Oregon's anthropologist-sleuth Gideon Oliver (A Glancing Light, p. 566, etc.) and his park-ranger wife Julie are attending a conference of anthropologists at Whitebark Lodge, where ten years before Professor Albert Evan Jasper, undisputed top dog in the field, died in a fiery bus crash, at the end of another conference and amid rather mysterious circumstances. Several of the participants in that meeting are once again at Whitebark--one of them is Associate Professor Harlow Pollard, whose bludgeoned body is found in his cottage--the climax of a series of strange events seemingly tied to the past. Gideon cleverly solves the crucial element in that murder--the liveliest part of a sluggish story heavily laden with technical lore, all too rarely lightened with the author's finely honed sense of humor. Fans may be just a tad disappointed--for others, an unrewarding slog.