Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In The Blood

In The Blood
Author: Steve Robinson
Amazon Digital Services, 2012
312 pages

When I was in third grade, my teacher had everyone write a one-page report on a topic of her choice. My topic was my mom, and in doing the research for that major publication I became aware of my French heritage. I've been hooked on genealogy ever since. Add that to my appreciation of a good mystery and you'll understand my excitement at discovering a wonderful new-to-me series that begins with In The Blood: A Genealogical Crime Mystery #1.

Our story begins when American genealogist Jefferson Theodore "JT" Tayte reluctantly sets off on a mission to Cornwall in southwest England to fill in some gaps in the family history of a wealthy Boston client. 'Reluctantly' because, you see, JT hates to fly. He's a rather quirky character (in a good way, of course) who drives a classic red Thunderbird, listens to show tunes, and eats too many Mr. Goodbars. An expert genealogist, his own heritage is a mystery: he's an adoptee who has so far been unable to determine his own family tree. The possibilities for growth in this character are practically limitless.

JT's in Cornwall to research the Fairborne family, loyalists who returned to their native England after the American Revolution. Thing is, James Fairborne's wife Eleanor and their children have been 'lost' to history. Records show that James married a woman named Susan and had children with her. But what happened to his first family? As he pokes around and gets to know some of the locals, it soon becomes clear that someone out there wants to keep JT from learning the real story, and they'll stop at nothing - even murder.

An old estate. An arrogant, wealthy politician. A lonely widow. Lots of other interesting characters. The hauntingly romantic Cornwall setting. An earworm of Chris de Burgh's "Don't Pay the Ferryman." OK, that last part was my own contribution -- but you'll understand when you read In The Blood. It all adds up to a satisfying, fast-paced escape from reality. In other words, my kind of read. Oh, and now I want to go to Cornwall. :)

Kudos to English author Steve Robinson for creating this wonderful character and series. I can't wait to read the other two available books (To The Grave and The Last Queen of England) and look forward to many, many more of these.