Review; Rituals of the Dead by Jennifer S. Alderson
Description from Goodreads
Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Alderson’s 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 journals are found inside one of the bis poles, Zelda is tasked with finding out more about the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects.
Zelda is pulled into a world of shady anthropologists, headhunters, missionaries, art collectors, and smugglers – where the only certainty is that sins of the past are never fully erased.
Join Zelda as she grapples with the anthropologist’s mysterious disappearance fifty years earlier, and a present-day murderer who will do anything to prevent her from discovering the truth.
All three mysteries in the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series are stand-alone novels, yet are even more enjoyable when read in order: Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery (Book One) The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery (Book Two)
Related keywords: art theft, art crime, historical fiction, historical mystery, art history, art mystery, artifact theft, artifacts, museums, anthropology, ethnography, cultural heritage, exhibition, mystery, thriller, missionaries, archival research, suspense, crime fiction, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Leiden, Rotterdam, Papua, Dutch New Guinea.
My Thoughts on the Book
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).