BATON ROUGE, LA — From Mary H. Manhein, the internationally known head of LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services, or FACES, Lab, comes her first fiction work, the murder mystery “Floating Souls: The Canal Murders,” now available from Margaret Media Inc.
“Though I have written two non-fiction books about my career, I have always wanted to write a novel where I could combine my real-life background in forensic anthropology with my love for spinning a tale,” Manhein said. “I am so excited about ‘Floating Souls,’ the first in a series of fictional accounts about the life of forensic anthropologist Maggie Andrepont and her adventures in the Big Easy.”
When bodies of young women are found floating in New Orleans drainage canals, Andrepont is called in to help find a pattern to the homicides and to profile a perpetrator. Complicating matters, an old flame from graduate school days, now Minister of Antiquities in Rome, asks for her immediate assistance in sorting out the mystery of ancient bodies found in a famous campanile in Venice, Italy.
Juggling work on corpses on two continents challenges Andrepont in ways no one could have predicted. Though confident in her expertise as a forensic anthropologist, Andrepont is not as secure in her personal life. A secret history with the parish coroner, an overeager amateur archeologist and intrusions by a documentary producer all distract her from the mission at hand. Someone is stalking Andrepont, who and why makes for a startling conclusion to this compact and fascinating sleuthing experience.
Malcolm Shuman, author of “The Levee,” said of “Floating Souls,” “Elegant, informative and masterfully crafted, this story announces an exciting new talent in the world of mystery fiction. Manhein brings to ‘Floating Souls’ all the knowledge of her many years as a successful forensic anthropologist and all her considerable understanding of human nature.”
David Madden, author of “Abducted by Circumstance,” said, “Mary Manhein as scientist and as literary artist, knows how to activate the reader’s emotions, imagination and intellect to make her fiction as real as the reader can endure, right on through the shocking revelations at the end.”
Manhein, commonly referred to as “The Bone Lady” for her work in forensic anthropology, will hold a book signing event at Barnes & Noble, located at 7707 Bluebonnet Boulevard in Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge on Saturday, July 14, from 1-3 p.m. Other book signing events will be scheduled in the near future.
Manhein holds a master’s degree in anthropology and has more than 27 years of experience as a forensic anthropologist. In addition to being the director of the FACES Lab, she is director of the Louisiana Repository for Unidentified and Missing Persons Information Program and is a professional in residence at LSU. Manhein, a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, has handled more than 1,000 forensic cases and is called on by law enforcement agencies all over the United States.
Manhein is also the author of two books on forensic anthropology, “The Bone Lady: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist” and “Trail of Bones: More Cases from the Files of a Forensic Anthropologist.” She lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, Bill, three dogs and two cats. She lectures frequently on her work.