FINALITIES, A Mattie James mystery, published, copyright and written by M. A. R. Unger.
The story opens with Matti arriving at London’s Gatwick Airport accompanied by Joe Chauncey, her occasional love interest and former CIA operative with many clandestine operations in his past. She, as a forensic facial reconstruction expert of some reputation working from the coroner’s office in Las Vegas, has been assigned along with another from England, to attempt to discover the identities of 3 soldiers found recently in an unusual shallow grave in Oxfordshire near an old Roman site. The three are believed to be American soldiers from the 1940’s when Americans were there preparing for the invasion of France. Unfortunately, only some dog tags eventually were discovered and these were bundled together shoved down the throat of one corpse. For undisclosed but supposedly cogent reasons both countries’ defense departments desired all activity to be performed with as little attention as possible. Matti, in her apparently usual manner, digs deeper into the mystery beyond doing her assigned job and becomes an object to be destroyed because desperate family members must keep unsavory activity from being revealed. Action shifts between Oxsfordshire and Las Vegas, USA where members of the family now are wealthy film makers with few scruples and with connections to a powerful mob boss of Matti’s acquaintance now have become active players. Other prominent characters include a retired army major, Gregory Reynolds, along with Matti’s assumedly long-standing wealthy friend Linda and her ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby – the spirit of a dead person still not having left earth for the beyond. The plot eventually terminates in a satisfactory manner.
Discussion/Summary: This sixth book in this mystery series is a well-written, interesting story with a quite unusual plot and provision of details of some lesser known forensic investigative techniques. Helpful bits of information also are gained at most appropriate times from Matti’s ‘inbetweener’ friend Abby. Parenthetically, Abby’s help amusingly brings to mind an inclusion many years ago in a science journal that often included cartoons and other amusing bits. One was of a young researcher had placed a long complicated formula on the blackboard as solution to a difficult scientific problem. An older mentor, points to a section in parentheses that had been included in the center of the formula and says “I believe we need a little further explanation here.” The section pointed to read “here a miracle happens”.
5* Interesting and often amusing mystery suspense thriller.