Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Artifacts by Mary Ann Evans

Author: Mary Ann Evans
First published in April 2003 by Poisoned Pen Press

Faye Longchamp has lost nearly everything except for her quick mind and a grim determination to hang onto her ancestral home, Joyeuse, a moldering plantation hidden along the Florida coast. No one knows how Faye's great-great-grandmother Cally, a newly freed slave barely out of her teens, came to own Joyeuse in the aftermath of the Civil War. No one knows how her descendants hung onto it through Reconstruction, world wars, the Depression, and Jim Crow, but Faye has inherited the island plantation--and the family tenacity. When the property taxes rise beyond her means, she sets out to save Joyeuse by digging for artifacts on her property and the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge and selling them on the black market. A tiny bit of that dead glory would pay a year's taxes. A big valuable chunk of the past would save her home forever.

Artifacts recently showed up on my library's audiobook site and it looked perfect for a Throwback Thursday listen. On occasion, I am in the mood for a good mystery.  Artifacts was just that; a good mystery with interesting characters.  Faye is a mostly self taught archeologist who is working for a local dig when a couple of her co-workers are murdered.  She holds a few secrets, so she tries her best not to get involved.  It quickly becomes apparent, however, that their deaths may be related to the body that she herself found while digging for artifacts to sell on the black market.  That is the basic outline of how the story begins.  The story itself is much more involved and convoluted.  You never know who to trust.  The mystery was engaging and well thought out.

I had to admire Faye and her determination to do whatever it took to save her ancestral home.  Even going so far as to trash it so that the tax collector would think it was abandoned.  At one point, Faye finds a diary and other documents that slowly reveal how the house came to be past down to her.  It was an interesting family history.  I also loved the relationship between Joe and Faye.  Joe is a simple man with simple ways.  Their friendship is genuine and you can tell that they have come to care for each other.  

It looks like there are, so far, 7 books in this series.  The latest just came out last year.  I know I will be looking for the next one, Relics soon.

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