Murder Once Removed

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

This cozy mystery just did not work for me.  I enjoyed the genealogical background.  The characters however were just too immature to be taken seriously.  They acted like teenagers instead of professional women. The amateur sleuth put herself in danger a lot for no reason.  The mystery was very easy to solve.   Overall I was disappointed.
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This book was cute! I enjoyed the colorful characters. Plus, I learned more about genealogy. Now I know what “once removed” means! I am definitely looking forward to the next installment. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book, which I voluntarily chose to review.
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Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins is the first book in the Ancestry Detective series.  Lucy is a genealogist who goes the extra mile for her clients.  She is researching the family history of a billionaire and finds proof that his great-great-grandfather was murdered.  Lucy is even close to solving the very cold case when an unknown person sets out to stop her no matter what.  I loved the genealogy aspect of this book although the once removed stuff still baffles me.  The characters fell a bit flat, but I expect this to change as the series progresses.  The mystery was strong, and the series has great promise!
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A wonderful first in series! This author has delivered a well rounded mystery with some unique elements that will keep you guessing until the very end. If you're interested in genealogy then this cozy mystery will keep your attention until the very end.
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Murder Once Removed is unique to other cozy mysteries series out there. You don’t normally read about a genealogist landing in a murder investigation, but Lucy Lancaster certainly found herself right in the middle of one.   
I don’t know a whole lot about genealogy so after I requested this book I began to worry that it might be a bit too deep in genealogy for me, but the author explains very well so I never got lost. 
I really liked how the author tied the history to the present day, but for me, the murderer just didn’t have a good enough excuse for so much hate to cause such a fuss over. I was expecting something totally different for the murderer, but I could be one in a few that really thinks that. 
Still, this is a good read for anyone that likes a different take on a cozy mystery.
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I’ve read a lot of cozy mysteries and I love discovering new series that might end up being a long time favorite. The trick seems always be finding something new and different.

This book is the first in a new series featuring Lucy, a genealogist. I had to pause and reread this particular part. I was very intrigued by the genealogist part and was curious to see how that played out in the mystery.

My mom is really into genealogy and I have to say that it’s not the most exciting filed of study in my opinion, but I do love history and uncovering unique characters in family lineages is always fun and exciting. In this case, Lucy discover a murder in a family tree, but I was curious to see how that was going to be relevant in the modern story.


According to her friends, Lucy Lancaster, Austin, Texas genealogist, has never been drunk. Tipsy, sure, but drunk? No way. So when she arrives back at her office from a three-martini lunch three sheets to the wind, it’s a momentous occassion. Even more momentous is what she’s announced on live television while blotto: Texas senator Caleb Applewhite might be responsible for the murder of Seth Halloran.

Of course, Lucy is a genealogist, so the murder in question would have taken place in 1849. But the descendents of the two families, Daniel Applewhite and Pearce Halloran are, are in the midst of a competitive race for the US Senate, and this news does nothing to calm tensions. Lucy is determined to either prove or disprove Caleb Applewhite as the murderer, but when her curiosity puts her at the scene of another murder—this time, in the present-day—she realizes that the branches of some family trees are too gnarled and twisted to unwind (summary from Goodreads).


I thought the genealogy bit was an interesting approach to not just a historical murder, but a modern day one as well. I loved trying to see how the two were linked and unravel a unique mystery. I didn’t realize a professional genealogist was actually a thing anymore with all the modern technology and DNA tests, but I thought it was a unique profession and offered an interesting perspective for Lucy’s character.

This was a super quick read for me. I don’t know that it was a huge page turner for me, but it was well written and had a quick pace. I was able to read it in about two sittings and found it enjoyable and different. There was a lot of history about Texas which I wasn’t really into and I didn’t really see the need for in this book, but it wasn’t a huge distraction over all.

While I thought Lucy showed promise as a detective and for future books, I felt that she was a little too immature at times. Her and her friends gushed about guys a little too much and were a little too into partying and for me it just felt out of place and unnecessary in this book. I will be excited to see the direction Lucy goes in future books.

Overall I went with a 3 star rating. It’s a great introduction but at times I felt like it lacked some polish and maturity in some of the characters.
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My grandfather gave me a love of history and family history, and I’m fascinated with the field of forensic genealogy and ancestry detectives. So, picking up Murder Once Removed to review was a no-brainer!

Before I go too much farther, I must mention my absolute favorite character in the story – Lucy’s cat Neil Patrick Housecat. Even though I rarely love cats – in fiction or in real life – the name won me over immediately. How can you not love a cat named for NPH?

The rest of the characters didn’t quite grow on me yet – they seem immature for their 30-something ages but maybe I’m just getting old LOL. I am intrigued by the potential romance budding between Lucy and Ben (the FBI agent), and I did really enjoy Big Flaco of Big Flaco’s Tacos too. He’s a great fatherly figure to Lucy and just a bigger than life personality that, interestingly, is the only character to show any noticeable depth.

While the characters may not have grabbed me, the mystery totally did. A murder over 100 years ago, an old daguerreotype of the body, two possible suspects (from the past) with big ramifications in the present. And at the center of it all is Lucy and her genealogical research. I enjoyed a lot of the technical details since I love this field but at times it did bog down the story a bit, especially for people who aren’t as into ancestry detectives. (Also, I need that chart that Lucy keeps handy that makes figuring out the whole first/second/third cousins once/twice/three times removed labyrinth.)

Bottom Line: This isn’t my favorite cozy mystery I’ve read lately, but it has enough elements that I did like that I’ll definitely keep following the series. The historical mystery that affects the present is well-plotted and an intriguing premise all the way around. However, some of the overly-detailed descriptions of trivial information (clothing, partying, etc.) simply took up too much space in the narrative without contributing much overall and I ended up skimming chunks of the story at times. Mixed feelings about this book, but I did like it – and Neil Patrick Housecat for the win! 😉

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I recei
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I can't really accurately review or rate this book because I only read a small part of it. I will say that the plot line intrigued me, being a amateur genealogist and loving a good mystery. However, after reading just a few chapters I had to put the book down. The writing and hokey "Texas slang" was just too much for me and distracted me from the rest of the book. Also I felt like the author was trying to hard to tell people how to do genealogy - yet there were magically all these resources available to her to solve this mystery. It felt very unrealistic.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  They take family very seriously in Texas, particularly if the roots go way back.  So when Lucy uncovers proof that the fore bearer of one of the prominent families was murdered by the fore bearer of another prominent family and both are vying for political office, it gets pretty heated.  But it defies logic why someone should be willing to kill about a crime that was committed in the 1800’s.
While that is baffling, it is even more so when the FBI get involved.  Everyone seems to want to find out what Lucy’s source material is hiding that transcends the decades.
Lucy is a fascinating character as is her genealogy research.  I can see why she gets so immersed delving into the past.  She’s very smart at what she does but she manages to stumble into situations beyond her skill set.  The reader knows from the outset that as she clashes with the FBI guy, there are going to sparks of a different kind before the end of the book.  The story is filled with some fabulous supporting characters, including the owner of a Mexican restaurant who “knows” people.  Her friends and office mates also add extra oomph.
The villain came out of the shadows as did his partner in crime.  It made for an intriguing yet fast read.  This is another good vacation read.
Four purrs and two paws up.
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Murder Once Removed is about Lucy Lancaster who enjoys her job as a genealogist. She wants to prove who killed Gus Halloran’s great, great, grandfather. She will certainly try but that is making many people annoyed. Very interesting plot to a very enjoyable book. She needs to prove who the killer is before more people wind up dead.
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When Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster solved a 150+ year old murder, she didn’t expect it to lead to a 21st century murder or put her own life and the lives of her friends in danger. Her research seems to have unearthed secrets that someone would rather stayed buried. The problem is, there are still some missing pieces so Lucy isn’t sure who is willing to kill to protect the secrets or who might be next in the killer’s sights. With the help of her two best friends and reluctant assistance from a hunky FBI agent, Lucy just might be able to right a very old wrong.

It took a while for me to warm up to Lucy. She started off on the wrong foot with some seriously unprofessional behavior. It’s not a good idea to get plastered at a lunch meeting with an important client. I was gradually won over by some of the secondary characters, including the FBI agent and the owner of the Mexican restaurant which is Lucy’s favorite hangout. I did spot a glaring error in Lucy’s genealogy research. She mentions finding someone in the 1890 census, but this census was mostly destroyed in a fire nearly a century ago. The person in question did live in a state for which a few fragments remain, but as frequently as Lucy boasted about her genealogical research skills, I think she would have bragged about her luck at finding the person in one of the fragments if the author was aware that most of the 1890 federal population census hasn’t survived.

This review is based on an electronic advance reading copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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This was a fun book. I find genealogy fascinating so that is what initially drew me to this. I was curious to see how a mystery several generations old would play out, but it is quite well executed. The characters are fairly interesting (NPH made me lol) and the lead is very likable. There are some parts that can get a little confusing if all the "great great grandfather and cousin twice removed" is not really your thing, but for those that do like that kind of stuff this should be a nice read. My only criticism is that the book felt a bit slow in some places and I found myself wanting to skip ahead, but this didn't happen a whole lot so it didn't take away too much from my enjoyment. I'll definitely look forward to the next book!
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I love genealogy and knowing your true roots. Set this into a cozy mystery and I'm happy. The plot was well thought out and a written. I loved the characters and setting. The intrigue that laid within the pages kept me wanting to read well into the night.
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This first book in a new cozy series weaves past and present together in a genealogy-themed murder mystery. I really liked the main character, Lucy Lancaster, and all the details about her career. I also loved her friends who share her office space, as well as the FBI agent with whom she has repeated run-ins, Flaco, the owner of her favorite taco restaurant, and Neil Patrick Housecat, the cat in her apartment complex. Though I was invested in both the present-day and historical mysteries that drove the plot, it was really the warmth of the relationships and the believable dialogue among the characters that made me feel so at home in the book. It was also nice to finally have a definitive explanation for the difference between a first cousin once removed and a second cousin.
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In S.C. Perkins's Murder Once Removed, the first installment in the Ancestry Detective cozy mystery series, get ready to hold onto your seats when the past meets the present. For Lucy Lancaster, a local genealogist in Texas, it all started when Gus Halloran asked her to look into the records to discover the real reason why his great-grandfather Seth Halloran was murdered over a decade ago. At first, records had stated and claimed it was an accident, but with this lone photograph, it developed something more and sinister there. From there, she had gotten into the thick of things when she unearthed new discoveries of the murder with the initials of "C.A." And when she delved deeper into the historical background between the Hallorans, the Applewhites and the Ayerses, she became part of a cut-throat story that goes way back to the past. When her friend Dr. Winnie Dell ended up killed and the last of the ancestors of the Applewhites had stolen paperwork from boxes, it was up to Lucy to find out what was going on. And she had butted heads with FBI Detective Benton "Ben" Turner, who also doubled as a history professor, who wanted her to stay away from the investigation. But she was already into the thick of it and might've been way over her head. There was something possibly brewing between her and Benton. Along the way, she ran into some unsavory characters and talked to Senator Applewhite who was the center of attention. The closer she had gotten into the truth, the more she discovered who was the killer when her line was in the line to get to the heart of it.
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Who knew that Genealogy could be so deadly dangerous, I am not sure if this makes me want to track down my family history or not!

Lucy Lancaster has been doing some Genealogy research for Senator Halloran and in doing so she has managed to find incontrovertible proof that one of his ancestors was murdered, and there is the possibility that another Senator's ancestor was the instigator of the crime!  This generally wouldn't be a problem, after all we are looking at 150 years ago, but then there is theft and murder of one of Lucy's ex-colleagues/current friend and threats to Lucy and her friends, now the FBI and the local police force are involved but Lucy can't stop digging through the past, even if this means her future is getting shorter!
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This was an exciting beginning for the Ancestry Detective series. While I don't do genealogy myself, I can appreciate when someone looks up family trees and ancestors. I definitely had no idea just how much work was entailed. It was interesting to see how Lucy went about her research and when she got interested in the death of a man in 1849, I definitely wanted to know how that connected to the current day conflicts between two families, one of which was a senator's family. The other was her wealthy client. I could see how her loyalty could be torn between the two as she worked to find out the truth behind the 1849 man Seth's murder. The two battling families reminded me a little bit of the Ewings and the Barnes families in the old Dallas show. Gus definitely made me think of J.R. and the senator could easily have been good ole Cliff Barnes.

The showdown with the killer was kind of a nail biter, because I didn't really see how Lucy could get herself out of this mess. Her condo manager's cat NPH (Neil Patrick Housecat who became dubbed Herocat) had something cool to do with it as well as Lucy's own quick thinking. I liked how her annoyance with FBI Agent Ben Turner turned to a sort of friendship and maybe even more than that in coming books. He did seem to tolerate her fairly well, even though just like every amateur sleuth she had her too-daring moments that made him worry. I'm anxious to keep reading in this series! 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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Lucy Lancaster is a talented professional geneolog who has uncovered some answers for her client about the death of one of his Texan forebearers While she can't say who for sure, she is pretty certain that one of two men with the initials C.A. were responsible for the death, and it looks a lot like murder. At a press conference, her client accuses the family of a state senator of the deed which leads to all sorts of mayhem. Freshly based on geneology, this debut introduces a savvy sleuth heroine with a range of fascinating characters and well-designed plot. Looking forward to the next one!
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Murder Once Removed is the first book in what promises to be a stellar series by S.C. Perkins.  History and mystery combine to make this novel truly, well -- novel.  When genealogist Lucy Lancaster is hired to research the ancestry of a prominent Texas family, she discovers proof that her client’s great-great-grandfather had been murdered.  And the evidence appears to point to the great-great-grandfather of a sitting Texas senator.  The cold-case murder takes on present-day consequences when Lucy’s friend and colleague, Dr. Winnie Dell, who was asked to examine a daguerreotype photograph related to the century-old crime, is killed and the daguerreotype stolen.  Lucy faces extreme danger and possible death when she teams up with a reluctant FBI agent to solve both her friend’s and her client’s ancestor’s murder before the killer strikes again.  

There are so many things to like about this book.  The writing is excellent, the plotline strong, the pacing fast, and the genealogical mystery is simply fascinating (and presented in an uncomplicated fashion).  Worth mentioning, too, are the colorful characters who populate the novel.  Lucy’s client, Gus Halloran, is a larger-than life personality, and it is easy to see why Lucy is compelled to find answers to his ancestral questions.  Lucy’s officemates – Josephine and Serena – provide practical advice and humor, while FBI agent, Ben Turner, proves to be both a source of frustration and intrigue.  And Flaco of Big Flaco’s Tacos is a father-figure to Lucy with secrets of his own.  Rounding out the cast is Neil Patrick Housecat (NPH), a cat with an attitude who figures notably in the story.

All told, Murder Once Removed is a unique blending of past and present that adds up to a suspenseful and satisfying mystery.  It is one of the best cozy mysteries I have read this year, and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series.
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I thought this was a very promising debut cozy novel and can’t wait to read another one in this series!

I have always wanted to do my genealogy so I find it very interesting and having a cozy that revolves around it was a lot of fun!

Lucy is a genealogist and she has been working on Gus Halloran’s family tree and when curiosity got the best of her and a mystery sort of unravels itself she couldn’t help but run with it. It seems that Gus’s several greats grandfather was murdered even though the records say that is was an accident. Lucy found evidence to the contrary and shows it to Gus and this little thing spirals out of control fast! It seems that there are only two people who could have killed him and one is related to a Senator!

When one of Lucy’s friends is killed trying to protect some information Lucy can’t help but try and figure it out. Even when the FBI agent Ben tells her to stay out of things. She can’t help but keep digging into the mystery of the past while also trying to solve the mystery of the present and if she doesn’t figure it out soon she could be the next victim.

I really had a lot of fun with this one and thought the characters where a lot of fun as well. I really liked Lucy and Ben the FBI agent but I think it was The Big Flaco, the guy who owns Lucy’s favorite taco place, was the most fun. Even though the I am not a huge cat fan I also liked NPH (Neal Patrick Housecat!) he was a fiesty one and good to have around…lol.

I thought the mystery was really good too as I was having a hard time figuring it all out and would recommend it to anyone who likes cozies.
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