When a body is discovered, via anonymous tip and openly displayed in a marsh near LA, the strangest thing about it is the missing right hand. Shortly thereafter, three other bodies are discovered—also missing hands.
Then a man who goes to auctions for the contents of storage units finds a carved box containing small bones. Polished bones, like a treasure. The bones turn out to be human hands.
Detective Milo Sturgis and his sidekicks, along with Dr. Alex Delaware, the psychologist who frequently consults for the LAPD, all team up to search for what now appears to be a very disturbed killer.
Almost immediately, the first victim’s connection to a wealthy family, whose musical prodigy child is a student of hers, leads to the pursuit of the caretaker, who has gone missing. Or is he hiding?
Most of the fun in the story is following the clues as the assorted team of “detectives” pursues the connections and where they lead.
Like most of Kellerman’s Alex Delaware stories, this one is told with Alex as the first-person narrator—this technique lends itself to understanding how his clever mind works, as he sorts through the clues and speculates about the possibilities. We also are privy to a bird’s eye view of his personal life, including his long term relationship with Robin.
These segues into the lighter moments of Alex’s life, including his friendship with Milo Sturgis, help to lighten what could otherwise be a very grim tale.
And not at all surprising is the final revelation as to the motives and nature of the perpetrator/s—after all, the art of misdirection has been at play throughout the circuitous path to resolution.
Bones (Alex Delaware, No. 23) is a must-read for Kellerman fans.