Mary Anna Evans,
(Poisoned Pen, 2012)

Archaeologist Faye Longchamp and her Native American husband Joe Mantooth are in Louisiana, rushing to complete a site survey before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill reaches that area of the Gulf of Mexico.

Faye befriends Amande, a bright 16-year-old girl with an interest in archaeology, and hires her as a babysitter. Then Amande's grandmother and an uncle are murdered.

Just before the murders, Amande learned she shares a small inheritance from her deceased mother's estate with a stepfather she'd never met and her mother's sister. The inheritance -- the small houseboat on which Amande and her grandmother lived, a few shares of oil stock and an island the lawyer says is virtually worthless -- hardly seems a motive for murder.

But is there more? Some silver coins found by the girl on the island are stolen. A diver skulking around the scene and making an effort to befriend Amande drops hints of pirate treasure. As the double threat of murder and the approaching oil slick loom, Faye risks her own life to save Amande.

Plunder draws together a number of my personal interests: mystery, archaeology, lost treasure and the environment. Toss in Louisiana's unusual inheritance laws, well-drawn characters (including a bevy of scoundrels and dysfunctional relatives), an intriguing plot, lots of action and even a bit of voodoo, and I was hooked.

This is the seventh in this series, but the first I've read. I'll be sure to check out more.

book review by
John R. Lindermuth

19 May 2012

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