Archaeologist Faye Longchamp discovers an emerald, loses a friend and works to solve more than one mystery.
Faye has returned to Joyeuse Island, in Florida, where she and her housemate Joe Wolf Mantooth are restoring the plantation house and excavating a nearby site her family once owned. Cataloging finds from the Turkey Foot Hotel site in the tiny basement lab of her beloved mentor Douglass Everett, Faye finds an emerald amid the dross. When Douglass’s wife discovers him barely clinging to life among the splintered shards of Faye’s work, the only thing missing are Faye’s field notes. Devastated by Douglass’s death but ever the digger among historical nuggets, Faye embarks on a search for the origin of the emerald and clues to the murder. The county sheriff is happy that she has Joe as a bodyguard. Not so her friend Ross Donnelly, the activist lawyer who wants her to marry him and move to Atlanta. The letters between a Confederate gentleman and his wife offer not only hints to the emerald’s history but a possible explanation for the sudden interest of pot hunters in her dig. A second death and several ruthless attempts to discourage her only spur Faye on to unmask the criminals and identify the whereabouts of a historical treasure trove.
Faye’s capable fourth (Effigies, 2007, etc.) is a charming mixture of history, mystery and romance.