Murder at Monticello

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Archeological excavations are equally valid wither they are located in the Valley of the Nile or atop Virginia’s Monticello Mountain, and its practitioners need not resemble Indiana Jones to discover artifacts of value and interest. With those two assumptions established early on, Brown dumps her legions of admirers into the midst of the latest addition to the “Harry” Haristeen chronicle. MURDER AT MONTICELLO begins, appropriately enough, with the discovery of a murder victim on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s estate.

Rick Shaw, the sheriff of Alebemarle Country, takes control of the case, although even he feels a bit ridiculous inasmuch as the crime occurred circa 1803. Still, there is no statute of limitations on murder and the investigation begins in earnest even though its unlikely anyone will ever be brought to trial. This effort at retroactive retribution, however, proves quit lethal to Kimball Haynes. Haynes, the head of archaeology at Monticello, is killed in consequence of something he discovered while trying to derive a solution to the ancient crime committed decades ago. Not only that, but the most prominent physician in the county is also subject to attack, although he does manage to survive to point the finger of suspicion in the right direction.

This is the third book in the series, and Brown is definitely hitting her stride. This combination of mystery and history with enough humor to properly leaven the mixture will delight old fans and intrigue those newly introduced to the author and her work. More importantly, Brown is willing to let her characters change and evolve as real persons might.