Title: Mayan Mendacity (Dr Pimms, Intermillenial Sleuth #2)
Author: L.J.M. Owen
Format: Digital ARC
Published: November 1, 2016 by Echo Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, New Adult
Reading Period: June 20-23, 2017
Dr Elizabeth Pimms has a new puzzle.
What is the story behind the tiny skeletons discovered on a Guatemalan island? And how do they relate to an ancient Mayan queen?
The bones, along with other remains, are a gift for Elizabeth. But soon the giver reveals his true nature. An enraged colleague then questions Elizabeth’s family history. Elizabeth seeks DNA evidence to put all skeletons to rest.
A pregnant enemy, a crystal skull, a New York foodie, and an intruder in Elizabeth’s phrenic library variously aid or interrupt Elizabeth’s attempts to solve mysteries both ancient and personal.
With archaeological intrigue, forensic insight and cosy comfort, Mayan Mendacity takes readers back into the world of Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.
Thank you NetGalley and Echo Publishing for a free digital copy of this book in-exchange of honest review.
Mayan Mendacity is book two of the Intermillenial Sleuth series. I’ve anticipated to read this one after reading the first book because I believe that I will definitely enjoy it and will learn again something from the history that I know I can always share and educate others. If you haven’t read the first book on this series, check my review here. Mayan Mendacity is one of those books that I didn’t read the synopsis but just indulge myself into it (which I didn’t regret). I’ve finished this book in one sitting because it’s not just an easy to read but a page-turner as well. This book is well-written. It also proves how women are very powerful and essential in the society. These are some reasons why I love L.J.M. Owen’s book, they are not only for entertainment as it also educate her readers which is not limited to history, archaeology, philology or generics but also gender equality.
L.J.M Owen is one of those authors whose very attentive and kind to her readers. She is very kind and always respond to my queries (usually on my Tweets). Aside from her writing skills and her academic degree, I also admire her personality.
Mayan Mendacity is another adventure of Dr. Elizabeth Pimms. She works at the library in Canberra and spend her time with family on weekends. Together with her siblings, Sam and Matty, they are attending a sibling counseling. Elizabeth has a long time boyfriend Luke, an archeologist that works in excavation site in Guatamela. She’s expecting a wedding proposal from Luke but turns out differently.
My knowledge is very limited especially about history, archaeology, philology and genetics. I’m fascinated with all the jargon and ways used in the book (in all discipline mentioned). What I’d like to have is the phrenic library of Elizabeth. Every time she use her library, I always remember Sherlock Holmes’s mind palace. I envy them for that skill. Their memories are very good that they could easily pulled out information from their memory storage.
What I like about Elizabeth is her strong personality, intelligence and how she manage problems surrounding her. It really amaze me how she handle all the stress (from family problems to work problems and relationship with Luke) and still move forward. She’s like a superwoman here and definitely represent one. She proves how strong, persevering and capable women are.
The twist that really strike me in this book is Mia’s revelation about her relationship Elizabeth’s family. I’m really shock how their family history turns out (chimerism really fascinates me; weird but I think that’s awesome!). But I’m happy how Elizabeth’s family value each other and how they accepts Mia.
Another problem is Dr. Marsh attitude towards Elizabeth. It is like she’s testing Elizabeth’s qualification and professionalism. Dr. Marsh didn’t give Elizabeth a chance to explain herself. She even doesn’t listen to Elizabeth and accuse of something she doesn’t do. Dr. Marsh questions Elizabeth’s professionalism yet she’s the one who shows unprofessionalism towards Elizabeth.
I really enjoy reading the Mayan’s story part like how I enjoyed reading Olmec’s story. Lady Six Sky’s story is exciting. I wasn’t expecting how she will revenge against Black Deer. And Lady Six Sky’s represent women empowerment.
Ms. Owen, did it again. She ends the Mayan story uncorrelated with Elizabeth’s prediction (like in Olmec’s story, the ending of the history in that book is different from Elizabeth’s prediction) which makes me want to scream and say “Hey Elizabeth! That’s not how it is!”. But yes, that’s how Ms. Owen wrote it. If she wrote that way, that’s too predictable.
My heart’s delighted that “Filipino food” features in the book!!! Gosh specifically pancit malabon, achara, pako, lumpia, and chicharon! I also appreciate that banana leaf-wrapped coconut rice is mention. And I didn’t expect to read is MANG TOMAS (my ever favorite sauce!) and halo-halo (best dessert ever!). It makes me wonder if Ms. L.J.M. Owen cook Filipino food.
I haven’t talk about Luke that much because I don’t feel to talk about him. Well he’s a jerk. He cheated Elizabeth and his logic about cheating is beyond my understanding. What I’ve notice is the development in the relationship between Nathan and Elizabeth. I kind of feel the chemistry between the two since book one but I’m in doubt because of Henry’s presence.
The ending in Elizabeth time is okay. I mean, it ended well. It’s not cliff hanging even. What made me curious at the end is the questions for book club discussion. That’s very interesting. Questions below came from the book.
Questions for book club discussions:
1. One aim of the series is to highlight the life and achievements of noteworthy women from world history. In general, do you think women are fairly and equally represented in history?
- I believe that not all women are fairly and equally represented in history. Most history books mentioned how great and noteworthy men are but women. Maybe because countries around the globe are patriarchal and women are insignificant and do not recognize women’s capability.
2. Before reading Mayan Mendacity, were you aware the Maya had some female Rulers? Had you heard of Lady Six Sky?
- No. I’m actually not familiar with Mayan Mendacity since it is not my area of specialization. I’m really fascinated with it and would like to explore it.
3. In the novel a character experiences betrayal and the loss of an important relationship. Do you think the character handled the betrayal appropriately? What would your expectations be of yourself in the same situation?
- Yes, I think Elizabeth handled well the betrayal. She made the right decision of not getting back with Luke. I had a same situation in the past and I made a wrong decision. I really regret it and hoped that I could make a right decision. I guess at the time that I was betrayed, I was blinded with something.
4. Most foodstuffs mentioned in the story of Lady Six Sky are native to Mexico. A thousand years ago, unless you lived in what is now Mexico, chances are you wouldn’t have tasted cacao (the basis of chocolate), vanilla, tomatoes, chillies or capsicum. If you lived outside the Americas you wouldn’t have seen potatoes, tobacco, corn, beans, pumpkins, zucchini, avocados, peanuts, pineapples, blueberries, sunflowers or marigolds. Can you imagine life without potatoes, chocolate or vanilla? No tomatoes, sunflowers or avocadoes? If you were only allowed to eat food native to your current area, i.e. only food that grows naturally up to one day’s walk from your house and was not introduced by human activity, what would you eat every day?
- My country’s under the Spanish government for more than 300 years. There were business between Mexico and Philippine through Galleon Trade during that time and we’re exposed with the food mentioned above. So I don’t know if I can ever imagine a life without those food.
5. One aspect of Maya society highlighted in the novel is the high level of violence against captives and slaves, including the ritual torture and sacrifice of children. Can you imagine growing up in a society where this was commonplace? Would you become desensitised to it? Do you think there are aspects of your own society that people on the outside might view as horrific? Things that you have become desensitised to?
- I guess if I ever live in Maya society, I’ll be dead easily. I usually voice out my thought and don’t just stand still if there’s violence or torture. I believe that what is happening now in my country is horrific. Issues in politics and war in Marawi (against terrorist group) are horrible.
6. There were two main challenges in Mayan Mendacity. One was working out the identity of the skull with jade-inlaid teeth that was recovered from the well at Nojpetén. The second one was working out the truth about Mai’s background. At what point in the story did you figure out the solutions to each of these mysteries? What clues gave them away?
- I wouldn’t find the solution for the skull with jade-inlaid teeth until I’ve read it because I’m not knowledgeable in that area. As for Mai’s family background, I’ve tried to smart Elizabeth but I couldn’t specifically because of limited knowledge about genetics.
7. The cast of Mayan Mendacity includes a number of scientists such as Elizabeth, Alice, Tanya and Dr Marsh. In some parts of the world women are still discouraged or prohibited from becoming scientists. What messages does your society send about women who are or want to be scientists? Do you think there are any gender barriers to careers in science in your society?
- In my country, the Philippines, women are encouraged to make a change. To make a difference. There’s a previous research that Philippines in number one country in Asia that campaigns gender equality.
8. Before reading Mayan Mendacity how straightforward did you think human genetics were? Have you changed your mind?
- What I’ve said, my knowledge in genetics is very limited. And I must say that this book changed my mind. I am now fascinated with it and would like to research about it. I want to share it with my students during our discussions.
Okay readers, let me know your thoughts! Read Mayan Mendacity and try to answer the questions as well!
Plus, I can’t wait for the third book!
“Maybe what is unique to us is that moment of sheer terror when we stare into the abyss of self-awareness and ask, “What am I?”
“I have a problem with women being treated as property and second-class citizens. I have a problem with women having to spend their entire lives defending their basic human rights in order to do things that most men take for granted.”
“No matter how difficult our childhood or past may have been, each of us has the power to choose how to react to it. In this country we are fortunate to be able to choose who we are and who we wish to be,”