If archaeology mysteries interest you, have you tried Mary Anna Evans' books yet? Strangers is the sixth in the series to feature Faye Longchamp. Faye, who once only collected and sold artifacts from her Florida plantation home, has finished school, finished her Ph.D., and established a company with her husband. But, anyone who has read about Faye knows it's easy to uncover murder on an archaeological dig.
Evans' latest mystery is timely. She introduces Faye's new career, saying, "She and Joe had started their archaeological consulting business just in time for the economy to tank, taking with it the property development industry that fueled so much archaeological work." So, they were very lucky to find a job in St. Augustine, excavating the rear garden at Dunkirk Manor, a B & B. Unfortunately, Faye can do not much more than supervise, since she's seven-and-a-half months pregnant. But, she can probe the early history of the house.
The story of Dunkirk Manor only goes back to the 1920's, but the house is already supposed to be haunted. An ancestor of the present owner hosted Hollywood bigwigs and stars at parties at the house. One party ended in the murder of a young actress, but no one was ever found guilty. As Faye's team uncovers a swimming pool from that era, a local librarian is hoping they uncover traces of murder. And, Faye herself makes a discovery of great importance, the journal of a priest who arrived in St. Augustine along with the soldiers who founded the city.
But, it's the disappearance of another young woman that causes the greatest disturbance at the house. When the owners' secretary disappears, leaving behind blood and a collection of priceless artifacts, a local police detective must rely on Faye's knowledge for help. He just doesn't realize the danger she's in. Even Joe, as protective as he is, has no idea what direction the danger will come from.
Two of these storylines are intertwined beautifully. The current disappearance, along with the actress' murder ninety years earlier, work together for a disturbing story. Unfortunately, the story of Father Domingo seems out of place. I found myself jarred out of the story each time his diary entries appeared, and I waited, unsuccessfully, for a link to the rest of the story. I'm sure I must have missed it, so I'm glad I'll have the change to see the author this week, and ask her about the connection.
I may have missed one connection, but I always learn so much from Mary Anna Evans' Faye Longchamp mysteries. Evans' skillfully uses archaeology as her own tool to tell us about forgotten history, and forgotten people. At the same time, she gives us a couple we've learned to care about, Faye Longchamp-Mantooth, and her husband, Joe. I hope they have a long history together in archaeological mysteries.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.