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Artifacts (Faye Longchamp Mysteries, No. 1) Paperback – Large Print, March 21, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Few corners of Florida remain unmined for crime fiction and now, happily, there's one less. The shifting little isles along the Florida Panhandle-hurricane-wracked bits of land filled with plenty of human history-serve as the effective backdrop for Evans's debut, a tale of greed, archeology, romance and murder. The latest in a long line of courageous and resourceful women, Faye Longchamp can trace her mixed ancestry back to a slave and a once magnificent plantation house, Joyeuse, which she now claims by heritage and squatter's rights and whose very existence is a closely guarded secret. Faye ekes out a living by illegal "pothunting" and acting as an assistant on a legitimate archeological dig, but her discovery of a human skull and the subsequent murder of two archeology students threaten her precarious existence. While Evans stretches credulity with the sheer number of unlikely elements that make up the plot, including a mysterious Indian and a 19th-century diary, the rich setting and the lively characters that aid or bedevil Faye in her quest more than compensate. Readers should welcome this strong new heroine.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Faye Longchamp is an archaeology student trying to hang on to her ancestral home on North Florida's Gulf Coast. When the property taxes on the dilapidated mansion--inherited from her great-great-grandmother, Cally, a freed slave--become too high, Faye decides to put her knowledge to work by digging up some artifacts to sell on the black market. What she finds, however, isn't arrowheads; it's a body, and judging by the head wound and the Jackie Kennedy-style earrings, it's been in the ground for several decades, and foul play put it there. If Faye reports her find, she will reveal her illegal activities and risk losing everything. To save herself and her home, Faye decides to learn more about the body in the ground. First-novelist Evans introduces a strong female sleuth in this extremely promising debut, and she makes excellent use of her archaeological subject matter, weaving past and present together in a multilayered, compelling plot. Let's hope Faye Longchamps' home-restoration project is one of those remodeling jobs that never ends. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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Just as noteworthy is that this author knows her stuff. The story revolves around "pot-hunting" and archaelogy, and she knows what she's writing about. Her details about field notebooks, specimen cleaning, layout of grids for excavation, etc. are all accurate. Her overall description of the mindset of those who are devoted to a field of study that will pay little and never result in glory is on the mark. I've done a little historical archaeological excavation, and my degree is in paleontology, so I know what field work is all about, and this author has captured it nicely, including the long slogs when one doesn't find anything worthwhile.
I gave this book a 4-star rating because there is some repetition of the main character's feelings about her now-hidden ancestral home and other thoughts that could have been tightened up a little, especially in the middle of the book. The story never really lost momentum, however, and it is MUCH better than most of the schlock out there. In this case, making the first book free is going to serve this author well: I am buying more in the series.
Well, I'm estatic to say that Mary Anna Evans knows her business. She writes about archaeology as only someone who has spent hours sifting dirt can. Her hero, Faye Longchamp, is caught between her commitment to the science and her need to protect her family home. She wants to do the right thing by everyone--including the young murder victim she uncovers--but deciding what is the right thing carries her far into her own family's past as she also uncovers secrets about those people closest to her.
Faye is an amazing hero, and I'm looking forward to her future adventures.
Most recent customer reviews
Murder ,both ancient and New plus a hurricane or two and an historical mansion...Read more