The Ancient Dead


Amanda Doucette searches desperately for the connection between bones discovered in a remote Alberta coulee and an uncle who went missing thirty years ago.

Photographer Todd Ellison is engrossed in a photo shoot deep in Alberta’s dinosaur country when he stumbles upon human bones buried in the sand of a remote coulee. Not far away, while driving through the Alberta prairie, Amanda Doucette glimpses an abandoned farmhouse that reminds her of an old photograph hanging on her aunt’s wall.

Who is the cocky young cowboy in the photo? Could it be connected to Amanda’s uncle, who went missing in Alberta thirty years ago? As Amanda starts to make connections between his disappearance and the body in the coulee, she discovers more questions than answers. To make matters worse, a mysterious person will stop at nothing to get her to abandon the investigation.


The author, a retired psychologist, does a fine job of building her characters; unlike some amateur-sleuth mysteries, whose protagonists seem either too clever or too cute by half, Fradkin populates her series with real people whose lives encompass more than solving the odd crime. Keep ’em coming.

Booklist, for Prisoners of Hope

? Fradkin, a retired psychologist, creates well-drawn, complex characters, and she knows how to build tension and drama that hold readers to the end.

Publishers Weekly, starred review for Fire in the Stars

? A high-adrenaline plunge

Publishers Weekly, starred review for The Trickster’s Lullaby

Fradkin combines a white-knuckle mystery with a look at the serious social problem of foreign worker exploitation.

Publishers Weekly, for Prisoners of Hope

Readers of Tana French and Deborah Crombie may want to investigate.

Library Journal, for Fire in the Stars

Fradkin's forte is the emotional cost of crime.

Ottawa Citizen

The eloquently described landscape is a visceral part of the plot. Fans of regional mysteries will find much to like.

Publishers Weekly

This crime novel is a good fit for both mystery readers and anyone trying to navigate the tricky questions of love and relationships in our highly mobile modern society.


Barbara Fradkin knows how to write a strong, compelling mystery, and her settings create vivid mental pictures as you read.


About the Author

Barbara Fradkin

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Barbara Fradkin photo

Barbara Fradkin

Barbara Fradkin is a retired psychologist who is fascinated with why people turn bad. She is the author of the Amanda Doucette series and the critically acclaimed Inspector Green novels, two of which have won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel: Fifth Son and Honour Among Men. She lives in Ottawa..