Saturday, July 25, 2015

Isolation: A Faye Longchamp Mystery - Mary Anna Evans

Isolation: A Faye Longchamp Mystery
Mary Anna Evans
Poisoned Pen, Aug 4 2015, $26.95
ISBN 9781464204043

On Joyeuse Island, Florida Joe Wolf Mantooth worries about the behavior of his archeologist wife, Faye Longchamp-Mantooth who seems very distracted grieving over what she recently lost.  Her only focus is digging holes on their property as she neglects everything important like her health and their business; and though he urgently tries to believe otherwise their children (two years old Michael and seventeen years old Amande) and him.  He knows their perceptive teen away at camp will soon realize something is not right with mom.

Joe’s former convict father Sly arrives at his son’s Gulf Coast home.  Soon after that Micco County Sheriff and environmental inspector Gerry Steinberg arrives with a team looking into a poisonous leak that poses a health threat.  Genealogist Delia Scarsdale, accompanied by Oscar Croft, come to the Mantooth home seeking information on the latter’s great-great-grandfather Union soldier Elias Croft and Faye’s great-great-grandmother Cally Stanton who allegedly held him prisoner.  Meanwhile the murder of bar and grill owner Liz Colton and assaults on other women frighten the residents.

The fantastic ninth Faye Longchamp mystery (see Rituals, Strangers and Plunder) captures series fans throughout; starting with Joe’s opening lament.  The environmental and murder subplots are top rate, but it is the 1935 Federal Writers’ Project to record oral history (in this case a fictional account of the legend of Cally Stanton) that steals the show.

Harriet Klausner

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