Genealogists Solving Mysteries


Curious genealogists put their investigative skills to work in these mystery novels.


Killing Cousins

Rett MacPherson

After the recent birth of her third child, Missouri genealogist Torie O'Shea is itching to get back to work. When she's approached to research and write a book about a recently deceased local woman who attained fame in the thirties and forties as a jazz singer, Torie figures she's found her new project. But her preliminary research turns up a startling piece of the woman's past: her infant son was kidnapped from his cradle in 1938 and never seen again. Back in the present day, the mayor of New Kassell, Bill Castlereagh, is fixing to legalize riverboat gambling in the small historic village, which has Torie and her neighbors up in arms, terrorized by visions of neon lights and dancing girls invading their quaint, picaresque town. Torie knows she has to do something to stop the mayor's plan before it gets started, but she's finding it hard to tear herself away from her research. She just can't stop herself from wondering what happened to that little baby all those years ago. And then a stranger in town turns up dead, throwing the town further into an uproar. Torie's got plenty on her plate, but with her knack for small town politics, expertise in genealogical research, a lot of perseverance, and a little luck, Torie might ferret out the truth behind a bizarre crime from the past with a dangerous reach into the present.

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Always Time to Die

Elizabeth Lowell

Former U.S. Senator Quintrell is dead. His son, New Mexico's governor, is preparing his run for the highest political office in the land. And dark family secrets are about to explode with the devastating force of a Southwestern earthquake. An eccentric Quintrell aunt has invited genealogist Carolina "Carly" May to their Taos compound to compile a record of the illustrious family. But digging into the past is raising troubling questions about a would-be president's private life . . . and the grisly street crime that left his drug-addicted sister dead. As a dark world of twisted passions and depravity slowly opens up before Carly, there is no one whom she dares trust -- perhaps least of all Dan Duran, a dangerous, haunted enigma who's tied to the Quintrells' history. But she will need an ally to survive the terrible mysteries a father carried to the grave -- because following the bloodlines of the powerful can be a bloody business. And some dead secrets can kill.

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Claws for Concern

Miranda James

Charlie Harris is busy enjoying his new grandson when a mysterious man with a connection to Charlie's family starts visiting the library, bringing with him troubling questions about an unsolved murder... Charlie may be a proud new grandfather, but he and Diesel still have work to do at Athena College and the small Mississippi town's public library. He's too busy to deal with true-crime writer Jack Pemberton, who wants Charlie as the subject of his latest book--and who won't take no for an answer. A more appealing proposition for Charlie is spending time helping a kind, elderly man navigate the library's genealogical database. But he's shocked when he learns that the visitor's search is focused on a member of his own family: his late aunt's husband. Charlie befriends the man and considers inviting him to stay in his home, but he's soon given reason to question that notion. Jack is certain that Charlie's new houseguest was involved in a shocking homicide that took place years ago in a small town near Athena. As this cold case heats up, Charlie and Diesel have to uncover a killer who may already be too close to home...

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Picture Them Dead

Brynn Bonner

In this third cozy whodunit in the Family History Mystery series, a professional genealogist duo searches for the link between a death from long ago and a modern-day murder. As a professional genealogist, I’ve seen enough skeletons come dancing out of closets to get a respectable conga line formed up. But they’ve always been metaphorical skeletons. Until today. When genealogists Sophreena McClure and Esme Sabatier are called on by Detective Jenny Jeffers to help figure out who the corpse in the backyard of her father’s house is, they reluctantly agree. Known for figuring out the unusual, Sophreena and Esme do their best to uncover the mystery behind the corpse, and the glass coffin he’s buried in. Word soon spreads about the bizarre burial site, leading the people of Morningside to “adopt” the corpse and begin leaving mementos in memoriam for him. But when the body of a young woman is found near the memorial, the duo has another task on their hands: to dig into the past of the house’s previous owners. Could the clues to a recent murder finally help this soul rest in peace?

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A Comedy of Heirs

Rett MacPherson

Amidst planning for Christmas and the annual family reunion, Torie O'Shea barely has time to indulge in her hobby, genealogical research. But preparing for the reunion--and the influx of relatives--piques her curiosity about her own family tree. When Torie discovers that her own great-grandfather was murdered, and that her great-uncle was the main suspect, she never dreams that the past history she thought was long-buried could resurface in the present in such a deadly way.

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In Sheep’s Clothing

Rett MacPherson

When genealogist Torie O'Shea gets an invitation from her favorite aunt, Sissy, to come and spend some time with her in Minnesota she jumps at the chance. She piles her husband and her father-in-law into the car, leaving her two daughters in the care of her mother back home in Missouri, and hits the road, looking forward to some relaxation and some family bonding. Once they arrive, Torie finds out that her aunt's invitation was not so innocent: Sissy has uncovered a 150-year-old diary in the attic of her home and is dying to find out who wrote it and where it came from. Certain she won't be able to find anything, Torie reluctantly dives in. She is immediately riveted by the author's story; a young Swedish woman living with her family in 1850s rural Minnesota, she had fallen in love with a man she couldn't have. When the diary ends abruptly with hints of brutal violence, Torie becomes enmeshed in a deadly mystery passed down through generations-and still festering today.

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