Mary Anna Evans
Poisoned Pen PressScottsdale, AZ
$ 14.95250 pages
Most of us think of archaeologists as people who are outside digging in the dirt searching for ancient ruins. That is not a complete picture of these historians. Frequently they are hired in the uncatalogued files of museum archives looking for that special document or picture that will give instantaneous notoriety.Faye Longchamp Mantooth has been hired to discover proof of spirituality in the small community of Rosebower, New York. This town is proud of its numerous practitioners conducting seances communicating with the spirits of those departed and those special relationships with Tarot cards and crystal balls to predict the future with fortune telling . Realistically, Faye does not believe in the occult and is wondering how the museum owner will react en she fails to discover any evidence. Fortunately, she is able to hire an assistant and finds that this is perfect for her recently adopted seventeen-year-old daughter, Amande. This could be an opportunity for them to work more together and get to know each other better. Unfortunately, this also separates her from her husband and two-year old son.
Establishing friendships and relations with the people of the community along with their questionable practices of levitating tables, spirits speaking, and crystal ball is fascinating for Faye and Amande but immediately the two are distracted by the unfortunate death of a local soothsayer.
Rituals is unusual with its mystery of the occult inside the mystery of the suspicious death of Tilda Armstead whose "utter honesty" in readings made her a community leader. An investigator quickly discovers that the inside room in Tilda's house had been nailed shut from the outside, trapping her in the burning house. However, Tilda had escaped from the burning house and died of smoke inhalation. How did she escape the burning room? Where is the crystal ball that resided in the room? Why is it missing from the burned remains of the house?
Being near to Seneca Falls, New York, Rosebower had frequent visitors from many feminists early in the twentieth century such as Lucretia Mott. Could this town have been instrumental also with feminism?
Lurking throughout the town is Antonia Caruso, also known as Toni the Astonisher, a former magician's assistant/reporter who is searching for proof of the fraudulent ways of the town.
Rituals is a fast-read with strong human relationships complete with doubts, guilt, anxiousness, and murder. Even though this is the eighth novel in Mary Anne Evans' series which can be a stand alone novel. The character development is refreshed for those new readers and to refresh those readers of the previous novels.
Mary Anne Evans is the award-winning author of this series of archeological mysteries featuring Faye Longchamp. Trained as a chemical engineer, Mary Anne Evans integrates her multitude of interests into her stories of Faye.
Rituals is an interesting, realistically written novel that is well-organized and planned with a warm feeling from phenomenally developed characters.