St. Martin's, Apr 2004, 23.95
For geologist Em Hansen her latest assignment is odd in terms of how she got the job while babysitting the infant daughter of her friend Faye Carter “don't call me” Latimer and what her client Tert Krehbeil who's affiliated with a museum hires her to investigate. Tert wants to know whether a painting allegedly done by renowned western artist Frederick Remington is genuine especially since the coloring is a bit different than the painter's usual works.
Em begins tracking the history of the painting, taking her from Cody, Wyoming where she had been visiting museums with baby Sloane when she got the job to Utah, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. However, the complex investigation turns ugly when someone begins poisoning the family members of Em's client. Soon Em realizes she may be on the short list of a killer whose motive is murky, but whose means and opportunities have been on target.
Though this tale starts differently than the fabulous previous treasures as Em is hired for her sleuthing reputation more than her bone hunting geological skills, EARTH COLORS is a wonderful and intelligent mystery. The story line combines two subplots that of the masterpiece investigation with a series of murders in which Em is the point of convergence. Though the art inquiries could have sustained the plot without the homicide fault line that feel more by the numbers than usual for this unique series, fans will enjoy Sarah Andrews' latest gold dust entry in what remains one of the most refreshing sleuths of the past few years.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner