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The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton

The Xibalba Murders (1997)

by Lyn Hamilton

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I'm almost embarrassed to log this in my reading challenge for the year but I was ill over the last few days and the only thing my brain wanted was a light mystery. I was hoping for something like Elizabeth Peters but I have to say this was quite boring; the only thing I enjoyed were the bits of history relating to Mayan belief and culture. I could have done without the liberalisms regarding the political situation of indigenous struggles but it's only to be expected in a book like this. In theory I love a good archaeological mystery but this was not a good mystery and the main character is hare-brained and humourless, so I probably would not recommend this to anyone except people who are killing time or convalescing and would prefer not to think at all over the few hours required to read this book.
  subabat | Mar 19, 2018 |
Number one in the Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery series, takes our heroine from her home in Toronto to the Yucatan peninsula. Lara’s marriage has ended and she’s lost her business, so when a former teacher and mentor calls and asks her to come to Merida, Mexico to help him with an important new discovery, she jumps at the chance. But Dr Hernan Castillo is killed before she can meet with him and now she’s a suspect in his murder. She doesn’t know whom to trust, but is certain if she can find out what Castillo had discovered she’ll solve the murder.

Every chapter began with some explanation of the relevance of the day to the Mayan calendar and Maya gods. Lara dreamed about Mayan deities and used those dreams to guide her actions. I am a fan of magical realism, but Hamilton’s efforts seemed heavy-handed. I also thought Lara behaved in a reckless manner on more than one occasion. I identified the culprit long before she did, but then the book would have been very short if she’d caught on when I did!

All in all, it was a somewhat entertaining mystery … a bit more hard-hitting than most cozies, though Lara IS an amateur sleuth. I did enjoy learning a bit more about Mayan lore. ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 29, 2017 |
Very detailed explanations of the Mayan culture, textbook at times great for the armchair traveler.

Lara who is the narrator of his story has come to Merita at the request of Don Hernan Castillo Rivas to solve a mystery relating to the ancient Mayans. He is following some archeological trail and wants to keep it secret.

Lara is not long on discretion and appearances turn her head, she is frequently TSTL or maybe just stupidly naïve. She knows nothing of the two archeologists she meets, Jonathan and Lucas, and she doesn’t seem to remember Don Hernan’s desire for secrecy.

When Don Hernan’s body is found and Lara decides she must investigate to find the killer.

This is the first book in a series of 11 archeological mysteries that Lyn Hamilton wrote before her death in 2009. There is tons of information about the Mayas included in the story and I found myself doing many computer searches to find even more info.

I am planning to read more of the series to see how the character of Lara evolves. And, to visit other archeological sites.
239 ( )
  Bettesbooks | Aug 11, 2017 |
Looking for an X book in one of my ongoing challenges, I recently picked up The Xibalba Murders. It's the first book in a series featuring Lara McClintoch, Toronto-based antiquities dealer. She has been contacted by her former mentor, Dr. Hernan Castillo, who begs her to come down and help him with a mysterious project. He disappears, but leaves behind a cryptic message “we seek what the rabbit writes”.

Lara begins an investigation but seems to be unaware of what a dangerous position she is putting herself in. There is a resurgence of guerrilla warfare in the city, which is being led by a modern group who wants to return to the days of the Mayans. She then travels into the jungle where she enters the underground ruins in search of the treasure that Dr. Castillo was looking for.

One of the most fascinating things about this book was that each chapter is named after a Mayan day. The name is explained and fascinating facts are given to explain it's meaning. What I didn't realize at first is that the author then relates each chapter to the title's meaning. She also writes many remarkable facts about the Maya culture and their detailed history, which I found quite fascinating.

The plot was mildly interesting with some unexpected twists but I felt my mind drifting off in several places and had to go back and reread a section. I didn't love the heroine and felt she was naive a lot of the time. Since this is the first book of a series that now has eleven other books, I would definitely give it another try. I learned so much about the Mayan culture, it was worth reading, in my opinion. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
What a nice start to a series. I enjoy anything archeological and mysteries, so this was an interesting read. The main character, Lara McClintoch, is a recently divorced and former owner of an Antique Store in Toronto, Canada. Amidst her new university studies, she receives a call from her old friend and former antiquities buyer, Dr. Castillo in Mexico. He wants her to help him hunt for an possible Mayan artifact, which survived burning by the Franciscans back in the 17th century. Dropping her studies Lara heads to Mexico and stays with family friends who own a small hotel. Before getting to speak with Dr. Castillo, he is found dead. Lara is determined to figure out what it was that might have gotten her friend killed. The story weaves in Mayan history, especially that of Xibalba, the Mayan land of the dead. She visits museums, small towns, and archeological digs in her search. A very interesting fast moving story. I can hardly wait to read the next in this series. However, I wish it were in hardcover, as I'm not a fan of paperbacks. ( )
  Raspberrymocha | Jul 28, 2017 |
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I am called SMOKING FROG, named for one of the greatest warriors in the annals of my people, the conqueror of Uaxactun.
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Lara McClintoch owns a Toronto antiquities store and is obsessed with finding rare artifacts. The murder of an expert in Mayan history brings Lara to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula where mysteries from the Mayan past and Mexico's present political problems lure Lara on a perilous journey.
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Childhood foes Josephina Cochrane and her cousin Marcus Wyndham find their fates inextricably linked when Josephina's father, the Earl of Chase, leaves Marcus his fortune but places Marcus' future in Josephina's hands.

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