The Xibalba Murders, by Lyn Hamilton

The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton: Book CoverFinished 9-4-09, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub.1997

Book 1 of An Archaeological Mystery series

“I cannot tell you more about it right now, but I can assure you that it is – – what is that American expression? — right up your alley, and that it will interest and possibly even excite you?”

“You’ll have to tell me more than that!”  I laughed.

“This is not a subject for discussion over the telephone,” he replied.  “The risk is too great.”

And then, perhaps fearing I wouldn’t come on the strength of so little information, he relented a little.

“I will give you a hint, then, since you are a student of the Maya.  We seek what the rabbit writes.” And that was all he would say.

It was a ludicrous request, so of course I went.

IMIX chapter

Lara McClintoch is fresh off a bad divorce that left her jobless and a student once again.  An old friend and museum expert on the Maya, Dr. Hernan Castillo, asks her to fly down from Toronto to Merida, Mexico, to aid him in a new project.  She jumps at the chance to work with him and visit old family friends in the city and is soon in Merida.  Only Dr. Castillo is nowhere to be found and Lara finds his dead body, casting suspicion on her in his murder.  With her passport confiscated, Lara thinks the only way to clear herself is to find the killer.  Instead she finds another dead body and is now under house arrest. 

This is mystery is heavy into the Mayan history and the current struggles of the people trying to retain their culture.  It was a little too detailed for my taste, but I did appreciate learning more about a culture I know little about.  The mystery was very good.  Although I suspected who might be behind the murders I did not know for sure and there were enough suspects to keep me guessing.

Lara was an interesting main character and this is the first in a series of archaeological mysteries that take her all over the world.  I wouldn’t mind reading the next in the series, but I won’t be rushing out to get it.