Read Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews Online


The Top End of Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths.  It’s a strange place to choose to end one’s life, but that is what Dinah Pelerin’s wealthy American uncle has done.  Dying of cancer, he has summoned his entire family – current wife, ex-wife, assorted children and niece – to a remote, comfortless lodge where he intThe Top End of Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths.  It’s a strange place to choose to end one’s life, but that is what Dinah Pelerin’s wealthy American uncle has done.  Dying of cancer, he has summoned his entire family – current wife, ex-wife, assorted children and niece – to a remote, comfortless lodge where he intends to rewrite his will and commit suicide with the aid of a rogue Australian physician with whom he shares a mysterious history.Dinah sees this time with her uncle as a last chance to learn the truth about her father, who died during the commission of a felony when she was a child.  But when she arrives, she discovers that the truth has more and darker ramifications than she’d bargained on.  Her artist brother thinks he’s possessed by the spirit of snake god who is moving his hand metaphysically across the canvas; her uncle, who isn’t really her uncle, is obsessed by a woman he married but could never possess; the rest of the family is seething with resentments; and a man none of them claims to know is murdered on a nearby island, impaled on the back of a sea turtle. A wannabe anthropologist with a passion for mythology, Dinah tries to sort out the complicated song lines of her own ancestors while struggling to understand Dreamtime and solve not one, but two bizarre murders.  The Aboriginal concept of payback law takes on a terrible new meaning. ...

Title : Bones of Contention
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590587300
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 250 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bones of Contention Reviews

  • Trish
    2019-02-26 03:42

    I gave this a try--audio, then paper copy. Matthews tries to keep the laughs-a-minute going but it becomes unbearable. Too many asides and innuendos...I was exhausted waiting for something to actually happen. Well past 100 pages into it, I found even the Australian part of it was corrupted with attempts at humor. I noticed on the new site, which is an audio download company, that the Poisoned Pen Press generally publishes cutsey cozies that I am not usually interested in reading. I just got off on the wrong track here, though I did try to figure out if it was the reading I didn't like. It wasn't. The reader gave a faithful rendition of the writing.

  • Charlie
    2019-02-23 00:57

    This story reads like a whodunit murder mystery reminiscent of the television series, Murder She Wrote sprinkled with a dash of Agatha Christie and mixed with a pinch of Perry Mason. The humor is superb and the insertion of the main character’s thoughts about what would be scribed on her headstone is insightful and hilarious. If you’re a fan of those series, then this will be an enjoyable, fun read for you. I loved the lingo and character development. The cast is vast, but each is unique and easily followed. To make this a classic murrrddahhh all it needs is a storm followed by a dead phone line and power outage. The story might seem a bit unbelievable, but given the setting, the land of “Oz,” it supplies a nice thematic quality and makes it easy to swallow. Strange things happen in strange lands. Isn’t that part of the mystique?I cut out half of the ‘synopsis’ because by the time a person reads it, they probably don’t need to read the book. It gives too much away. The murder on the island is a cloak used to cast off the real happenings and is neatly tied in towards the end for relevancy, but is not the focal point and because of this, becomes anti-climax. It can’t hold the weight it’s originally given. There are several other irrelevant details provided along the way for back story or plot diversion. Dinah should lose the boyfriend in the beginning, middle and mentioning at the end. He is useless from the get go and a detail that went no where and has little impact on the overall outcome of the story. At times, the main character seems silly or ridiculous, even childlike. She has too much baggage for one female role on the move to tote.

  • Ivyd
    2019-03-15 05:53

    Dinah has received a call from Uncle Cleon, her half-brothers father. He’s dying and has chosen to commit assisted suicide. He really wants to see her before he meets his maker. All the family, with the exception of her mother, has agreed to come to Australia. What a menagerie it is too. Dinah hops the first plane outta town to join the melee. Admittedly she has ulterior motives. She loves Uncle Cleon, no doubt, but she also just quit her job, caught her lover in flagrante with a redhead, and she’s hoping for some answers about her father. As Uncle Cleon manipulates, antagonizes, and adds a newfound son/heir to the mix a murder occurs. Why was this person killed? Red herrings and tangents abound in this fast paced, witty and overall delightful twist on a cozy.Brilliant debut! BONES OF CONTENTION is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Instead of going on ad nauseum, which I could, I'll try to be concise.1.Excellently plotted and executed mystery.2.Vibrant, memorable, well fleshed characters. Adored Jacko.3.Intelligent and interesting descriptive writing.4.Witty, occasionally snarky (loved it) dialog.5.A devilish mess of a heroine, in the Southern sense of the word mess, Dinah is pure delight.6. Overall, just plain good writing.I sussed out pieces of the puzzle but not all and wasn't expecting the way it ended. I'm in a tizzy of anticipation awaiting Dinah's next adventure. I intend to be one of the first in line to join her. Ms. Matthews is on my auto-buy list and I truly hope she writes quickly.I received this book via NetGalley

  • Lee
    2019-02-24 07:44

    This is a terrible book that I did not even think worth finishing. Too many boring characters, mostly poorly developed. I will not even bother with any of the many others in the series. I thought perhaps the setting in Australia would provide interest, but even that fails totally.

  • Laura
    2019-03-10 07:51

    audioThe reader is (I think the same person who reads for Patricia Cornwell...Kay Scarpetta).The characters have zero redeeming qualities. It is a sad sad attempt.

  • Liz
    2019-02-23 23:48

    An interesting mystery, with a protagonist who does some hare-brained things. Most of the characters are unlikable (not a problem) and they are quite the dysfunctional family.

  • Zina McCrory
    2019-03-01 06:32

    Keep me guessing

  • Julie Akeman
    2019-03-24 07:54

    This was one mystery twisted to hell, I love it. A worthy read.

  • Susan Ideus
    2019-03-12 02:45

    Set in Australia, this is a fast-paced, multi-layered novel of intrigue, family ties and family secrets, complete with mystery, murder and enough plot twists to make one dizzy.Dinah Pellerin, a down-on-her luck young woman, fresh from the betrayal of her current lover, a Seattle cop, finds herself suddenly on the way to Australia at the behest of her “Uncle” Cleon who purports to be dying. She hitches a ride to from Darwin to Katherine with Jacko, a strange pilot who tries to befriend her, but she’s having none of it. Cleon has called a meeting of the clan so that he can be surrounded by those important to him in his last days. He knows it will be his last days, as he has arranged for an assisted suicide at a secluded lodge in Katherine. Now, Cleon is not her uncle, though he was married to her mother at one point, but he’s not her father either—although he does know the secrets surrounding the death of her father, details of which she’s never been able to pry from her mother. And that’s just the beginning of the familial confusion.The assemblage in Katherine include not only Dinah, but her brother, his partner, one of Cleon’s former wives, their son, his current wife and their offspring—two horrid adolescents—and various other members of the household staff as well as the doctor who will hasten Cleon’s demise. No one really likes or trusts anyone else and the tensions run high in the secluded house.Before Cleon’s suicide can be accomplished, the good doctor is found dead—murdered perhaps? Why? Is Cleon the real target? Are the sibs and wives worried about rumored changes to Cleon’s will? Worried enough to kill? Enter the local police, headed up by none other than Jacko, the friendly pilot. He senses that Dinah knows more than she’s telling, and for her part, she’s convinced she can solve the mystery on her own. Will he be able to keep her safe?Matthews tells a good yarn, though there are so many sub-plots, and the story so fast tempoed that it takes some concentration to keep them all straight. Her inclusion of Aboriginal myth, the Strine dialect, and art treasures indicate a good bit of background study and add depth to the tale. Clues are scattered throughout with abandon and I found myself referring back to earlier chapters to make sure I had it all set in my mind. Who said what, when and to whom become very crucial to the outcome. What is truth, what is inferred and who can be trusted?All in all, it was an enjoyable read, and I gleaned some knowledge of Australia. It’s not exactly what one might term a cozy, but it’s a good mystery read. It goes to show that family is not always what we expect and history might be quite different from what we perceive. It’s well worth the effort to keep the plot straight. The action and intrigue will keep the reader guessing until the end, not a bad way to spend time in my estimation.~I received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher, or publicist.

  • Andrea Love
    2019-02-26 06:57

    Review–Bones of Contention, Jean Matthews A well written and intriguing murder-mystery set in Australia, Bones of Contention is an interesting read. The characters are colorful, but are not developed to their full potential. There are a couple of loose ends in Dinah’s recent past which would add a sense of completion if they could be tidied up. Set in the uncommon locale of the Northern Territory in Australia, the setting is austere and the reader is presented with mysterious incongruities from the very beginning. After receiving the call from her half-brother that "Uncle" Cleon (actually her mother’s former husband) has cancer and has decided to die on his own terms via assisted suicide, Dinah uproots her entire life, including lousy job and cheating boyfriend, to travel to Australia. A colorful local inserts himself into her trip and her family’s crisis at the airport, and reappears as things at the lodge get more and more dicey. Dinah’s family is hodge-podge of children coming from Cleon’s two ex-wives and current wife, and she really is an outsider, having a different father, and being born after her mother divorced Cleon. To Dinah, the others all appear to be walking the fine line between legal and illegal activities, and of course, they have as many skeletons in their closets as she does. The twists and turns their hidden pasts provide as Dinah attempts to sort out the many contradictions are fascinating, but the more she digs, the more it appears that someone else is playing puppet-master

  • Cathy Cole
    2019-03-04 23:50

    This book has such an interesting premise and takes place in a country about which I've always been fascinated. When I saw the added bonus of anthropology, I knew I had to read it. I did, with very mixed results. The Australian setting is well done, and although the cast of characters is a large one, I didn't find it difficult at all to keep track of each individual. Dinah has a refreshing sense of humor, too. The bones of this tome skeleton are good, but a few things went awry for me when the musculature was added.Enough emphasis was placed on the first murder of the man on the island to make readers believe that it had true importance. It didn't, and as a result the conclusion was a bit anti-climactic. Dinah's sense of humor wasn't enough to disguise the fact that she can be silly and childlike, and has altogether too much baggage for one character. Speaking of characters, they were well-drawn because I was never confused in following each member of this large cast. However, I rapidly lost interest in them. A large percentage of them were extremely unlikable, and the ones who weren't didn't figure into the story enough to outweigh the poison of the others. I don't mind reading stories about unlikable characters, but it's a hard slog when my interest wanes and I begin to wish that they'd all admit to being the guilty party.All in all this book has an interesting premise, a wonderful setting, and a good sense of humor that I felt were let down by the story and characters. Here be talent, though, and I would be interested to see how this series develops.

  • Vicki Gooding
    2019-03-01 23:59

    This book reads like a modern day Ellery Queen or Agatha Christie with a room full of family members trapped together, a murder mystery, lots of wealth and a who-done-it theme. A wealthy man is dying of cancer. Decides to hire a doctor who is willing to break the law with a suicide assistance agenda. Invites the family to share his last moments, and then the reading of the will. But before this pans out, the doctor ends up dead. The setting is Australia. The family a bit bizarre in the way they are all related one to the other. For the many family tying facets, it was actually quite simple to follow. The name of the book I believe derived it's name from both the Aboriginal myth that is introduced as an undercurrent, but the continual two-faced, back biting, contention among greedy and envious family members one with the other. The dying man goading one against the other for his own amusement, but to the frustration of the others. The main character of the book, genuinely loves him and see's each family member for who they are without intent to harm any of them. She's a fun character. I really am not into family bickering, though too many times it is a fact of life, hence only 4 stars.

  • Richard
    2019-03-06 04:40

    A large, all American family gathers for the assisted suicide of the patriarch; wives 1 and 3, their children, their childrens' domestic partners; and their children.Missing wife # 2 is represented by our narrator and detective-in-chief, Dinah Perelin. Although the family hales from Georgia, Dinah has been living in Seattle until she stormed out of her most recent underemployment and caught her cop boyfriend with another woman.The setting of Australia, on the edge of the Outback, beyond Alice Springs, is different. They are at a camp miles from civilization but it seems like Grand Central Station with all the goings on.Although this is supposed to be a serious murder mystery what with smuggling of all sorts, Dinah's kidnap abd poisoning the suicide doctor, there is enough light hearted about the story so you don't lose sleep needing to finish it. It is an interesting read, and an excellent first novel. The conclusion is very tidy.

  • Pamela Mclaren
    2019-03-09 00:46

    A new book by Jeanne Matthews with a strong female character who finds that her extended family is not all that it seems. In fact, her half brother is an art forger, her 'uncle's' wife is having an affair with one of his sons, and one of them is a murderer.The secrets and lies come out as the family gathers in the Australian outback just before the assisted suicide of said 'uncle,' who has cancer. And from the moment they arrive, the family is squabbling about nearly everything -- about who is doing what, to what will they get from Uncle Cleon's estate. And the dying Cleon is driving a lot of it with his asides and comments. Its a toxic brew.Dinah Pelerin arrives in a whirlwind, ending up on a small plane with a crusty pilot who turns out to be a police man.The policeman knows more than he lets on and it scares Dinah as she flies to meet her family. Once with the family, she tries to figure out what is going on and why.

  • Deborah aka Reading Mom
    2019-03-18 03:36

    This is not "fine or profound" literature, but I thought it was an entertaining read. It wasn't a cozy mystery, nor was it graphic. The geographical details and Strine slang made it a hoot to read and Dinah's character infused a sense of humour into the book that provided quite a few chuckles. There was interesting information about The Top of Australia and a reference to a bar and grill in Darwin that could only be found in the Land of Oz--Duck Nuts Bar and Grill; yes I Googled it and it does exist in the town of Darwin. The protagonist, Dinah Perelin, has (to say the least) a very crazy set of relatives and she has to do some real soul-searching and pain of heart as she learns that her previous notions of them are totally off base. This is the first in a three book series. The next takes Dinah to the Big Island of Hawaii.

  • Betty McMahon
    2019-02-27 05:47

    I liked the first chapter, but had to slog through the rest. The first chapter started out so well that I settled in for a good read -- interesting setting, sassy dialogue, fast-moving story. But then, it got bogged down with characters I couldn't care about, a convoluted plot I couldn't keep track of, and an ending that I still don't understand. I can't figure out why the author did not give us one character to root for; even the main one, Dinah Pelerin, was not likable. And the way she "figured out" what was happening was too unbelievable. It took me too long to read this book -- not a good sign for a mystery.

  • Susan
    2019-03-15 01:41

    Wealthy Atlanta lawyer Cleon was heartbroken when his second wife Swan left him for another man. But he befriended Swan's new husband, and her daughter Dinah. Now, years later, Dinah is repaying his kindness by flying from Seattle to Australia for a family reunion at a decrepit lodge, where Cleon has decided to die by assisted suicide. The skeptical Dinah is not quite skeptical enough: she doesn't realize that things she finds out about Cleon, his son (and her half brother) Lucien, and his other children and wives will change not only her present and her future, but even her past. Family secrets, crimes, suspense and double-dealing--who could resist?

  • Alan
    2019-03-22 01:33

    I loved the first chapter of this book. Dianah Pelerin's has just arrived in Australia from the US, looking to make the last leg of her trip. She accepts a ride in a "tiny two-seater airplane" with Jacko as her pilot. One of the first things he does is offer her a beer from the cooler under his seat, which of course leads to her first feeling of trepidation. She has several "Lizzy McGuire" moments (moments in which she makes an observation about herself) in this first chapter which made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately these moments disappear in the middle of the book before reappearing again towards the end. The book also bogs down for me in the middle before picking up again at the end.

  • Robbi
    2019-02-25 06:44

    I love this. The dialogue is the best. From the Georgia sounthernisms to the Australian outback strine it's marvelous. It's all a bit Agatha Christie or Perry Mason on the whodunits but it's well done. I do recommend the audiobook for the first time. That's how I did Bet Your Bones. Puts those accents deep in your head. Otherwise unless you can do linguistic gymnastics these might not be as good. Matthews makes me laugh aloud.

  • Beverly
    2019-03-16 23:39

    Australia is a land teeming with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and curious Aboriginal myths. Dinah Pelerin’s wealthy American uncle, dying of cancer, has summoned his family to a remote lodge where he rewrites his will and commits suicide. What follows is a bizarre tale of mystery, intrigue and voodoo mystics.

  • Susan Schreyer
    2019-03-13 23:50

    Fast paced, vivid setting, and unforgettable characters. American Dinah Pelerin attends a "family reunion" in the Top End of Australia orchestrated by her terminally ill uncle--who intends to commit suicide. However, there's far more going on than the gathering of warring family members--including murder and...well, you'll just have to read it to find out!

  • Anne
    2019-03-08 00:50

    Set in the Australian Outback, this Dinah Pelerin Mystery must be the first in a proposed series. The plot is very complicated, but overall, an enjoyable read with lots of colorful background information.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-16 23:35

    Didn't finish. Had to return book to library as it was an Interlibrary loan and you can't renew. Will be looking for copy for my at-home library so I can finish. As far as I got, I enjoyed the writing and the story. Look forward to finishing.

  • Cheri
    2019-03-20 03:54

    kinda silly but harmless.

  • Terry
    2019-03-07 07:49

    Someone else said that this story reads like a whodunit murder mystery reminiscent of the television series which was my thoughts exactly. Not great literature but entertaining.

  • Marie
    2019-03-06 05:32

    Funny and well-plotted. I can't wait to read Dinah's next adventure!

  • Janet
    2019-02-24 03:33

    Even at the end, I still found none of the characters very likable. I have bought the next in the series, so will probably read it, but not right now.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-09 01:37

    The Australian Outback setting adds a lot to this classic dysfunctional family mystery.

  • Donna Martemucci
    2019-03-19 04:31

    fun mystery...lots of twists and turns. Loved the audio version...

  • Miki
    2019-03-08 01:51

    I can't believe it - there is not ONE likeable character in this book! I didn't care what happened to anyone.