The Wicked Trade by Nathan Dylan Goodwin: A Book Review

The Wicked Trade by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Alas, I have read the last of the published stories about the adventures of forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier. I am just hoping that author Nathan Dylan Goodwin is nearly ready to publish a new novel about Morton’s latest case.

However, The Wicked Trade (smuggling) is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Morton’s latest mystery begins in modern times (1963) with the discovery of two skeletons in uniform discovered inside the fireplace wall of the Bell Inn in Kent, England. Flashbacks to the 1820s tell the story of the efforts of local authorities from Romney Marsh, also in Kent, to curtail smuggling activities along the English coastline and punish the offenders.

Arthur Fothergill, great grandson of Ann Fothergill, who lived in Romney Marsh during the 1820s, hired Morton to uncover whatever bit about Ann’s life that he could find, as a huge transformation had happened in her life between 1820 and 1827, when she was first described an an illiterate peasant, but later as a successful businesswoman. Events of those seven years frame the mystery which Morton sets out to solve and paint a bleak picture the life of those tied to the “wicked trade.”

Morton first considered declining Arthur’s commission, but decided that there was something about the case that drew his interest and accepted the job.

As in previous novels showcasing Morton Farrier’s talents and adventures, The Wicked Trade offers up clues to the reader, which make one think he/she has this all figured out, only to discover a further twist, which changes the outcome of the mystery.

Ann Fothergill had a complicated and somewhat surprising life, which Morton doggedly pieces together, in spite of obstacles being thrown in his path.

The author’s dual story lines keep the reader busy gathering up clues, both past and present, until the answer appears. Or at least it seems to until the final twist is revealed.

I have to repeat myself here. Nathan Dylan Goodwin is a very talented writer who masterfully weaves story lines that are fun genealogical mysteries. Because his fictional characters are placed into accurate historical settings, I’ve learned a huge amount about English history as I’ve followed Morton’s cases.

Anyone who enjoys a great mystery, whether or not they are family historians, will love Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s books; I am looking forward to reading all about Morton Farrier’s next case – I hope the book will be published soon. 🙂

If you are interested in buying this book, or any/all of his previous works, information is available on the author’s website.




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