Genealogy Mysteries 2018 – What’s New? Part 2

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza


From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a thrilling new Jefferson Tayte mystery.

When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to prove the identity of a black sheep in his client’s family tree, he unwillingly finds himself drawn into a murder investigation with nothing more to go on than a 150-year-old letter and a connection to a legendary ruby that has been missing for generations.

As more letters are mysteriously left for him, Tayte becomes immersed in a centuries-old tale of greed, murder and forbidden love that takes his research from the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to the colour and heat of colonial India.

A dark secret is buried in Jaipur, steeped in treachery and scandal. But why is it having such deadly repercussions in the present? Can Tayte find the ruby and prevent the past from repeating itself before it’s too late?

Letters from the Dead is the seventh book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, but it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. K, KU, PB, CD NEW

Disclosure: I received a pre-release copy of this book to review and I have included that review here.

Steve Robinson is a gifted author who knows his narratives: setting, characters, plot, conflict, and resolution. I have read all his books, and he keeps getting better and better! I found myself literally holding my breath as each mystery unfolded, and genealogist, Jefferson Tayte, uncovered the clues. As a genealogist myself, one of my favorite aspects of these novels is the insight we receive on research methodology and sources.

Steve Robinson is always a must-read author. I thoroughly enjoyed Letters from the Dead and could not put it down!

The Latest Discoveries and Other New Releases

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 February 2018. Be sure to check the complete list for books marked NEW, which are new to this list since the last time I published it. I also received a reader’s request to show availability of Kindle Unlimited. I now show all the formats available on Amazon for these books.

Key to the new reading formats:

  • K Kindle
  • KU Kindle Unlimited
  • HB Hardback
  • PB Paperback
  • AD Audible
  • CD MP3 Format/Audio CD

Just finished reading first book of a new series, The Sarah Connection: A Leah McFarland Genealogy Conundrum, featuring Leah McFarland, a genealogy hobbyist. The series is written by R. L. Couch. K, KU, PB NEW

In Breadcrumbs and Bombs: A Tangled Roots Historical Mystery by Susan Finley, a young American, Lucas Landry, traces his ancestry, using breadcrumbs found in the old WW2 diaries of two German girls in Germany and the Sudetenland. The story is about secrets, lies, prejudice, betrayal, guilt, love, genealogy, and what it means to be a family. K, KU, PB NEW

A standalone historical family mystery by James Pattinson (1915-2009), The Unknown, begins with an old photograph of a girl who mysteriously disappeared without a trace one day. The mystery should have been left alone but George could not stop himself. Published posthumously September 7, 2017. K, KU, PB NEW

In When Beggars Dye, Peter Hey introduces us to Jane Madden, an ex-police detective trying to build a new life after illness and divorce. Jane is commissioned to unearth the story behind an ancestral mystery. Her search becomes a story of abandonment, obsession, one-sided love and the nature of inheritance. This book was an excellent read and I hope it becomes a series, featuring Jane. K, KU, PB NEW

A Genealogical Mystery (part of the Imp Mysteries) series by Richard Davidson, features Debbie and Jeremy Hadley, young private detectives, who use their business resources to solve family mysteries. The “Imp Mysteries” are not all genealogy mysteries. I am highlighting the two that I found: Impostor ( 2016) – K, KU, PB NEW and Impending (2017) – K, KU, PB NEW

And for fans of the Torie O’Shea mysteries by Rett MacPherson, I have some good news. The long awaited 12th book in this series, Bad to the Bones, was released May 24, 2018. K, PB NEW

In case you missed any, following is the complete list of all genealogy mysteries that I’ve found to-date.

Series Family History Mysteries

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) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • To the Grave (2012) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • The Last Queen of England (2012) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • The Lost Empress (2014) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • Kindred (2016) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • Dying Games (May 4, 2017) – K, KU, PB, AD, CD
  • Letters from the Dead (August 14, 2018) – K, KU, PB, CD NEW

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. Highly Recommended.

  • Family Skeletons (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • A Veiled Antiquity (2013) – K, HB, PB
  • A Comedy of Heirs (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • A Misty Mourning (2000) – K, HB, PB
  • Killing Cousins (2002) – K, HB, PB
  • Blood Relations (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • In Sheep’s Clothing (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • Thicker Than Water (2005) – K, HB, PB
  • Dead Man Running (2006) – K, HB, PB
  • Died in the Wool (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • The Blood Ballad (2014) – K, HB, PB
  • Bad to the Bones (2018) – K, PB NEW

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) – K, KU, PB, AD
  • The Lost Ancestor (2014) – K, KU, PB
  • The Orange Lilies: A Morton Farrier novella (2014) – K, KU, PB
  • The America Ground (2015) – K, KU, PB
  • The Spyglass File (2016) – K, KU, PB, AD
  • The Missing Man: A Morton Farrier novella (2017) – K, KU, PB
  • The Suffragette’s Secret: A Morton Farrier short story (2017) – K, KU
  • The Wicked Trade (February 7, 2018) – K, KU, PB

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) – K, HB, PB, AD, CD
  • Let’s Play Dead (2011) – K, HB, PB, AD, CD
  • Fire Engine Dead (2012) – K, PB, AD, CD
  • Monument to the Dead (2013) – K, PB, AD, CD
  • Razing the Dead (2014) – K, PB, AD, CD
  • Privy to the Dead (2015) – K, HB, PB, AD, CD
  • Dead End Street (2016) – K, PB, AD

These books by John Nixon star family historian, Madeleine Porter. While not mysteries as we think of them, they take us through the experiences of our amateur “detectives” unraveling the “mysteries” that surround them. Recommended.

  • Family Shadows (2014) – K, KU
  • The Cuckoo Clock (2014) – K, KU, PB
  • Stolen Futures (2014) – K, KU
  • Another Summer (2014) – K, KU
  • The Cost of Silence (2015) – K, KU
  • Unearthed (2017) – K, KU
  • The Dancer (2018) – K, KU NEW

The Nigel Barnes series by Dan Waddell concerns a professional genealogist who assists the police, mainly Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster in London, England. These books are now being released in the Kindle format.

  • The Blood Detective (2017) – K, KU, HB, PB, AD, CD
  • Blood Atonement (2017) – K, KU, HB, PB, AD
  • Blood Underground – Short Story (2017) – K, KU
  • Blood Reckoning (2018) – K, KU, PB NEW

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) – K, PB, HB, AD, CD
  • Lethal Lineage (2011) – K, PB, HB, AD, CD
  • Hidden Heritage (2013) – K, PB, HB, AD
  • Fractured Families (2017) – K, PB, HB NEW

Esme Quentin solves mysteries using genealogy in the West Midlands and in Devon in the books by Wendy Percival.

  • Blood-Tied (2013) – K, HB, PB
  • The Indelible Stain (2014) – K, PB
  • Death of a Cuckoo: An Esme Quentin Short Read (2017) – K, PB
  • The Malice of Angels (2018) – K, PB NEW

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) – K, KU
  • File Under Family (2014) – K, KU, PB
  • File Under Fidelity (2015) – K, KU, PB
  • File Under Fathers (2017) – K, KU NEW

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) – K, KU, AD
  • Sparrow House (2012) – K, KU, AD
  • The Sacrifice (2014) – K, KU, AD
  • The Club (2015) – K, KU, AD
  • Bitter Roots (2017) – K, KU NEW

A Genealogical Mystery (part of Imp Mysteries) series by Richard Davidson, features Debbie and Jeremy Hadley, young private detectives, who use their business resources to solve family mysteries.

  • Impostor (2016) – K, KU, PB NEW
  • Impending (2017) – K, KU, PB NEW

The Enid Gilchrist Mysteries by Sylvia A. Nash (2014) are cozy genealogy murder mysteries set in West Tennessee. I was happy to see a new book from this author.

  • Benjamin’s Ghosts (2014) – K, KU, PB
  • Mama’s Secret (2018) – K, KU, PB NEW

Natasha Blake, a genealogist in the Cotswolds in England appears in the series by Fiona Mountain.

  • Pale as the Dead (2004) – K, PB, HB, CD
  • Bloodline (2015) – K, PB, HB

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) – HB, PB
  • Malignant House (2010) – HB, PB
  • Those in Peril (2010) – HB, PB
  • Father Unknown (2011) – K, HB, PB
  • The Overlooker (2012) – K, HB
  • Beneath the Soil (2014) – K, HB

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) – K, HB, PB
  • Sins of the Fathers (2007) – K, HB, PB
  • Daughter of Deceit (2008) – K, HB, PB

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) – HB
  • Cornish Conundrum (2000) – K, PB

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) – PB, HB
  • The Second Sorrowful Mystery (1999) – PB, HB
  • A Great Day for Dying (2001) – PB, HB

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) – K, PB

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) – K, HB, PB
  • Snipe Hunt (2000) – K, HB, PB
  • The Fugitive King (2002) – K, KU, HB, PB
  • The Bug Funeral (2004) – K, KU, HB, PB
  • Shell Game (2007) – K, PB

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) – K, PB
Of Deadly Descent (2011) – K, PB, CD
Tangled Roots (2011) – K, PB
Poisoned Pedigree (2012) – K, PB
The Hidden Branch (2011) – K, PB

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) – K, PB
  • Death in Reel Time (2014) – K, PB
  • Picture Them Dead (2015) – K, PB
  • Dead in a Flash (2016) – K, PB

This is a supernatural genealogy detective series called Maze Investigations by M.K. Jones featuring Maggie Gilbert. Set in Newport, South Wales, the books draw on real historical details.

  • Three Times Removed (2015) – K, KU, PB
  • Line of Descent (2017) – K, KU, PB

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) – K, PB
  • Ben Bones and the Search for Paneta’s Crown (2012) – K, PB
  • Ben Bones and the Deadly Descendants (2013) – K, PB
  • Ben Bones and the Conventional Murders (2015) – K, KU, PB

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) – K, PB
  • Buried Roots (2016) – K, PB
  • Drawing on the Past (2017) – K, PB

The Jayne Sinclair series by M J Lee stars a former police detective turned genealogical investigator. This interesting series takes us first through the Easter Uprising of 2016 and Ireland’s War of Independence, followed by the trenches of World War I in the Battle of the Somme and other historical events.

  • The Irish Inheritance (2016) – K, KU, PB, AD
  • The Somme Legacy (2017) – K, KU, PB
  • The American Candidate (2017) – K, KU, PB
  • The Vanished Child (2018) – K, KU, PB

A new entry in the genealogy mysteries sub-genre is a new series featuring Janie Riley, written by Lorine Schulze. Prior to entering the fiction world, Lorine authored many non-fiction genealogy books designed for improving your genealogy skills.

  • Death Finds a Way (2016) – K, PB

This series is written by Gerelyn Hollingsworth and features Janet Burney, a retired private investigator and amateur genealogist. The books are novellas and can also be read for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription.

  • Death of a Headmistress (2012) – K, KU
  • Separated at Birth (2012) – K, KU

Another recent find stars historian Rob Tyler in the Wynderbury Mysteries series authored by Victoria Prescott.

  • The Plantagenet Mystery (2014) – K, KU
  • The Hawthorne Villa Secret (2016) – K, KU

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.

  • Bloodlines – Touch Not the Cat (2012) – K, KU, PB
  • Bloodlines – Traces (2016) – K, KU, PB

The Nick Herald series by Jimmy Fox features a professional genealogist in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Deadly Pedigree (2001) – K, KU, PB
  • Lineages and Lies (2002) – K, KU, HB, PB
  • Jackpot Blood (2014) – K, KU, HB, PB

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) – HB
  • Hear Me Die (1998) – PB
  • Die and Die (1998) – PB
  • Dead Men Die (1999) – HB, PB
  • The Swallow Murders (1999) – HB
  • Die in Texas (2002) – HB

Non-Series Family History Mysteries

The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molineux (2013) stars Peter Sefton, amateur family historian. Not quite a mystery but certainly a detective story. K, KU, PB

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. K, KU, PB

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?” K, PB

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. K, PB

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. K

A century-old key may unlock the ancestral secrets of four families in The Fourth Descendant by Allison Maruska (2015).  K, KU, PB, AD

NOTE  While there is a new book in this series, The Seventh Seed (Fourth Descendant Book 2) (2017), it does not appear to be a genealogy mystery rather, I would call it a conspiracy thriller. That is why I have not yet listed this book in the series section.

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) – K, KU, PB
    Sleeping Dogs II (2013) – K, KU
    Malvern Murders (2013) – K, KU
    In the Genes (2013) – K, KU

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.  K

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. PB

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.

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3 Responses to Genealogy Mysteries 2018 – What’s New? Part 2

  1. Gail Grunst says:

    Thanks for listing all these books. It looks like I have a lot of reading to do!

  2. Thanks for another great selection – some more to add to my TBR list!

    (And thanks for including my Esme Quentin books once again, too.;-))

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