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Effigies by Mary Anna Evans
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I like this series, but then I've always like the world of archeology. I greatly admire their attempts to document history while not totally destroying the things that many people hold dear. The Native American's have suffered greatly in this, being moved around the country, having their sacred grounds dug up, etc. The delicate balance that Faye is trying to keep in this book rings very true for me.

I plan on reading more in this fascinating series. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
Archaeologist Faye Longchamp and her friend, Joe Wolf Mantooth, have traveled to Neshoba County, Mississippi, to help excavate a site near Nanih Waiya, the sacred mound where tradition says the Choctaw nation was born. When farmer Carroll Calhoun refuses their request to investigate an ancient Native American mound, Faye and her colleagues are disappointed, but his next action breaks their hearts: he tries to bulldoze the huge relic to the ground.

Faye and Joe rush to protect history--with their bodies, if necessary. Soon the Choctaws arrive to defend the mound and the farmer's white and black neighbors come to defend his property rights. Though a popular young sheriff is able to defuse the situation, tempers are short.

That night, Calhoun is found dead, his throat sliced with a handmade stone blade. Was he killed by an archaeologist, angered by his wanton destruction of history? Neshoba County farmers have been plowing up stone tools like the murder weapon for centuries. Did one of them take this chance to even the score with an old rival?

The sheriff is well-aware that Faye and Joe were near the spot where Calhoun's body was found and their combined knowledge of stone tools is impressive. They had motive, means, and opportunity....but so does almost everyone in Neshoba County. (Summary from Good Reads)

Tempers are hot in Mississippi as an archaeological team planning to dig on one of the archaeologists own land spots a Native American Mound and can't resist the urge to poke around in it. When the owner of the land, Mr. Calhoun, spots them not only does he threaten to bulldoze the mound, but the people protecting it themselves. Faye of course, is determined to get a look at the mound legally, or illegally, and one night as she and Joe are investigating it, someone, presumably Calhoun races at them with a bulldozer with enough power to plow down trees. Joe with his uncanny ability to traverse through nature leads Faye to safety only to find a pot farm in the middle of a clearing in the woods and someone chasing them, again presumably, Calhoun. But then they find Calhoun dead at the site of the pot farm and everyone is confused including the small town sheriff.

Throw in a senator come back to seek justice for the near death beating he took when he was eighteen in the same county who keeps passing out, then seems to be fine in the hospital and relapses every two days out of the hospital. Add an unwilling widow to let the excavation of the mound occur and an Atlanta lobbyist after Faye's heart and there is a tangled mess to sort out. Again, without realizing it, Faye is caught in the middle, figuring things out slowly, pointing the finger first one way then another until a harrowing conclusion finds her, Joe and another archaeologist in a fight against nature for their lives. The downfall of the murderer is anticlimactic after what Faye has been through the previous night. And when Ross, the lawyer/ lobbyist dating Faye sees her with Joe he realizes he has some competition whether she knows it or not.

In this book, Faye appreciates Joe more. She still treats him a little like a child, but only because of his trusting nature. She trusts his instincts with nature completely. She notices him more. He changes from his homemade buckskin pants to jeans and a plaid shirt and she notices, but she likes him better in his old stuff. Yet she still thinks, "Wow" when she sees him. Joe is also smart enough to know the things she likes about him and he plays on those things. Their relationship is definitely growing closer, but she is dating Ross who shows up in the next book.

Effigies was very intense in the final confrontation with the killer. I knew Faye would live, but I wasn't sure about the archaeologist with them. It was dramatic and I could feel their fears and panic. I had to stop reading at times, but I can't tell you why because it would give details away which would spoil it. This would be a great book for anyone who loves archaeology, history, books about Mississippi, mysteries and Native American folk lore as one of the characters tells some of the stories of the Choctaw Native Americans. This is an unforgettable novel. ( )
  hrose2931 | Sep 24, 2010 |
First Line: Faye Longchamp had work to do, but it would wait.

From her ramshackle ancestral home on an island off the coast of Florida, Faye Longchamp and her assistant Joe Wolf Mantooth have traveled to Mississippi to help excavate a site near the sacred mound where tradition says the Choctaw Nation was born. Carroll Calhoun refuses to allow the archaeologists on his farm to investigate an even larger mound, and they are disappointed, but Calhoun breaks their hearts when he tries to bulldoze the ancient site into oblivion. When the farmer later turns up dead, Faye finds herself trying to find the killer before Joe Wolf Mantooth is thrown in jail.

I love mysteries laced with a strong dose of archaeology, and in my opinion, Evans' series featuring Faye Longchamp is the best of the bunch. She's got a fine cast of characters; she uses her settings to advantage; and she always seems able to include more history and archaeology into her stories than many other writers. Effigies is no exception. Ever since I visited Cahokia as a child, I've been fascinated with the Mound Builders. Evans added to my knowledge in an entertaining way. She also threw me right in the middle of the heat and humidity of Mississippi amongst rednecks, scholars, law enforcement, the Choctaw and handed me a mystery to sort out. The only weakness in the whole thing was the identity of the bad guy. I figured it out early on, but I didn't much care because I still had to deduce the Why. Well, that and the fact that I was enjoying playing around in the dirt with Faye again.

If you're in the mood for mysteries with interesting, multi-faceted characters, an excellent sense of place, and a good dose of history and archaeology, you can't go wrong with Mary Anna Evans' series. Go ahead. Pick up a trowel and work in a trench with Faye. You'll be glad you did. ( )
  cathyskye | May 20, 2010 |
Archaeology student Faye Longchamp and her friend Joe Wolf Mantooth are in Neshoba County, Mississippi, to help excavate and catalog artifacts from an area that's soon to be bulldozed for a state highway. The site is literally in the back yard of one of the team members, Oka Hofobi Nail, who was practicing archaeology long before he earned his PhD.

An unfriendly neighbor of the Nail family, whose Native American ancestors remained in Mississippi while others were being relocated to Oklahoma via the Trail of Tears, wants to keep the archaeologists off his property; he uses a bladed tractor to intimidate them. But when Carroll Calhoun uses his blade to cut into an effigy mound on his property, he gets Faye's dander up. She throws herself between the tractor and the mound and brings the law, in the person of county sheriff Neely Rutland, into the standoff. Calhoun isn't a problem for long because he turns up dead - his throat slit, possibly with a sharp stone tool like those the archaeologists have unearthed.

While they're in Mississippi, the head archaeologist encourages his crew to visit the Neshoba County Fair. While there, they meet a former Michigan Congressman, who reveals for the first time how, as a young black man in 1965 Neshoba County, he was kidnapped, beaten and barely escaped lynching at the hands of the local Ku Klux Klan. Faye, whose family tree includes Native American, African-American and Caucasian ancestors, feels compelled to help Congressman Judd learn the identities of the guilty KKK members, some of who may still be alive. And Carroll Calhoun could have been involved.

Mary Anna Evans is a master at integrating her sleuth's job into the story. For her, archaeology is not an add-on - it is on every page and at the heart of the story. Her passion for and deep knowledge of the subject brings archaeology to life for readers without drowning them in details or slowing the pace even a tiny bit. Effigies, third book in the Faye Longchamp series, is a no-doubt-about-it gem of a book with flawless writing and great plotting. It is no wonder Mary Anna Evans' books are used by teachers of science, history and English to ignite students' interest. The book even includes a study guide. Awarded five quills (out of five possible -- a "must read").

By Diana. First published in Mystery News, February-March 2007 edition. ( )
  NewsieQ | Mar 6, 2007 |
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Archaeologist Faye Longchamp and her Native American friend Joe Wolf Mantooth are in Neshoba County, Mississippi, working on an excavation near Nanih Waiya, the sacred mound that is said to be the birthplace of the Choctaw Nation. A nearby farm has an ancient mound that appears to be rich in artifacts, but the owner, Carroll Calhoun, refuses to let the team investigate. In fact, he gets on his tractor and tries to bulldoze the mound along with a few of the archaeologists. The local sheriff diffuses the situation, but, later, Calhoun turns up dead. Since the murder weapon is a handmade stone blade, and Faye and Joe were nearby, they become suspects. As the two work to clear themselves, the county's history of racism surfaces.… (more)

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