In the Blood (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery) by Steve Robinson
Thomas & Mercer (March 2014)
This first book in the series caught my eye because it includes genealogy, a hobby I have enjoyed for over 25 years. I also love a good mystery, and the setting in lovely Cornwall clinched it. Overall, I liked this book and may continue the series.
The star of the book is Jefferson Tayte, an American professional genealogist, sent to England to finish a family tree for a wealthy client. He has one week in Cornwall to discover why a Loyalist family who left Boston at the start of the American Revolution doesn’t appear in any records in England.
The story is extremely interesting and the pace was very consistent. The references to genealogical research were fascinating and very realistic. Descriptions of the characters and of Cornwall were wonderfully tangible. I could “see” each person in my mind’s eye and gradually understood their purposes and motives.
Although most of the story occurs in the present day, Mr. Robinson used both the late 18th century and contemporary time frames to unravel this tale, and that worked very well here. The fate of the historical characters was unraveled slowly and deliciously. I admit to a few tears toward the end.
Cornwall is one of my favorite places, and I was very taken with the author’s use of the geography and landmarks to further the plot, especially using those great descriptions I mentioned earlier.
There were a few incongruities that threw me off the story for a bit. Jefferson’s capability to surf the internet from anywhere and everywhere was a little questionable, especially when he spent an entire night in a car in the middle of nowhere! (wink, wink) A few parts of the story were not explained; I do wish the author had tied up those small loose ends.
Before I knew anything about the author, I could tell he must be British. There are British spellings (like colour) and the protagonist uses a few phrases that would be very uncharacteristic for an American. Since Mr. Robinson is writing about Cornwall and most of the characters are Brits, that’s fine. After all, there are plenty of American authors writing books set in the U.K (hello, Regency romances!). However, I wonder whether the following books in the series will continue the anomalies and perhaps be more irritating.
The ebook included very few errors and was formatted nicely. No profanity or sexual content, minimal violence.
Recommended for genealogists, mystery lovers, and historical novel readers.