The venerable historical city of St. Augustine, Fla., is the setting for the latest archaeological adventure of Faye Longchamp and her husband, Joe Wolf Mantooth.
With the economy in shambles, a heavily pregnant Faye is thrilled to have landed a job for the new consulting firm she and her husband have founded. The site of their investigation is Dunkirk Manor, a Gilded Age mansion run as a B&B by Daniel and Suzanne Wrather, whose garden must be excavated for historic objects before they can install a swimming pool. The team quickly discovers the remains of a former pool, several long-buried baby artifacts—and some even older items. But it is a book found in the dusty attic that most thrills Faye. Soon she’s staying up nights translating the diary of a Spanish priest who arrived in 1565 with the founder of St. Augustine. When lovely young Glynis, who works at the Manor, brings Faye priceless artifacts, refuses to reveal where they were found and then disappears, Faye goes into sleuthing mode. The discovery of Glynis’s boyfriend, whose body is found in the river, leaves her wealthy developer father frantic for leads, and the police soon hire Faye as a consultant. An unsolved 1920s murder, dead babies, illegal building and the reputedly haunted mansion all play a role in Faye’s dangerous search for answers.
Evans’s excellent series (Floodgates, 2008, etc.) continues to combine solid mysteries and satisfying historical detail.