The Moai Murders
by Lyn Hamilton
Berkeley Prime Crime Books 2006
This is a Lara McClintoch Murder mystery. There are about 10 books in this series - all starring Lara Mcclintoch, an antiques dealer based in Toronto, Canada.
In this book, Lara takes a vacation with her friend Moira to Easter Island.
While they are on the island there is a conference about the history of easter island includng the moai (the statues) and rongo-rongo (the writing of easter island) which so far has stumped all linguists. So Lara and Moira join the conference.
This conference is a private group of easter island enthusiasts who have all visited easter island at least once before.
The conference discussion centres around where the easter island people came from - did they come from south america to the east (ala thor heyerdahl) or were they originally polynesians coming from the north west.
One of the members of this group Jasper Robinson has a surprise for the group. He shows a wooden tablet with rongo rongo writing on it and says he found it in Chile which proves that the easter islanders came from south america.
But two other members of the conference claim that Jasper is not telling the truth. Eventually it comes out that the tablet is genuine but it was found 30 years previously on Easter island in 1975 - on a dig which Jasper had headed. Two of the conference members were also on that dig.
During the conference - 3 members of the conference are murdered. One of them is Jasper Robinson, after he makes his big announcement.
Lara sets about asking questions, helping suspects to hide - the police have to come out from Chile to oversee the investigation - and eventually she tracks down the murder weapon and the murderer.
The murder weapon is a poison pen used for tattoos. Easter islanders have a tradition of tattooing the skin and some of the conference members get a tattoo. Those that do, end up dead.
I enjoyed this book very much, as it told me all about easter island, its geography, the culture and customs and the connection with Chile which lays claim to Easter island.