Who Doesn’t Love a Family History Mystery? Summer Reading Suggestions

I love books! During the last year, I have to admit I’ve gotten hooked on reading historical fiction genealogical mysteries. I’ve discovered several good writers who have series going that focus on one or two main characters.

We had a number of sea days on our recent Alaska cruise and I needed some new Kindle books and I decided to feed my latest obsession. This isn’t going to be a book-by-book review. Instead, I’d like to share a list of authors whose stories I’ve enjoyed and will rank them, generally, as good, better and best. I’ll also include some of the titles I’ve read. All are available in paper format and Kindle.

The most recent author I’ve come across is M.J. Lee. I bought the box set which included three titles – The Irish Inheritance, The American Candidate and The Somme Legacy. These were the first three stories in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series. I also ordered The Silent Christmas and The Vanished Child. This past weekend, I read the latest book, The Sinclair Betrayal.

This author earns the “good” ranking from me. The stories are engaging, but not overly complicated. I was actually a bit disappointed with the ending of The Sinclair Betrayal, both in terms of Jayne’s decision and the final event involving her father. I don’t want to give away the storyline, but this one definitely wasn’t my favorite.

Next, I was tempted by James J. Cudney‘s first of several books in his genealogical mystery series set on the Braxton Campus, Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex.  I enjoyed this book and feel it had a bit more depth to the story than Lee’s books had. I actually downloaded this book in a port while onboard the ship because I needed more to read. It appears that there are at least three more books in this series and I will definitely be reading them over the summer. This author earns my “better” rank because there is a bit more meat to the story.

A third new-to-me author is Brynn Bonner. I also read the first book in her series, which features Sophreena McClure and her partner, Esme Sabatier, titled Paging the Dead. I also really enjoyed this mystery and, like Cudney’s book, I feel it had more twists, adding to the suspense. There are a couple more volumes in this series that I will likely be reading.

The fourth author, Nathan Dylan Goodwin, is, in my opinion, the shining light leading the way in this genre. I didn’t read any of his books while onboard the ship because I had already read all of them! I need to add a disclaimer here because I have been comped some of his books to review, but I have also purchased his works because I liked them so much. His Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist mysteries are tantalizing. First, his stories are historical fiction – fictional characters whose lives coincide with actual historical events and the amount of detail in each mystery is amazing. A lot of historical research has to happen before the fictional story can be written. Second, each story follows a routine for me – I follow the clues, think I have the ending all figured out and then learn about one new twist that changes the ending. This author earns my “best” ranking because of these two factors. Quite honestly, I can’t wait until the new Morton Farrier book is published, probably later this year.

I’ve shared four genealogy mystery writers whose books I’ve enjoyed. The Amazon links let you learn more about each author, preview their works and read reviews so you can begin with the story that looks most interesting to you. Notice I say begin because you will get hooked! You can’t make a bad choice because all the stories are fun and enjoyable.

Happy Reading!

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