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by Christine Gentry
Poisoned Pen Press, August 2003
300 pages
ISBN: 1590580486

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Anselette Phoenix, the half Blackfoot paleoartist, who earns her living illustrating articles about dinosaurs is taking a group of students on a fossil hunting expedition in the Hell Creek formation on a ranch in Big Toe Montana. Soil gives way and the body of Nick Capos , paleobotanist, is revealed.

The Pangaea Society, a paleontology organization, is waiting for a $300,000 grant in order to be able to build their Center. Nick had been a member an d at least one other member is afraid that the heirs of the donor will not allow the society to inherit if it is involved in a scandal.

Nick's widow asks Ansel to evaluate his fossil collection, with a view to selling it. But when Ansel gets to the apartment, instead of a collection of rare botanical specimens, she finds only a few lumps of Baltic amber. What happened to Nick's valuable collection and when did he become intersted in amber?

For the most part, this is an uninspired cozy filled with stock characters. The protagonist's background and profession are more interesting than most, as is the setting. So far, Ansel hasn't fallen for the policeman, Lt. Reid Dorbrandt, but let's see what happens in the next book. Dinosaurs have always been a draw for me, so I will give this author another try.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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