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As the title of Bare Bones, Kathy Reichs’ latest Temperance Brennan novel, suggests, forensic anthropologists don’t always have a lot to work with. At this mystery’s start, for example, Brennan has uncovered what remains of an infant stuffed into a

living-room stove. In the course of 36 chapters, Brennan gets mixed up in an animal-smuggling ring, has a nasty encounter with some timber rattlers, and finds love. When she’s not writing down the bones, Reichs (herself a forensic anthropologist) works for medical examiners in North Carolina and Quebec and teaches anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (items also listed on Brennan’s résumé). And given that the author’s career has also taken her from the United Nations’ genocide tribunal in Rwanda to Ground Zero in New York, it doesn’t take a Temperance Brennan to deduce that an illustrated presentation on her work should make for a fascinating afternoon. Reichs speaks at noon at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th and Independence Avenue SW, $16, (202) 357-3030; and at 7:30 p.m. at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads, free, (703) 998-0404. (Joe Dempsey)