Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to review.
The Spyglass File by Nathan Dylan Goodwin
This is my favorite Morton Farrier genealogical mystery so far! I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because this novel is the lengthiest in the series. Or maybe it’s because the World War II setting allowed for one of the characters to have lived long enough to meet Morton and fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. It might even be partly because of the book’s title, The Spyglass File, which has a double meaning – I took it to be a cute name for another mystery, but it is much more than that. It’s a critical part of the story – even more so than it would seem to be when it turns out to be a document.
The Spyglass File is a book that I couldn’t put down, because with every page I read, I wanted to find out more.
As The Spyglass File opens, the reader meets a very different Morton Farrier. He is a bumbling caricature of himself, apparently because he is becoming more consumed with the need to unravel his own family tree. When Barbara Binney asked Morton to find her birth parents, against his better judgement, Morton accepted the case.
It took a bit of time for him to regain his sleuthing confidence and he felt like this case should be fairly simple and straight forward. Barbara had already met with a social worker, knew her birth name – Christina Finch – and the name of her father – William Smith. Finding out the truth turned out to be much more complicated!
As with the previous book in this series, The America Ground, I love that the stories of the past are being told in much more depth. In fact, the first three chapters of The Spyglass File take place during the early years of World War II, setting the stage for what is to come in the life of Elsie Finch. We don’t meet up with Morton and the present day until chapter 4.
Because so much of this book takes place during wartime England, Elsie’s career as a WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) sergeant was a fascinating, but grim, view into the frightening times of Luftwaffe air raids striking England on an almost daily basis and the military efforts to monitor and deflect those attacks.
Elsie, who is the main character in this story, led a more than interesting life, beginning with her short, unhappy marriage to Laurie, killed in action at Dunkirk, through the war years and dropping from sight.
It isn’t until Morton places the final pieces in the puzzle that the reader understands everything that has happened and why.
Nathan Dylan Goodwin has written his best novel yet – definitely a 5 star read! To purchase this book, and/or any of his other works, visit his website for details. I’d recommend buying the whole series, which is also available in e-book format.