Rituals of the Dead

Rituals of the Dead : An Artifact Mystery

3.94 (414 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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A museum researcher must solve a decades-old mystery before she becomes the killer's next victim in this riveting dual timeline thriller set in Papua and the Netherlands.

Agats, Dutch New Guinea (Papua), 1961: While collecting Asmat artifacts for a New York museum, American anthropologist Nick Mayfield stumbles upon a smuggling ring organized by high-ranking members of the Dutch colonial government and the Catholic Church. Before he can alert the authorities, he vanishes in a mangrove swamp, never to be seen again.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2018: While preparing for an exhibition of Asmat artifacts in a Dutch ethnographic museum, researcher Zelda Richardson finds Nick Mayfield's journal in a long-forgotten crate. Before Zelda can finish reading the journal, her housemate is brutally murdered and 'Give back what is not yours' is scrawled on their living room wall.

Someone wants ancient history to stay that way--and believes murder is the surest way to keep the past buried. Can she solve a sixty-year-old mystery before decades of deceit, greed, and retribution cost Zelda her life? Awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion by indieBRAG's readers in December 2018 One of Amy's Bookshelf Reviews' Top 20 Books of 2018 Winner of a Chill with a Book Readers' Award, June 2018 A Women Writers, Women's Books magazine's Recommended Reads for March 2018 New Apple's 2018 Summer Book Awards, Official Selection Mystery/Thriller category BookLife Prize for Fiction 2018, Mystery/Thriller category, rating 8.50

Art, religion, and history collide in this edge-of-your-seat museum thriller, Book Two of the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15mm | 376g
  • English
  • 9083001121
  • 9789083001128
  • 2,000,103

Review quote

"This multilayered story deftly transitions from past to present and across world cultures to explore a confounding mystery. Alderson successfully weaves diverse elements into her plot, while maintaining tension and forward momentum throughout... Alderson's focus on anthropology and the ways in which the past permeates the present, is fresh and engrossing... Alderson successfully develops a large cast of nuanced characters, including adversaries. Readers will root for the smart and accomplished heroine of the story." - BookLife Prize for Fiction 2018

"You will be on the edge of your seat wondering if Zelda will take one risk too many as well as wishing to discover what actually happened to Nicholas Mayfield. A thoroughly good read." - Lizanne Lloyd of Lost in a Good Book book blog

"This is an enjoyable and easy to read story of artefact collectors, with mystery and culture playing an important part." - TripFiction

"I enjoyed every single line of the book, but my favourite parts were the flashbacks where the author offers a glimpse of a culture that I know very little about. The chapters set in Papua and New Guinea, the insights into the life and rituals of the Asmat people are, in my opinion, priceless." - mystery author Dora Ilieva
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Rating details

414 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 34% (142)
4 36% (149)
3 21% (89)
2 6% (24)
1 2% (10)
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