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Effigies (Faye Longchamp Mysteries, No. 3) Paperback – January 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In Evans's intriguing third mystery to feature archeologist Faye Longchamp (after 2005's Relics), Faye and her Native American assistant, Joe Wolf Mantooth, leave Joyeuse Island, Fla., for a dig in rural Mississippi at the site of a proposed highway. They arrive during the Neshoba County Fair, a weeklong celebration during which residents put aside their differences to honor the area's mixed-race heritage. But when the archeologists discover another important site on the property of Carroll Calhoun, a racist with ties to the KKK, he not only refuses to let them excavate but tries to bulldoze what might be a sacred Choctaw burial mound. In the ensuing clash, racial tensions hit the boiling point over who has rights to the mound. Calhoun is then found dead, his throat slit with an ancient Indian blade, and Faye investigates after suspicion falls on Joe and other area Native Americans. Though Evans has been compared to Tony Hillerman, her sympathetic characters and fascinating archeological lore add up to a style all her own. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Archaeologist Faye Longchamp (Artifacts, 2003) and her Native American friend Joe Wolf Mantooth are in Neshoba County, Mississippi, working on an excavation near Nanih Waiya, the sacred mound that is said to be the birthplace of the Choctaw Nation. A nearby farm has an ancient mound that appears to be rich in artifacts, but the owner, Carroll Calhoun, refuses to let the team investigate. In fact, he gets on his tractor and tries to bulldoze the mound along with a few of the archaeologists. The local sheriff diffuses the situation, but, later, Calhoun turns up dead. Since the murder weapon is a handmade stone blade, and Faye and Joe were nearby, they become suspects. As the two work to clear themselves, the county's history of racism surfaces. Like Randy Wayne White in his Doc Ford novels, Evans adds an extra layer of substance to her series by drawing readers into the fascinating history of ancient American civilizations. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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Place is important and can be a character in and of itself. In Effigies, place is very important but doesn't overshadow the characters, rather, becomes impetus for their actions (or lack thereof). Why is the mound so important to so many? What happened out in the field? Why is the river so important? As the readers delve further into the book, more and more history of the region that Mary creates or brings forth, becomes crystal clear. Nothing written is ever wasted.
Mary also continues the friendship/close relationship between Faye and Joe. It's complicated, deep and moving. Are they a couple, unbeknownst to Faye? Does she realize she loves Joe? Mary shows how confused Joe is, about his heritage and wanting to fit in with other people. Conflicted emotions are shown and well thought out.
I loved Effigies and give a hearty 5-stars.
In the case of the Faye Longchamp mystery series it has definitely been worth my while.
I so enjoyed the first Faye book 'Artifacts' that I immediately went on to the second book 'Relics'. That was also a great read...perhaps not as appealing to me personally as the first book, but still very good. I looked forward to reading the third book in the series 'Effigies'.
Effigies surpassed even Artifacts for me. It is such a great, tight little mystery. The plot flows well, the characters are very interesting, and the progression of the journey of Faye and Joe's characters is extremely appealing. The mystery itself is intriguing and the conclusion was so bittersweet.
I have read some reviews where people do not seem to care for the 'extras' that are a part of every Faye Longchamp book...in the case of Effigies it is stories handed down from generation to generation of Choctaw Native Americans and told by the mother of one of the characters.
Personally, I love this feature. I think it is quirky and fun and I look forward to seeing what the device will be with each new book.
I will definitely be reading the next Faye mystery.
The archeology team hasn't been on site for a day before they instigate a confrontation that alienates both the local farmers and the indigenous Choctaw. Later that confrontation results in murder. As in Evan's previous books, Joe tops the list of likely murder suspects.
The story revolves around a new road, a pot field, an Indian mound, a county fair, cultural disagreements, a recent murder, and an old hate crime. Mary Anna Evans had to do a lot of complicated plotting to mix all those diverse things into one cohesive storyline. I'm not altogether sure she succeeded. Several portions of the book lagged seriously as the author tried to introduce new elements into the story. The county fair was a complete waste of time as was Evan's rewriting of old Indian legend. These old stories require a lot of detail and atmosphere, both are absent in this emotionless retelling.
The greatest flaw in the book was that the killer was obvious very early on. Sometimes knowing who the killer is doesn't matter, but in this case knowing is fatal to the enjoyment of the book. Another serious flaw; Evans has never been on an actual dig. She has Faye doing things with a trowel that a backhoe would struggle to accomplish.
The reason for the questions at the book's end escaped me. It seemed almost as though the author was trying to pass fiction off as serious research.