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A Fugitive Truth: An Emma Fielding Mystery    by Dana Cameron order for
Fugitive Truth
by Dana Cameron
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Dr. Emma Fielding is an archaeologist who is researching the life of Margaret Chandler, the privileged wife of a jurist in 18th century New England. Emma's excavation of Madam Chandler's home is complete and she's now researching the lady's past through historic diaries and publications. Emma has received a grant to study through the Shrewsbury Foundation in western Massachusetts, where there is a family-owned, extensive library with holdings of rare and historic books, publications, and periodicals - including Madam Chandler's diaries.

Upon Emma's arrival at the Shrewsbury Foundation, things begin to go awry and people's behavior borders on bizarre. The security guards are overbearing and rude. The three other Shrewsbury Foundation fellows (Jack, Michael, and Faith) staying at the historic gothic mansion on the grounds are equally strange in their own ways. Emma settles in, researching with help from two librarians employed by the Foundation, Harry and Sasha. Emma finds dark secrets encoded in Madam Chandler's diary, along with the shocking revelation that she was an accused witch and murderess. Before Emma can make sense of her findings, one of the Shrewsbury Foundation fellows winds up dead. After the killer strikes again, Emma, reluctant to abandon her research of Madam Chandler, finds herself embroiled in the investigation of gruesome crimes from the past and in the present.

This book will delight mystery fans. Emma is a strong, interesting protagonist and the author's background in archaeology is extensive. The gothic setting, quirky Fellows and staff, the dark beauty of the Shrewsbury compound, and the encoded secrets in Madam Chandler's diary provide an excellent backdrop for murder. There are plenty of suspects and a pleasant tension exists throughout the novel as Emma digs for the truth. A Fugitive Truth, the fourth book in the Emma Fielding series, is a hit.

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