Aloha gang!

Today we’re meeting author Jane Lasswell Hoff, a brand new mystery novelist who is also a forensic anthropologist. Her novel, BONES OF PARADISE is a fantastic mystery and she will be appearing this week at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. She’ll be on a panel discussing her work so if you are anywhere near sunny Waikiki, come on down and meet her.

Here is a link for all the details about Honolulu Havoc.

Busy as she is, Jane took time to answer some really stupid questions!

Don’t forget to post a comment for a chance to win a copy of this amazing book!


1. Hi Jane, what’s your favorite cocktail? I’ll have the cabana boys whip one up for you while I ask you some stupid, I mean important questions.

I’m a big fan of expensive champagne or mescal (straight, with a wedge of lime and some salt on the side). But are those really cocktails? I think not. So, being a resident of Hawaii, I’d have to ask for a good Mai Tai, with a little paper umbrella or an orchid to decorate it.

2. Wow. The guys must like you. They brought you one of each! Your book Bones of Paradise involves a bit of your real work as a forensic anthropologist. I find this work so fascinating but it begs the question, do you have a favorite famous or not so famous set of bones?

I’ve worked on some very famous cases but one, from Alabama, involved two escapes (of the murderer), went on for seven years and wound up on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That one is hard to top.

3.If you could be any animal in the world, what you be and why? This could be an extinct animal or a species currently living…

I think I’ll stick with human, thank you very much. But it I have to convert, it might be nice to know what flying feels like – so maybe a wild canary. It would be fascinating to meet up with a real Australopithecus or Neanderthal or other ancient type of human (and they are different species) – would that count? I would like to meet them, but I’m not sure I’d like to be one.

4. What was your favorite toy growing up?

I suppose it would be a piano. It might not be a toy in everyone’s book but I played it with my grandfather and with my sister and our level of competence (I still can’t play very well) qualifies it as our toy, I think.

5. It works for me! Now, You’re stuck on a deserted island after a three hour tour that goes awry. Name six people alive or dead that you’d like to be marooned with…and your fantasy castaway meal.

Another tricky question for me!

Will there be a translator available? If I couldn’t communicate with Leonardo da Vinci, for instance, what would really be the point of having him there? Although, he was so brilliant, he would probably pick up English pretty fast and also devise some clever way to get us off the island. Ditto for Noah – he could build an ark, no?

How long will we be there? I would love to meet and dine with some people (Cleopatra or Jesus, for instance) but I doubt I’d want to spend a LOT of time with them.

So, here is my list of English-speaking people with whom I’d like to spend a happy couple of years:

 1. Dorothy Parker

 2. Oscar Wilde

 3. Bill Nighy

 4. Billy Connelly

  5. Stephen Colbert

  6. my sister, Julie (so we could talk trash about the others,  in case they turn out to be disappointments)

 The menu:  


 Oysters on the half-shell

 A Turkish dish, Bayildi (Translation: The Imam Fainted)

 Potato galette

 Ripe, seasonal peaches and cherries

 Devil’s Food chocolate cake

  Hilo water, no ice, barely chilled


 AJ says: I am crashing this party. Wow, I love Bill Nighy! And Billy Connolly. And those are some snappy answers! Thanks Jane!


Bones of Paradise: Big Island Mysteries, #1  by Jane Lasswell Hoff

Purchase Link:

Bones of Paradise is one terrific debut.” – Aaron Elkins, Edgar Award-winning author of the Gideon Oliver series

Even in paradise, people do die. And it’s the job of Mimi Charles, Forensic Anthropologist, to analyze the bodies that aren’t found right away – skeletons, mostly. Mimi and her colleagues at the Medical Examiner’s office are a tightly-knit team that relishes solving the puzzles presented by each case. But outside of the office, their lives in the sweet little town of Hilo, Hawaii, flow in a gentle island rhythm. None of them is prepared for the disappearance of one of their own, right from the building where they work (or the parking lot outside, anyway). Soon a series of notes begins to arrive, supposedly from the missing person. Even though the FBI shows up to join the local police in the search for clues, Mimi and her friends can’t resist doing a little “digging” of their own. Suddenly, there’s a very pesky TV reporter calling Mimi at home and peeking out at her from behind potted plants. And then John, the Death Investigator who works with Mimi, begins to act strangely. Despite the distractions, Mimi begins to piece together odd, seemingly unrelated bits of information in the race to find her missing friend, and she most sincerely hopes that she’s not too late…

Jane Lasswell Hoff  is a professional forensic anthropologist, a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a lecturer in anthropology. As a forensic anthropologist, she has worked for tribal groups, the U. S. government and in the states of Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington and Utah. She attended the University of Hawaii for her undergraduate degree and the University of Oregon for her graduate degree. She lives and works in Hilo, Hawaii.

Author Links:




  1. This sounds fantastic. I wonder if she knows the forensic anthropologist who helped me on my Lei Crime novella, Coconut Island. I learned so much from him about bodies and WW II.

  2. Hm. I’ve been reading the Gideon Oliver books for decades (literally) so another series with forensic anthropology sounds worth digging up!

  3. Hi Lee, I read the book and it’s wonderful!


  4. Janet, you’ll have to ask her!


  5. Kathy Reichs always entertained me with her novels. And I am a sucker for novels with the word “Bones” in the title. Looking forward to meeting Jane at LCC. Will you introduce us, AJ?

  6. Aloha Gail! Absolutely I will introduce you! I am excited to meet her too!

  7. Thanks for all your comments. Aaron, Kathy and I are all members of the Am. Academy of Forensic Sciences and I am so glad that our work is interesting to you. In fact, Aaron is the person who encouraged me to write.

  8. Aloha! This sounds excellent and set at home on the BI. 🙂 I like!! I will go and check it out. Fun interview. Thanks and aloha Meg 🙂

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