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Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins

Murder Once Removed

by S. C. Perkins

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1351,047,596 (3.43)3



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Lucy Lancaster is a woman who has deep love for genealogy, such much so that she had started her own business where she researches family trees and follows the leads until she has all the information that she can find to give to her client. It was this tenacity that led her to discover that her latest client’s ancestor had indeed been murdered as his family had long suspected. While Lucy was celebrating her achievement with her client after the conclusion of business, she managed to have one too many drinks which landed her in a political powder keg. Once Lucy understood the situation that she had created she felt that it was up to her to follow the clues to find out who really was responsible for the murder of her client’s ancestor. What she never expected was that her discovery would turn into a game of cat and mouse with a present-day killer.

Murder Once Removed was a fun whodunit with the added element of genealogy. Lucy is a persistent character who once she has her mind set on something does not give up until the truth has been found. I truly enjoyed the situations that she found herself in all while in the pursuit of truth. Along the way I was able to meet her friends and read about her less than enthusiastic encounters with federal agents. Every encounter just added more interest to this story and created more excitement for me to want to continue in this series. There were even several moments where the dialogue between her and a certain federal agent had me laughing out loud. Overall, Murder Once Removed was one heck of a cozy mystery which kept me entertained in so many lovely ways! I would definitely recommend it!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating. ( )
  TheGenreMinx | Mar 18, 2019 |
Murder Once Removed is the first book in the Ancestry Detective series.

I was drawn to this book by the main character’s occupation, that being the researching of family ancestry. I’ve not read any mysteries with this storyline and felt that it would be a nice change from mostly craft cozy’s. It was a most enjoyable story.

Lucy Lancaster has been contacted by billionaire Gus Holloran to research the family ancestry so his children and future generation will know their roots. Holloran is also hoping that Lucy might be able to find additional information on the death of Seth Holloran in 1849. From conversations with a grandmother, it seems there was some question as to how Seth had died. It had been listed as an accident, his being run over by wagon drawn by a team of horses. Lucy soon finds that, indeed, Seth had been murdered. She was able to get a picture of Seth’s dead body taken by a portrait photographer, Jeb Inscore, that shows he had died from being stabbed. With the help of a descendant of Inscore Lucy also secures a journal Inscore kept at the time.

Lucy soon discovers that it appears that the killer is someone with initials C. A. One of the gentlemen with those initials is Caleb Applewhite, who happens to be the 3 great grandfathers of Daniel Applewhite, current U.S. Senator from Texas. Even though Lucy hasn’t found proof of which C. A. was behind the murder, Holloran, whose son is running Daniel Applewhite for the Senate, announces Lucy findings.

Things now start to heat up. The lady that gave the journal and pictures to Lucy experience a break-in at her home, Lucy experiences a break-in at the office she shares with two other ladies. The most upsetting is the murder of Lucy’s mentor Dr. Winnie Dell, curator of the Hamilton American History Center. Lucy had given her some of the pictures so that they could be properly preserved.

When FBI Special Agent Benton Turner, Lucy is surprised that the FBI has been called in. Then when he orders her to stay out of any investigations she might be thinking of doing, she is more determined to proceed with her plans to do some sleuthing.

I thought the story was well-written and plotted, with an interesting cast of believable characters. I would like to learn more about the characters in future books, particularly the interesting Big Flaco who owns Flaco’s Taco.

I will be watching for the next book in this interesting and informative new series. ( )
  FredYoder | Mar 18, 2019 |
Murder Once Removed is the first in the promising Ancestry Detective cozy series set in Texas. Author S.C. Perkins used her setting to perfect advantage: not only did I want to book a flight to Austin for a visit, but she also made me crave Mexican food. (Thank heaven Big Flaco's Tacos isn't here!)

Another strong part of her setting is the old office building in which Lucy shares space with her two best friends, Serena the personal shopper and British Josephine who's a translator. Perkins has set up a good supporting cast for Lucy which also includes Juan "Big Flaco" Medrano (the food magician, yum) and NPH-- Neil Patrick Housecat-- among others. The cast might get even larger if some of the family members who were mentioned return from their travels in future books.

The mystery is a good one in Murder Once Removed, plenty of misdirection and red herrings, and I enjoyed trying to figure it out. But there were a couple of things that I didn't enjoy quite so much. Lucy is not supposed to be a fashionista-- preferring to wear jeans and t-shirts to work-- but readers are given a blow-by-blow description of everyone's physical appearance and wardrobe. All the needless detail slows down the pace of the book. There's also a rather run-of-the-mill romantic interest for Lucy-- the gorgeous law enforcement guy who rubs her fur the wrong way-- that really wasn't necessary. Just once, I wish the main character would fall for a homely guy who wasn't licensed to carry any deadly weapons, you know?

Thankfully, the mystery, Lucy and her gang, and the Austin setting rose above the wordy descriptions and ho-hum romance. I'm looking forward to seeing what family tree Lucy shakes next. ( )
  cathyskye | Mar 18, 2019 |
Murder Once Removed is unique for cozy mysteries. Our main character, Lucy Lancaster is a genealogist who runs a company called Ancestry Investigations. She can uncover your ancestors, provide a family tree, obtain photographs, and so much more (I had no idea). Lucy can provide a beautifully bound book and a website for her clients is they desire. She uses land records, census records, journals, photographs and numerous other resources (there is a veritable font of information available if you know where to look). I would have liked more information on Lucy and for her to come across as a more mature main character (not the best idea to get blotto in front of a client). Though I do find it appealing that she is a Downton Abbey fan. There are two intertwined mysteries in Murder Once Removed. The death of Seth Halloran from 1849 and the current murder of Winnie Dell. I like how the two mysteries relate to each other and that they were wrapped up at the end of the book. There is action as Lucy evades the killer. She asks questions and does research to solve the two crimes. I do wish that the modern mystery had been laid out differently. It is the type that plays out with little opportunity for the reader to solve (which is my favorite part). There is interesting genealogical information and history included in the story (though I am still baffled by the once removed—there is a handy chart included). Special Agent Ben Turner was an interesting, handsome and charming character. His history background gives him plenty in common with Lucy who finds him attractive. There were sparks flying between the pair. I liked the humorous dialogue between them at the end (made me laugh). Murder Once Removed is an enticing new cozy mystery that will appeal to the history and genealogy enthusiasts. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Mar 17, 2019 |
Lucy Lancaster, a professional genealogist, researches the family of Gus Halloran, uncovering a mystery surrounding the mid-19th century death of Seth Halloran. A photographer's journal states he was murdered by C.A. and then the scene was tampered to make it look as though he were trampled by horses. Lucy finds two candidates for C.A., but since enmity runs deep between the Applewhite and Halloran families, Gus focuses on that solution when he tells his family's story in a press conference. A page, possibly revealing the identity of C.A., was missing from the journal. As Lucy investigates, she runs into an FBI agent moonlighting as a history professor and into danger. I enjoyed the historic mystery; however, several things bothered me about the book. Lucy discusses research several times in very vague terms, making me wonder how familiar the author was with genealogical research. At one point Lucy tells another character about her flat rate package for researching "first family" Texas ancestry. Very few professional genealogists offer flat rate packages these days because it is nearly impossible to predict how long it will take to make a genealogically sound connection to a qualifying individual. Those who do offer such a package generally work for a larger firm rather than for themselves. Most charge an hourly rate plus expenses with a retainer collected up front. The balance is usually due before the final report is sent. The biggest error concerned census research. Lucy found results in the 1890 census. That census was mostly destroyed by fire. For the state in question, fragments of three enumeration districts in two counties exist as well as the Union Veterans schedule, which was small in a Confederate state. In the extent schedules, six families appear in one county; in the other county, four families appear in one enumeration district fragment and ninety-two families in the other district. Nowhere did Lucy mention the county to which the family moved and nowhere did she mention luck at finding the family. In fact the two counties were unlikely places for the family to reside based on comments about the family's life in the state. While widows of Union veterans were sometimes heads of household in these schedules, the information supposedly gleaned from the census makes it impossible the veterans schedule was what she consulted. While the mystery held great potential, the author's unfamiliarity with genealogical research hampered its effectiveness. If the series continues, I hope the author gets a professional genealogist to read the book to find errors in record availability and in practice. The other irritating flaw in the book was the author's unprofessional conduct in several instances. No instance's activity served to advance the plot in a way that could not be achieved through ethical means. The author needs to read Genealogy Standards by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the Association of Professional Genealogist's Code of Ethics before writing additional installments. This review reflects the text appearing in an advance electronic copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review. ( )
2 vote thornton37814 | Feb 15, 2019 |
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