Forensic anthropologist, Gideon Oliver, and his wife Julie are attending a conference on forensics in Spain. Their friend John, an FBI agent is also attending. Gideon is feeling bored when Rafe Carlisle, also a conference attendee, presents him with an interesting problem.
Rafe's father was killed. The remains of his skeleton and that of another man were found in the tar pit on Rafe's property. There were very few bones making identification difficult so the bones sat in a cardboard box in Rafe's garage for years. Gideon is intrigued by the problem and agrees to go to Jersey to see the bones first hand. John is also fascinated and agrees to come along.
The first chapters of the book lay out the background of the mystery. During WWII the British government virtually abandoned the Channel Islands to the Nazis. The islanders suffered horribly. Those who could escaped to Britain before the Nazis arrived, or sent their children. This is what happened to Rafe's father and his cousin.
I thought the first chapters were interesting. I knew about the Nazis taking over the Channel Islands, but the chapters bring the horror of it to life. The only quibble I have is that the setup for they mystery takes up the first five chapters which is a fair portion of the book. It's only in chapter six that Gideon appears. From then on, the focus of the book is on the forensic investigation. The history pretty much hangs in abeyance until the end.
The thing I enjoyed most about the book was the use of obscure scientific facts to help solve the mystery. It was very clever. If you enjoy cozy mysteries. This is an interesting one.
I received this book from Net Galley for this review.