Hamilton, Lyn

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HAMILTON, Lyn

PERSONAL:

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Education: Attended the University of Toronto.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and novelist. Formerly Canadian Opera Company, director of public affairs; Government of Ontario, director of arts and cultural industries programs. Writer-in-residence at the North York Central Library, 2003, and Kitchener Public Library, 2004.

AWARDS, HONORS:

The Xibalba Murders was nominated for the Crime Writers of Canada Association first novel prize.

WRITINGS:

"lara mcclintoch" mystery novels

The Xibalba Murders, Berkley (New York, NY), 1997.

The Maltese Goddess, Berkley (New York, NY), 1998.

The Moche Warrior: An Archaeological Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 1999.

The Celtic Riddle, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2000.

The African Quest, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2001.

The Etruscan Chimera, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2002.

The Thai Amulet, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2003.

The Magyar Venus, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2004.

The Moai Murders, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2005.

The Orkney Scroll, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2006.

Books have been translated into Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Turkish, Croatian, Greek, and Russian.

ADAPTATIONS:

The Celtic Riddle was adapted for a 2003 Murder She Wrote television movie.

SIDELIGHTS:

Lyn Hamilton is the author of archaeological mysteries. Her debut, The Xibalba Murders, featuring Toronto antiques dealer Lara McClintoch, was nominated for a best first novel prize by the Crime Writers of Canada Association. In her 1998 follow-up, The Maltese Goddess, a decorating job for an architect client takes McClintoch to the Mediterranean isle of Malta, but it soon appears that her life is in peril; next, the arrival of the furniture brings with it an unpleasant surprise. "Several twists at the end add emotional depth," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor, who also praised Hamilton's evocation of the island.

In The Moche Warrior: An Archaeological Mystery, McClintoch finds herself in trouble when she unwittingly acquires a box of priceless Moche figurines at auction, which had at first appeared to be Peruvian reproductions. She flees to Peru and attempts to solve the mystery by matching wits with a gang of grave-robbers there. A Maclean's contributor called it "a fun read," and praised Hamilton's heroine as "an amusing, likable creation." Jenny McLarin and Jack Helbig, writing in Booklist commented favorably on Hamilton's ability to write convincingly about archaeological matters, and "the richly woven descriptions of Lima make it obvious that the author has spent time there."

Hamilton is an avid traveler who draws upon her own experiences for her plots. Her next work, The Celtic Riddle, sends McClintoch off to remote coastal Ireland with her friend and co-worker Alex, one of several heirs summoned to participate in a treasure hunt for the bequest, whose value, the will hints, is enormous. The two are thwarted by the surviving family members, who reveal themselves to be a dysfunctional but determined lot, apparently spurred on in the treasure hunt by clues from ancient Celtic mythology. Only cooperation between the guests can find the fortune, hidden somewhere in the county Kerry countryside. The sudden deaths of household servants complicate the plot further. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Celtic Riddle "a sparkling classical puzzle mystery" that "will please both puzzle enthusiasts and those who demand a logical but totally surprising solution to a crime." Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, referred to the novel as "funny, cleverly plotted, and rich in ancient Celtic lore."

In The Etruscan Chimera, McClintoch goes to Tuscany to find a 2,500-year-old sculpture, the Etruscan Chimera, for a billionaire. While there, she contacts a local antique collector, who refuses to sell any of his pieces, the Chimera being one of them. The next day, the collector is found dead and the sculpture mysteriously appears in the trunk of McClintoch's car. Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher called The Etruscan Chimera an "engaging, intelligent romp," while a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "erudite mystery fans will enjoy the sophisticated wit."

In her eighth book in the series, The Magyar Venus, Hamilton sets McClintoch on a mission to prove the authenticity of a huge Venus bust carved from ivory. In the process, she meets her old college lover, museum curator Karoly Molnar, known as Charlie Miller in the old days, and several friends from her time at the University of Toronto. It turns out Karoly, or Charlie, also had relationships with McClintoch's old college friends when they were in school. After one of McClintoch's friends commits suicide, she becomes suspicious of Molnar. However, when she takes a trip to Hungary to continue her research, she also finds that her friends may be hiding some unsavory aspects of their lives from her. "Hamilton once again combines an exciting mystery with fascinating historical and archaeological subject matter," wrote Jenny McLarin in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Magyar Venus a "lively blend of romance, humor and occasional tragedy."

The Moai Murders finds McClintoch and friend Moira Meller on vacation at Easter Island. Also on the island are a group of people discussing the island's giant stone carvings of heads called the Moai. McClintoch and Meller decide to join in on their amateur conference and are soon caught up in a mystery when one of the attendees, documentary filmmaker Jasper Robinson, dies. Although ruled an accidental death by the police, McClintoch thinks otherwise. When other conference attendees also begin dying, McClintoch is convinced that someone is committing a series of murders. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "makes effective use of flashbacks and puts a first-class twist on the traditional locked-room mystery." In a review in Booklist, Sue O'Brien wrote: "Fascinating details about the island's history and the Moai enhance this ninth adventure." An MBR Bookwatch reviewer commented that the author "has written a colorful, exciting and totally absorbing amateur sleuth novel."

McClintoch becomes involved in a case of forged antiques and murder in The Orkney Scroll. When a colleague is killed after selling a fake antique writing cabinet with a supposed Viking treasure map inside of it, McClintoch finds her own reputation sullied because she recommended the cabinet's seller. Trying to reestablish her own reputation, McClintoch traces the origins of the fake cabinet to the Orkney Islands of Scotland, where she not only comes across another murder but also drug smugglers and a dangerous money laundering scheme. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the author "makes the islands of Orkney so beguiling they ought to be listed as a top-ten travel destination." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the author "a funny writer," adding: "Lara's culture shock in super-friendly Orkney is especially humorous."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

Booklist, February 1, 1999, Jenny McLarin and Jack Helbig, review of The Moche Warrior: AnArchaeological Mystery, p. 964; January 1, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Celtic Riddle, p. 884; May 15, 2002, Connie Fletcher, review of The Etruscan Chimera, p. 1578; April 15, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of The Magyar Venus, p. 1428; March 1, 2005, Sue O'Brien, review of The Moai Murders, p. 1147.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of The Etruscan Chimera, p. 457; March 1, 2006, review of The Orkney Scroll, p. 210.

Library Journal, March 1, 1999, Rex E. Klett, review of The Moche Warrior, p. 113; February 1, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of The Celtic Riddle, p. 120.

Maclean's, May 3, 1999, review of The Moche Warrior, p. 63.

MBR Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of The Moai Murders.

New York Times Book Review, June 9, 2002, Marilyn Stasio, review of The Etruscan Chimera, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, February 2, 1998, review of The Maltese Goddess, p. 87; January 24, 2000, review of The Celtic Riddle, p. 295; April 29, 2002, review of The Etruscan Chimera, p. 46; March 22, 2004, review of The Magyar Venus, p. 66; March 14, 2005, review of The Moai Murders, p. 48; February 27, 2006, review of The Orkney Scroll, p. 37.

online

Lyn Hamilton Home Page,http://www.lynhamilton.com (May 23, 2006).*

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