Art history student Zelda Richardson is working at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua – the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When his journal is found inside one of the bis poles, Zelda is tasked with finding out more about the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects.
Zelda is pulled into a world of shady anthropologists, headhunters, missionaries, art collectors, and smugglers – where the only certainty is that sins of the past are never fully erased.
Join Zelda as she grapples with the anthropologist’s mysterious disappearance fifty years earlier, and a present-day murderer who will do anything to prevent her from discovering the truth.
All three mysteries in the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series are stand-alone novels, yet are even more enjoyable when read in order:
Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery (Book One)
The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery (Book Two)
Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery (Book Three)
Related keywords: art theft, art crime, historical fiction, historical mystery, art history, art mystery, artifact theft, artifacts, museums, anthropology, ethnography, cultural heritage, exhibition, mystery, thriller, missionaries, archival research, suspense, crime fiction, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Leiden, Rotterdam, Papua, colonial history, Dutch colonialism, Dutch New Guinea, Asmat.
Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. Her love of travel, art, and culture inspires her ongoing mystery series, the Adventures of Zelda Richardson. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels.
In Down and Out in Kathmandu, Zelda gets entangled with a gang of smugglers whose Thai leader believes she’s stolen his diamonds. The Lover’s Portrait is a suspenseful “whodunit?” about Nazi-looted artwork that transports readers to wartime and present-day Amsterdam. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Rituals of the Dead, a thrilling artifact mystery set in Dutch New Guinea (Papua) and the Netherlands.
Her travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler, is a must read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to – travel to Nepal and Thailand.
When not writing, Jennifer can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.