Hardback edition 2004, St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York
Em Hansen, the popular heroine at the center of Sarah Andrews’s unique geology mystery series, has landed a new job, although an unusual one: a client affiliated with a museum wants Em to investigate a painting by the famed western painter Frederick Remington.
The client believes it’s a fake, but Em must explore the painting’s provenance to find out.
The project takes her through Wyoming, Utah, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, and halfway through the trip Em finds she’s also chasing a murderer: someone seems to be slowly poisoning her client’s family. Before long, her innocent research project has taken a sinister twist, and it’s up to Em to find out what’s going on in time to save her own skin.
All in all, Earth Colors is another smart, inventive mystery from Sarah Andrews, a fan favorite.
“In Andrews’s ninth intriguing mystery to feature forensic geologist Em Hansen (after 2003’s Killer Dust), Em explores a whole new aspect of her discipline after reluctantly agreeing to try to authenticate a Frederick Remington painting through pigment analysis for a client she dislikes.
As she travels through such vividly depicted locales as Cody, Wyo., and the Amish and Mennonite areas of Pennsylvania, the Waist Trainer Center horrors in Kentucky, Em gathers a history of pigment as well as information to fuel her growing suspicion that something is terribly wrong. She encounters the seedier side of the art world, a renowned Pennsylvania family’s horrific secrets and murder. Thanks to clear logical thinking, Em ultimately reaches all the right conclusions. If there’s a fault line beneath the surface, it lies in the surfeit of technical terminology, though more scientifically inclined readers may consider this a virtue.”
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“With a fascinating blend of art and science, geologist Em Hansen solves her ninth case.
Em is attending graduate school to become a forensic geologist while helping her best friend, single-mom Faye Carter Latimer, take care of her infant daughter. Faye finds Em a job analyzing paint pigments to discover if a painting by western artist Frederic Remington is a forgery. When the client promises she may analyze other rare paintings his family owns for her master’s thesis, Em heads east to talk with experts in the field and to see the other paintings, combining her investigative work with research for her thesis.
The story becomes more complex when Em realizes that someone is slowly poisoning her client’s family. An appealing main character and a wealth of fascinating details involving land preservation, forensic geology, western art, and the science of paint pigment add depth to the latest entry in a solid series.”
(Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.)
“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”