Friday, April 20, 2012

The Inquisitor’s Key-Jefferson Bass

The Inquisitor’s Key

Jefferson Bass

Morrow, May 8 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780061806797

Miranda Lovelady is in France excavating a recently discovered chamber beneath the Palace of the Popes in Avignon. She finds a stone chest inscribed with the message that inside lie the bones of Jesus of Nazareth. Using a ploy, she gets her lover and teacher Dr. Bill Brockton to leave his Tennessee Body Farm for France. The two forensic scientists believe that in all likelihood, these remains are a fake, as Chaucer pointed out with The Pardoner’s Tale, the Middle Ages had a thriving business.

To their amazement, the early analysis supports the stone’s claim that this is the remains of Jesus or at least someone who died in a similar fashion two millennia ago. Brockton also analyzes the Shroud of Turin. However, killers try to murder the pair while a true believer wants the bones as a means to begin the End of Time with the Second Coming.

Putting aside how Lovelady got Brocton to drop an autopsy to rush to Europe aside as improbable unless she was insane, the latest Body Farm forensic thriller (see The Bone Thief and The Bone Yard) is an exhilarating entry that focuses on the potential remains of Jesus. When the storyline centers on the science and Christian history, it is incredibly well written and fascinating; when the plot turns into a shoot en up action thriller it is exciting but ordinary. Still fans will appreciate Brockton examining the Shroud and looking at two thousand year old remains.

Harriet Klausner

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