imageThe promo folks are busy. The Inquisitor’s Key by Jefferson Bass arriving from William Morrow on May 8, 2012, is being talked about (Hardcover, Enlarged Print and Kindle).

This is the eighth or ninth book in a popular mystery series known as the Body Farm Mysteries by the team of authors, Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, hence the pen name Jefferson Bass.

This description, shamelessly being copied into blogs seems to come from the keyboard of book reviewer Harriet Klausner. There is more here than in the publisher’s description:

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.

Bill Bass is a forensic anthropologist who founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility, known as the Body Farm. He is a friend of Emily A. Craig and hints in other promo material that Craig’s “dust transfer” technique was how a medieval artist might have created the image on the shroud. Remember Dan Brown. People believe novels.