Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Olmec Obituary

Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen
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‘Pinpoints of light studded the inky sky, taunting Dr Elizabeth Pimms with their stubborn persistence.’

Doctor Elizabeth Pimms, aged 26, is an archaeologist with the job of her dreams in Egypt. Then life intervenes, and she is forced to leave this job and her boyfriend and return to Australia, to take up a job as a librarian in Canberra to support her siblings and grandparents.

Shortly after returning to Canberra, Elizabeth is approached by a former colleague. Apparently a royal Olmec cemetery has been discovered, deep in the Mexican jungle. This cemetery apparently also contains the earliest writing in the Americas. Elizabeth is invited to join the team to undertake skeletal analysis (fortunately located in Canberra), and is very excited about this.

But Elizabeth quickly finds some contradictions in the evidence, and this brings her into conflict with the team’s director. And she has some challenges at home as well.

The novel shifts between Elizabeth in the present, and some Olmec people in 1231 BCE. How did these Olmec people die? Will Elizabeth be able to find a cause of death? Will she be able to make sense of the discrepancies in the evidence?

This novel didn’t completely work for me. There are two reasons for this. Initially, I did not much care for Elizabeth. Secondly, I had some difficulties with the team (especially the director) established to do the skeletal analysis in Canberra. I can’t write more about this without introducing spoilers. While I found the story interesting, it didn’t completely hold my attention.
Yet I’m intrigued, and I’m hoping that Ms Owen further develops a number of the characters. Will I keep reading? Yes, I’m keen to read the next book to see how Ms Owen develops the character of Elizabeth and her role as ‘Intermillennial Sleuth’. I think that the series has potential.

This is Ms Owen’s first novel, and I understand that eight more novels are planned, in a series entitled ‘Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth’.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Reading Progress

February 18, 2016 – Started Reading
February 18, 2016 – Shelved
February 18, 2016 – Shelved as: australian-womens-writers-challenge
February 21, 2016 – Finished Reading

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