S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.
Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.
Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.
Professional genealogist Lucy Lancaster, the heroine of Perkins's fun debut, is hired by Gus, the patriarch of Texas's Halloran clan, to delve into his family history, but what she finds is proof that Gus's great-great-grandfather's death in 1849 was no accident. The incriminating evidence points to someone only identified as C.A., whom Lucy has narrowed down to two suspects, one of whom is the great-great-great-grandfather of present-day Senator Daniel Applewhite, who happens to be running for reelection against Gus's son, Pearce. For all her hard work, Gus treats Lucy to a sumptuous meal where Lucy over-imbibes and, combined with her antihistamine, ends up completely blotto. Gus drags her into an impromptu press announcement, prematurely naming Applewhite's ancestor as a murderer. This unlocks a chain of events that endangers Lucy, involves the Feds, and leads to a murder. Lucy's officemates and other quirky friends add spice to this delightful cozy. Readers will look forward to Lucy's further adventures. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency.
MURDER ONCE REMOVED is a delightful book. Full of intrigue, humor, and endearing characters, this wonderful debut kept me engrossed from beginning to end. The mystery is creative, and the ending is satisfying. Cozy fans won't be disappointed.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
I can’t wait for another story with all lease great characters. If you love mysteries and genealogy, this is the book for you.
I could not wait to see what kind of trouble Lucy was going to get herself in. She has a little bit Lucille Ball to her.
An Ancestry Detective Mystery
Murder Once Removed is unique for cozy mysteries. Our main character, Lucy Lancaster is a genealogist who runs a company called Ancestry Investigations. She can uncover your ancestors, provide a family tree, obtain photographs, and so much more (I had no idea). Lucy can provide a beautifully bound book and a website for her clients is they desire. She uses land records, census records, journals, photographs and numerous other resources (there is a veritable font of information available if you know where to look). I would have liked more information on Lucy and for her to come across as a more mature main character (not the best idea to get blotto in front of a client). Though I do find it appealing that she is a Downton Abbey fan. There are two intertwined mysteries in Murder Once Removed. The death of Seth Halloran from 1849 and the current murder of Winnie Dell. I like how the two mysteries relate to each other and that they were wrapped up at the end of the book. There is action as Lucy evades the killer. She asks questions and does research to solve the two crimes. I do wish that the modern mystery had been laid out differently. It is the type that plays out with little opportunity for the reader to solve (which is my favorite part). There is interesting genealogical information and history included in the story (though I am still baffled by the once removed—there is a handy chart included). Special Agent Ben Turner was an interesting, handsome and charming character. His history background gives him plenty in common with Lucy who finds him attractive. There were sparks flying between the pair. I liked the humorous dialogue between them at the end (made me laugh). Murder Once Removed is an enticing new cozy mystery that will appeal to the history and genealogy enthusiasts.