Tuesday 28 November 2023

Death in a Nutshell: An Anthropology Whodunnit Roxanne Varzi

Alex is on the verge of dismissal from her anthropology doctoral program when her luck turns and she lands a fellowship with a dioramist at the Museum of the Rockies. Only problem is, Alex hasn’t a clue about dioramas or dinosaurs, and, as she will soon find out, she’s not the only one faking it in this frozen landscape.

From New York City to Yellowstone National Park, we follow Alex, a whip-smart dyslexic-ADHD Margaret Meade cum Ms. Marple, and her friends—a Nature photographer, a Ranger, a Polish guest worker, paleontologists, poets and Iranian-elite dot-commers—as they explore friendship, identity, climate change, globalization, and a murder against the stunning backdrop of the Rockies in winter. An engaging read for adventurous mystery lovers.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Death in a Nutshell by Roxanne Varzi is an Anthropology Whodunnit and a very unique story.  This is a first for me .... while you are reading a story about a murder, the author is also educating the reader in between chapters with her Field Notes.  In the Disclaimer in the beginning of the story she tells readers that you can skip over the Field Notes as they have nothing to do with the story but offer the reader more insight in the field of Anthropology.  I, however, read all of them as I wanted to make sure I was getting everything I could out of the story and understanding as much as I could .... I will admit some things were over my head but I was still able to enjoy the story.

In Death in a Nutshell main character Alex is about the be kicked out of her doctural program.  Luckily she is accepted into a grant in the Rockies for a project studying new residents in Bozeman where she will make a diorama of the people she interviews.  She will make a little house in details after getting to know her subjects.

Alex's first diorama is going to be on Marta who is from Poland working at the Museum of the Rockies as an all around helper.  This will be an easy starting point for Alex seeing as her and Marta are the only ones living on the property, each in their own cabin.  Unfortunately before Alex can really get to know Marta, she finds her in another building on the property with a head injury.

Alex has also become friends with Will who is a Park Ranger and she tries to get his help in finding out who would want to hurt Marta.  But when they are at an event at the Museum and a photographer, Pete, is found dead in the center of the exhibit, they have more questions that answers.  Alex doesn't know who she can trust oer what to do but she knows she wants to stay and find out what is going on.

Readers will enjoy reading Death in a Nutshell and you may even come away having learned something also.

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