Title: Artifacts (Faye Longchamp Mysteries, No. 1)
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: 2003
Book Condition: Collectible: Like New
Dust Jacket Condition: Like New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by author on title page, Stated first edition with full number line. Bookseller Inventory # 8-2-63
Synopsis: Faye Longchamp has lost nearly everything except for her quick mind and a grim determination to hang onto her ancestral home, Joyeuse, a moldering plantation hidden along the Florida coast. No one knows how Faye?s great-great-grandmother Cally, a newly freed slave barely out of her teens, came to own Joyeuse in the aftermath of the Civil War. No one knows how her descendants hung onto it through Reconstruction, world wars, the Depression, and Jim Crow, but Faye has inherited the island plantation?and the family tenacity. When the property taxes rise beyond her means, she sets out to save Joyeuse by digging for artifacts on her property and the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge and selling them on the black market. A tiny bit of that dead glory would pay a year?s taxes. A big valuable chunk of the past would save her home forever.
But instead of potsherds and arrowheads, she uncovers a woman?s shattered skull, a Jackie Kennedy-style earring nestled against its bony cheek. Faye is torn. If she reports the forty-year-old murder, she?ll reveal her illegal livelihood, thus risking jail and the lose of Joyeuse. She doesn?t intend to let that happen, so she probes into the dead woman?s history, unaware that the past is rushing up on her like a hurricane across deceptively calm Gulf waters...
From the Author: I have always had a guilty passion for antebellum Southern domestic architecture, particularly in remote areas of the Deep South where traditional building materials of the time, like stone and cast iron and exotic wood, weren’t available and had to be "faked" by the use of carved cypress, handmade bricks, even mud and Spanish moss. The problem with these audacious homes is obvious: they were built by slave labor. I wanted to write a book that featured such a house—that gave it the status almost equal to that of the human characters. But how would any reader sympathize with a character who had inherited a mansion built by prisoners? Well, if the mansion was one step away from utter ruin and its owner was a descendant of the slaves that built it, maybe a reader would indeed care what happened to them. And that is how Faye and Joyeuse were born.
I did not intend Artifacts to have a strong romantic theme, so I created Joe to be the ideal sidekick for an independent woman. Kind, strong, and, yes, good-looking, but not Faye’s type. In my experience, intelligent women are attracted to intelligent men, so Joe was intended to be Faye’s true friend, but only that. Yet many people, women and men, have demanded to know why she doesn’t date him. Heck, most of them think she should marry him on the spot. I think Joe took on a life of his own as I wrote Artifacts, and every writer dreams of finding a character like that. He is more than I intended him to be. Will Faye ever notice his stellar qualities? That, my friends is another story—and another book (or two or three) entirely.
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