Publisher: Echo Publishing / Bonnier Publishing Australia

Publication date: 1 November 2016

Page count: 261 pages

I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review and all opinions are my own.

Publisher Synopsis:

Dr Elizabeth Pimms has a new puzzle.

What is the story behind the tiny skeletons discovered on a Guatemalan island? And how do they relate to an ancient Mayan queen?

The bones, along with other remains, are a gift for Elizabeth. But soon the giver reveals his true nature. An enraged colleague then questions Elizabeth’s family history. Elizabeth seeks DNA evidence to put all skeletons to rest.

A pregnant enemy, a crystal skull, a New York foodie, and an intruder in Elizabeth’s phrenic library variously aid or interrupt Elizabeth’s attempts to solve mysteries both ancient and personal.

With archaeological intrigue, forensic insight and cosy comfort, Mayan Mendacity takes readers back into the world of Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.

This is the second in the Dr. Elizabeth Pimms, inter millennial sleuth series and picks up shortly after the end of Olmec Obituary. This book probably would stand alone but I think it would be well worth reading the first in the series before this one. Elizabeth faces more emotional turmoil and personal mysteries in this book though she handles it all with increasing strength and maturity and ultimately works through to be in a more positive place in her life by the end.

She also finds herself in the thick of another ancient mystery through her volunteer archaeological work. The set of human remains she is asked to evaluate is much larger than that in the first volunteer project she undertook in book one with sixty-four skeletons, considerable further bones and other artefacts to assess this time and only one day a week to do it.

Princess Six Sky was Princess of Mutul in 675 AD and appears to be the key to understanding the remains Elizabeth is examining from Guatemala in the 21st century. This seems to have been a rather gruesome and barbaric time in Mesoamerican history.

The interesting concept of the phrenic library was developed further in this book. Initially, it reminded me of Sherlock Holmes’ mind palace as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC’s ‘Sherlock’ but Owen has taken it much further than that. The phrenic library became a tool for pattern connection and mystery solving though it did itself became more mysterious.

This was another intelligent and fascinating mystery and, as with Olmec Obituary, I enjoyed the dual aspect of the novel. As I had hoped the characters and Elizabeth’s relationships developed from the seeds sewn in the first book. I am looking forward to the next in the series and rather impatiently given the nature of the ending!