On May 4, 2017, Steve Robinson is scheduled to release his latest Jefferson Tayte mystery, Dying Games. Although this is the sixth book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
A murderer who leaves a family history chart at each crime scene and all the victims have a connection to Jefferson Tayte. Tayte finds himself up against a genealogical mastermind, who is determined to ruin him. Will Jefferson Tayte be the final victim?
Since initial posts on this topic over the years, I have been accumulating and reading new books, authors, and series in this sub-genre, which is really taking off. For those of you who also enjoy genealogy and reading mysteries, this is my comprehensive list of all genealogy mysteries that I have discovered to date and contains any new books I have discovered since I published my last post in September 2017.
The Latest Discoveries and Other New Releases
The Wynderbury Mysteries by Victoria Prescott feature historian Rob Tyler to combine historical and family research into a newly discovered series.
- The Plantagenet Mystery (2014) – Kindle
- The Hawthorn Villa Secret (2016) – Kindle
The Somme Legacy starring former police detective now genealogical investigator Jayne Sinclair by M J Lee takes us to the trenches of World War I in the Battle of the Somme. See below for other books in this series.
John Nixon’s star family historian, Madeleine Porter, is appearing again in Unearthed. This, the fifth Madeleine Porter story, is the familiar mix of family history, mystery, sadness and happiness. See below for other books in this series.
The Nigel Barnes series by Dan Waddell is being released in Kindle format starting with the first book, Blood Detective. See below for other books in this series.
Series Family History Mysteries
The Nick Herald series by Jimmy Fox features a professional genealogist in New Orleans, Louisiana
• Deadly Pedigree (2001) – Kindle
• Lineages and Lies (2002) – Kindle
• Jackpot Blood (2014) – Kindle
The Danny O’Flaherty series by Jonathan Harrington stars an American teacher researching his family’s roots in Ireland and New York City.
• The Death of Cousin Rose (1996) – Paperback
• The Second Sorrowful Mystery (1999) – Paperback
• A Great Day for Dying (2001) – Paperback
The Lottie Albright series by Charlotte Hinger features a historian and editor for the county historical society in a small town in Western Kansas.
• Deadly Descent (2009) – Kindle
• Lethal Lineage (2011) – Kindle
• Hidden Heritage (2013) – Kindle
The Demary Jones series by E. L. Larkin (deceased) is set in Seattle, Washington, with Demary as the owner of Confidential Research, specializing in genealogy and historical research.
• Hear My Cry (1997) – Hardcover
• Hear Me Die (1998) – Hardcover
• Die and Die (1998) – Paperback
• Dead Men Die (1999) – Hardcover
• The Swallow Murders (1999) – Hardcover
• Die in Texas (2002) – Hardcover
Victory (Torie) O’Shea, a genealogist in New Kassel, Missouri, is ably portrayed in a series by Rett MacPherson. Now all available in Kindle editions.
• Family Skeletons (2014) – Kindle
• A Veiled Antiquity (2013) – Kindle
• A Comedy of Heirs (2014) – Kindle
• A Misty Mourning (2000) – Kindle
• Killing Cousins (2002) – Kindle
• Blood Relations (2014) – Kindle
• In Sheep’s Clothing (2014) – Kindle
• Thicker Than Water (2005) – Kindle
• Dead Man Running (2006) – Kindle
• Died in the Wool (2014) – Kindle
• The Blood Ballad (2014) – Kindle
Natasha Blake, a genealogist in the Cotswolds in England appears in the series by Fiona Mountain.
• Pale as the Dead (2004) – Kindle
• Bloodline (2015) – Kindle
Fay Sampson is the author of the Suzie Fewings books a series about a genealogist discovering interesting secrets in her family history in England.
• In the Blood (2009) – Paperback
• A Malignant House (2010) – Paperback
• Those in Peril (2010) – Paperback
• Father Unknown (2011) – Kindle
• The Overlooker (2012) – Kindle
• Beneath the Soil (2014) – Kindle
The Family Tree mysteries by Patricia Sprinkle feature Katherine Murray as an amateur genealogist who finds strange events in the past.
• Death on the Family Tree (2007) – Kindle
• Sins of the Fathers (2007) – Paperback
• Daughter of Deceit (2008) – Kindle
Mort Sinclair, a respected genealogist and lawyer on Fogge Island off the New England coast, stars in a series by Gene Stratton. Gene Stratton, a much-traveled former CIA case officer, is a well-known genealogist who has had two prior books published: Plymouth Colony and Applied Genealogy.
• Killing Cousins (1999) – Hardcover
• Cornish Conundrum (2000) – Kindle
The Nigel Barnes series by Dan Waddell concerns a professional genealogist who assists the police, mainly Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster in London, England. This series is now being released in the Kindle format.
• The Blood Detective (2017) – Kindle
• Blood Atonement (2009) – Hardcover
Patrick Day’s series starring Anna Fitzgerald, a career detective with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division, who becomes entangled with genealogy to trace old coins in this first book of the series.
• Murders and Genealogy in Hennepin County (2012) – Kindle
Simon Shaw, professor of history and “forensic historian” in Raleigh, North Carolina, in a series by Sarah R. Shaber, uses his expertise in historical and genealogical research to help solve murders that have their roots in the past.
• Simon Said (1997) – Kindle
• Snipe Hunt (2000) – Kindle
• The Fugitive King (2002) – Kindle
• The Bug Funeral (2004) – Kindle
• Shell Game (2007) – Kindle
The Alex & Briggie mysteries by G. G. Vandagriff, team up a spunky young widow and her rifle-toting grandmother, who run a genealogy research business called RootSearch, Inc. that seems to specialize in solving murders.
• Cankered Roots (2011) – Kindle
• Of Deadly Descent (2011) – Kindle
• Tangled Roots (2011) – Kindle
• Poisoned Pedigree (2012) – Kindle
• The Hidden Branch (2011) – Kindle
The Jefferson Tayte mysteries by Steve Robinson feature a professional genealogist who ferrets out family secrets and old mysteries using genealogy research primarily in the UK. Highly recommended.
• In the Blood (2011) – Kindle
• To the Grave (2012) – Kindle
• The Last Queen of England (2012) – Kindle
• The Lost Empress (2014) – Kindle
• Kindred (2016) – Kindle
• Dying Games (May 4, 2017) – Kindle
In the Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist series by Nathan Dylan Goodwin, we discover a stubborn, determined man who uses whatever means necessary to uncover the past. Highly recommended.
• Hiding the Past (2013) – Kindle
• The Lost Ancestor (2014) – Kindle
• The Orange Lilies: A Morton Farrier novella (2014) – Kindle
• The America Ground (2015) – Kindle
• The Spyglass File (2016) – Kindle
• The Missing Man (this year?) – Kindle
These books by John Nixon star family historian, Madeleine Porter. While not mysteries as we think of them, they both take us through the experiences of our amateur “detectives” unraveling the “mysteries” that surround them.
• Family Shadows (2014) – Kindle
• The Cuckoo Clock (2014) – Kindle
• Stolen Futures (2014) – Kindle
• Another Summer (2014) – Kindle
• The Cost of Silence (2015) – Kindle
• Unearthed (2017) – Kindle
The Museum Mysteries by Sheila Connolly star Nell Pratt, president of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society (think Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia) who spends much of her time solving murders through research in their collections. These books are fascinating for their mysteries, their history, and our glimpses into the lives of the archivists. Highly recommended.
• Fundraising the Dead (2010) – Kindle
• Let’s Play Dead (2011) – Kindle
• Fire Engine Dead (2012) – Kindle
• Monument to the Dead (2013) – Kindle
• Razing the Dead (2014) – Kindle
• Privy to the Dead (2015) – Kindle
• Dead End Street (2016) – Kindle
In the Family History Mysteries by Brynn Bonner, genealogist Sophreena McClure is an expert at unearthing other people’s secrets. Using old documents and photographs, Soph and her business partner, Esme Sabatier—also a gifted medium—trace family histories and create heritage scrapbooks.
• Paging the Dead (2013) – Kindle
• Death in Reel Time (2014) – Kindle
• Picture Them Dead (2015) – Kindle
• Dead in a Flash (2016) – Kindle
Geraldine Wall writes about probate researcher Anna Ames in this trilogy. These are mystery thrillers and we are drawn in to Anna’s family, life and work.
• File Under Fear (2014) – Kindle
• File Under Family (2014) – Kindle
• File Under Fidelity (2015) – Kindle
This is the first book in a supernatural genealogy detective series called Maze Investigations by M.K. Jones featuring Maggie Gilbert and set in Newport, South Wales, drawing on real historical details.
• Three Times Removed (2015) – Kindle
If you like your genealogy mysteries with a little humor, see the series starring Ben Bones, Genealogical Consultant and self-described Articulator of Family Skeletons written by Michael Havelin.
• Ben Bones and The Galleon of Gold (2013) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Search for Paneta’s Crown (2012) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Deadly Descendants (2013) – Kindle
• Ben Bones and the Conventional Murders (2015) – Kindle
Esme Quentin solves mysteries using genealogy in the West Midlands and in Devon in the books by Wendy Percival
• Blood-Tied (2013) – Kindle
• The Indelible Stain (2014) – Kindle
In the series by Cynthia Raleigh, we follow travel nurse and amateur genealogist, Perri Seamore, as she researches her family and solves murders.
• Poison Branches (2016) – Kindle
• Buried Roots (2016) – Kindle
The Jayne Sinclair series by M J Lee, starring former police detective now genealogical investigator. This interesting series takes us first through the Easter Uprising of 2016 and Ireland’s War of Independence, followed, in the latest release, by the trenches of World War I in the Battle of the Somme.
• The Irish Inheritance (2016) – Kindle
• The Somme Legacy (2017) – Kindle
Another series by Karin Kaufman features a family tree full of witches, some ghosts, and the occult, with Anna Denning, a professional genealogist determined to find the truth.
• The Witch Tree (2011) – Kindle
• Sparrow House (2012) – Kindle
• The Sacrifice (2014) – Kindle
• The Club (2015) – Kindle
Non-Series Family History Mysteries
Thomas McKerley and Ingrid Schippers, in their first genealogy mystery, Bloodlines – Touch Not the Cat (2012), introduce Cathy Macpherson, who uncovers her own and her husband’s past. Hope this becomes a series. Kindle edition.
The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molineux (2013) stars Peter Sefton, amateur family historian. Not quite a mystery but certainly a detective story. Kindle edition.
In Silent Legacy: Discovering Family Secrets by Diana Church (2014) some German immigration history with new finds from a research trip helps Ellen O’Donnell solve a long-standing family mystery. Kindle edition.
In Finding Eliza by Stephanie Pitcher Fishman (2014), an old diary leads Lizzie Clydell down a dusty road of lies, hidden family secrets, and a lynching that nearly destroyed her family. I loved the quote “It’s just a little family history. What could go wrong?” Kindle edition.
Where’s Merrill? a genealogical thriller by Gearoid O’Neary (2013) is based upon real life historical events. The story unravels as Irish genealogist, Jed, researches his client’s mysterious maternal ancestry. Kindle edition.
Benjamin’s Ghosts: An Enid Gilchrist Mystery by Sylvia A. Nash (2014) is a cozy genealogy murder mystery set in West Tennessee. This is the start of a promising series. I hope we hear more from this author. Kindle edition.
In the Tainted Tree by Jacquelynn Luben (2013), Addie Russell inherits a house in Surrey and begins researching her English family Her research takes her back three generations to the First World War.
A century-old key may unlock the ancestral secrets of four families in The Fourth Descendant by Allison Maruska (2015).
While not a series, these genealogical mysteries by Norma Elizabeth Rawlings focus on how researching their ancestors became a life changing experience for each central character.
• Sleeping Dogs (2012) – Kindle
• Sleeping Dogs II (2013) – Kindle
• Malvern Murders (2013) – Kindle
• In the Genes (2013) – Kindle
Package from The Past by Jacqueline Opresnik is a search for a missing heir and family fortune set against the historical events of the Boer War and World War II.
Of course, for non-fiction fans there is Only A Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath by John Philip Colletta. This is an outstanding read.
All the books mentioned here are available in the editions specified and can be found at Amazon (I am not an affiliate). Many of the Kindle editions are also available in paperback and/or hardcover.
If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please let me know in the comments. I am trying to make this list as complete as possible.