A Ben Candidi Mystery
by Dirk Wyle
Vultures circling over the Yucatán scrubland lead vacationing Ben Candidi (Ph.D.) to an ugly sight a young peasant with his heart cut out, draped over a boulder. Rebecca Levis (M.D.) recognizes the peasant as B'alam Chuc, an engineering student at the university in Mérida. He had been interested in her medical outreach project. Although handwritten hieroglyphs found on the body offer clues, the police insist the motive was robbery. The parents Maya villagers who speak no Spanish have their eight-year-old Ichik ask Ben to investigate. B'alam's professors describe him as a brilliant student but a loner. Armed with a glyph dictionary and a cultural tourist's knowledge of Mayan history, rites and superstition, Ben searches for what lured B'alam to the scene of his death. He assembles clues from haciendas, Maya villages, archeological sites and even the coral bedrock. As the picture of an evil and debauched criminal conspiracy emerges, Ben and Rebecca are faced with two questions: Was B'alam truly innocent? And is it time to get out of Yucatán?