Twenty Blue Devils
Author: Aaron Elkins
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Release Date: November 01, 1997
The dead man is the manager of Tahiti's Paradise Coffee plantation, producer of the most expensive coffee bean in the world - the winey, luscious Blue Devil. His fall from a cliff is the latest accident in a string of mishaps, and although nothing tangible points to foul play, FBI agent John Lau has his suspicions. What he needs is evidence - and the best forensic expert in the business, his friend anthropologist Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective. Gideon likes his java strong and his bones ancient, dry, and dusty. But the body he must examine had lain in the tropical sun for a week before it was found, and then buried native-style, without a casket. If this case is not exactly Gideon's cup of...well, tea, it is not the state of the remains that bothers him. It's the real human ugliness he suspects he'll soon unearth. To make matters worse, Gideon finds trouble in paradise: a most unwelcoming local police commandant, a strange reluctance by the Blue Devil owners to uncover any wrong-doing, and the lack of an exhumation order. Sneaking into a graveyard with a shovel and flashlight isn't his idea of a professional analysis. And what he finds six feet under will prove the ultimate test of his skills: a subtle clue that points to foul play, and bones so puzzling that they have Gideon stumped...for a while. Now Gideon must cut to the heart of a crime to find the motive that may have percolated through a family for decades - and brewed a taste for murder.