Archaeologists, tourists, and murder victims converge on isolated Easter Island.
When Lara McClintoch’s best friend Moira comes out of surgery, she fashions a Life List of things to do before it’s too late. Heading the list is a visit to Easter Island, 2,500 miles off the coast of Chile and site of hundreds of monolithic stone sculptures. Lara leaves her Toronto antique shop in the hands of her ex-husband Clive, who’s romantically involved with Moira, and the ladies arrive on Rapa Nui just in time to crash the First Annual Rapa Nui Moai Congress. Conference participants are divided into those like Jasper Robinson who think the island was settled by South Americans and those like Gordon Fairweather who believe Polynesians settled it. On hand to record their mutual hostility are Kent Clarke and her film crew. First to die is Dave Maddox, then Jasper, then Seth Connelly. While cops flown in from Chile try to sort out the murders and find the missing rongorongo tablet Jasper flamboyantly presented at his final lecture, Lara e-mails clues to her boyfriend Rob, a Canadian Mountie, helps Gordon evade capture, and tries to discover why Gabriela, a pretty young hotel waitress, has fallen into a coma.
Readers will be so mesmerized by Rapa Nui they’ll probably add it to their own Life Lists. Hamilton (The Thai Amulet, 2003, etc.) makes an excellent tour guide, even if she packs too much baggage into her mystery.