideon Oliver, archaeologist, goes into field in Yucatan Peninsula to reopen a dig.
Not bad.
Ancient Mayan curse taking place.
Nov 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of mystery & forensics
Gideon Oliver in Yucatan at an archaeological dig.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable episode in the life of the Skeleton Doctor. This one takes place on the Yucatan Peninsula. Quick read, good escapist story.
Feb 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Elkins' mysteries are clever and enjoyable with interesting settings.
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. A little different than the rest, not as many bodies to look at.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joni by: amazon
Shelves: crime, series
Very much enjoyed the mystery, scenery and odd people in this one.

Loved that I had in fact not figued out who did it.
Apr 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Exciting and educational like all books in the series. This one has a bit of humor too; the reading of the curse made me laugh out loud.
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Aaron J. Elkins AKA Aaron Elkins (born Brooklyn July 24, 1935) is an American mystery writer. He is best known for his series of novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver—the 'skeleton detective'. The fourth Oliver book, Old Bones, received the 1988 Edgar Award for Best Novel. As Oliver is a world-renowned authority, he travels around the world and each book is set in a different and ...more
More about Aaron Elkins...

Other Books in the Series

Gideon Oliver (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Fellowship of Fear (Gideon Oliver, #1)
  • The Dark Place (Gideon Oliver, #2)
  • Murder in the Queen's Armes (Gideon Oliver, #3)
  • Old Bones (Gideon Oliver, #4)
  • Icy Clutches (Gideon Oliver, #6)
  • Make No Bones (Gideon Oliver, #7)
  • Dead Men's Hearts (Gideon Oliver, #8)
  • Twenty Blue Devils (Gideon Oliver, #9)
  • Skeleton Dance (Gideon Oliver, #10)
  • Good Blood (Gideon Oliver, #11)