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Relics    by Mary Anna Evans order for
by Mary Anna Evans
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Budding archeologist Faye Longchamp arrives at a site in Alabama where the purpose of the dig is to discover the origins of the Sujosa people. This small pocket of a bloodline seems to be mostly resistant to disease notably AIDS. Hoping to be able to pinpoint the gene responsible, Faye and the scientific group hope to find an answer to where these people lived before their advent in the New World. Faye hadn't counted on the fire that destroyed the house she was sleeping, in nor the death that occurred in that fire. Her focus on her work is shattered when a second death is discovered.

This is an intriguing story told well by an author who knows her subject. The tracing of a clan's ancestry, by using shards of pottery and words to old songs, is utterly fascinating. When woven into a murder mystery, this fan couldn't ask for anything more. Set in rural Alabama, this story introduces me to one of the many parts of the United States with which I am not familiar. Now I feel I am. I liked Faye very much in this third in her series. She is dedicated but full of compassion always aware of her feelings for others. This does not stop her, however, from doing the right thing.

The characterization of Raleigh, the work crew's boss, was so right on the money that I hated him instantly. Naturally, I loved Joe, Faye's assistant, right away, but wished there was a little more to flesh him out. Relics is a really good book with lots of excitement and suspense to while away soft summer evenings.

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