Maybe not the best move, but archaeologist Arla Vaughn accepts the role of temporary dean of her museum's archaeology department. She feels that the recent purchase of an elaborate Mayan mask seems an evil portent: the dual face, one side a handsome Mayan nobleman, the other a skull-like visage with a glimmering obsidian eye represents the good and evil of mankind.
Maybe her intuition is right, for evil has already stalked the museum grounds. Some years back, Jordan Lund's wife was strangled on campus. Since, he has devoted his life to finding her killer. Now, when a second woman from Arla's department is murdered in the same way, jealousies and recriminations fly thick and fast as the finger of blame for corruption and murder points to other department members.
But Arla suspects that these brutal murders are linked to the dig in Copan. Her investigation takes her to entangled roots of the mystery, the Copan ruins in the jungles of Honduras. There, to uncover the truth, Arla must match wits with a killer as duplicitous as the mask portends.
This is a colourful, fast-paced adventure, ideal for armchair travellers. Arla comes across as a determined, plucky no-nonsense lady who doesn't suffer fools gladly. What's more, we're assured that a second book in the Arla Vaughn: Pre-Columbian Treasure Series - the Inca - is soon to be published, The Lost City of the Condor. Can't wait - sharpening my archaeological trowel already