By: Roy Lewis
Carroll & Graf, New York
Last month I wrote of an archaeological mystery
series –the Gideon Oliver series by Aaron Elkins –that has been a
favorite of mine for well over a decade.
This month I would like to introduce readers to a series that I
just discovered this past fall. I
had been introduced to an on-line e-book entitled Archaeology in
Faction: An Annotated
Bibliography, by Anita Cohen-Williams (June 2001) that included a
number of titles in the “Arnold Landon Mystery Series, by author Roy
Lewis. I found only one of
them presently available from a U.S. publishing house, ordered it from
Amazon.com and waited for this new arrival.
I must say that I was charmed by Dead Secret.
It’s a clever, erudite mystery set in the Northumberland area
of England. Arnold Landon
(can there be a more British name for a hero?) is an archaeologist who
works for the Department of Museums and Antiquities and in Dead
Secret is thrust into the midst of a mystery involving the
conflicting interests of archaeologists who wish to study the
prehistoric and perfectly preserved bog body known as the “Wolf
Man,” the landowner who wishes nothing more than his privacy,
unscrupulous land developers and a cadre of self-styled eco-terrorists.
The conflict escalates until murder is committed and committed
The portrayal of archaeological fieldwork is very
accurate, the description of internecine politics among and between
government archaeologists is often hilarious, the characters including
the alleged bad guys) are engaging, and mystery plot itself is
convoluted enough to keep the reader interested.
Apparently Roy Lewis has been writing Arnold Landon
mysteries for a long time, but they the relatively few published in the
United States, other than Dead Secret, are out of print and many
have been published only in the UK.
I hope Dead Secret sells well enough that Carroll &
Graf will continue to publish new editions as they are written, and
perhaps even re-print some past editions.
This is one reviewer who would certainly enjoy reading the likes
of The Cross Bearer and Bloodeagle – two Arnold Langdon
mysteries from the mid 1990s!
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