Murder Once Removed

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Absolute perfection! A delightful mystery with a stellar cast. Everything was "just right." The protagonist is smart, passionate about her work, and good at it. The circle of characters around her are just as great. Loved the twisty mysteries - the 150+ year old one and the contemporary one. I can't recommend this one highly enough!
Was this review helpful?
Murder Once Removed was the bigass winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery award. I'm sure you're all thinking "Why would a curmudgeony fan of violence and grit be looking at domestic mysteries?" Because THIS one is written by the inimitable S.C. ("Rodeo Sandy") Perkins, that's why. And give that cover a gander, why don't you? #Winning.

The star of Murder Once Removed is smart, sassy, Mexican-food-enthused genealogical expert Lucy Lancaster, who resides in Austin, Texas, and makes her living tracking ancestral histories for her clients.*

Lucy's company, Ancestry Investigations, is currently working for one of Austin's most prestigious families. Billionaire gentleman and "stubborn, opinionated old coot" Gus Halloran has asked Lucy to track his lineage. Lucy being Lucy, she also sticks her nose into the suspicious 1849 death of Gus's great-great-grandfather and comes up with new information that proves he was murdered and said murder just may be linked to another prominent Austin family, the Applewhites.

The Applewhites and the Hallorans have done their best to one-up each other over the generations, with sitting U.S. Senator Daniel Applewhite currently facing Pearce Halloran in a heated upcoming election. Lucy's discovery of the murder and potential involvement of the Applewhite family comes to light; which is, of course, when all the sidewalk cracks start bearing weeds, leading to mayhem and murder.

The story is a cracker and educational to boot. Perkins did an incredibly admirable job of explaining "once-removeds" and "great-great-greats" to this remedial maroon. The mystery is well done on its own, though any story is hard-pressed to outshine feisty Lucy, her incredible friends, her frenemies, the parties, the food (if Big Flaco's Taco's doesn't exist this world is a darker place), and Neil Patrick Housecat. The repartee is reminiscent of a screwball comedy and if you don't want to hang out with Lucy and the gang when you're done I'll eat a 10-gallon hat. Perkins's character work is fabulous.

Murder Once Removed is fast-paced, yet Perkins includes historical tidbits that make Austin feel like a place the reader has to visit, if only to get a look at a building shaped like nose-hair clippers (and eat the food). I Googled it, Perkins's assessment is spot on and the insight and humor she shows on all fronts is a delight. This book is charming as all get-out and I highly recommend it.

If you'd like a more in-depth sense of S.C. Perkins, her sense of adventure, and where Lucy sprang from, please head on over to Pop Culture Nerd's site, where we put Stephanie through the wringer of our weirdo Q&A.

Happy debut, Stephanie, here's hoping for many more!

*(side note: I have never wanted to do this, as I know I come from a long line of Australian convicts and Slovenian bootleggers and it can only get worse from there, but the packages Lucy puts together for her clients are enough to make me wish she was real and maybe I could buy the history of Cary Grant or someone cool and interesting. The details Stephanie includes are fantastic and never overwhelm the narrative, a tough win when you're dealing with complex issues such as genealogy.)
Was this review helpful?
Solving a mystery almost two centuries later? All in the name of genealogy research.
Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins is an excellent book for anyone that loves history and food. Okay, so the last one not really but the sleuth surely eats a lot. I do have to say that I loved everything especially the genealogy aspect of it. 

Are sleuth is named Lucy Lancaster, and she's the narrator for the book. Having Lucy as the narrator helps a lot in my opinion since we get to see things through her eyes and how she is thinking about this mystery. Not just for the mystery of her friend being murdered but about one of her client's ancestors being murdered. 
What I like about her is that she is a fan of food and that she seems to love her work. I also love the little bits of television shows she watches since it reminds me of me. Lucy is a fan of BBC Sherlock and talks about Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Love Interest
For this, I am thinking its the FBI Agent Benton Turner. He just like Lucy loves history and even has a degree in it. At the FBI he works as a white-collar agent but lives in Texas. What I like about him is that he keeps Lucy on her toes around him especially about certain things involving the case.

All of this started because her client, Gus Halloran, wanted to get his genealogy done for his family. During the research, she finds out that his great-great-grandfather was murdered and not killed like everyone was led to believe back then. Let's just say that this turned a way that I wasn't excepting at all.

Five Stars
Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins was a great novel that kept me entertained until the last page. I can't wait to dive back into the next book with these thrilling characters. Out of all the characters my two favorites are Serena and Lucy. Okay, Lucy than Serena. Lucy being the main character and our sleuth was really fun, and I loved Serena being there to bounce ideas off of her while keeping her stylish. I am giving five stars to this book and recommending it to all of my cozy readers!

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by,
Baroness Book Trove.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you would like to read more reviews like this one, please go to
Was this review helpful?
I adored this fresh take on the cozy mystery genre! I haven’t read any other mysteries where the main character is a genealogist and weaves the history of a client into a modern day mystery. In this case it was done superbly and I was hooked right from the start. I loved the weaving of an old family secret, a modern day mystery, and the clues hidden in pieces of history that brought this story together. I also thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters, main and supporting, as well as the writing style and flow of the story. Overall I thought it was fabulous and I am looking forward to book 2 immensely.
Was this review helpful?
Lucy Lancaster is a genealogist and a pretty darn good one. She is working with a high-profile client to unlock a mystery of supposed murder that occurred over 100 years ago; while researching she stumbles upon the truth and no someone is out to find the proof to settle a score. 

This was one of those books that you hate having to put down. I was hooked on this story from page 1 and can't wait to see what Lucy, her friends and neighbors, and the irritating(ly) handsome FBI Agent Ben are up to next. 

5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley. #murderonceremoved #netgalley #scperkins
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to absolutely love this and there were a lot of things I loved about it.  I mean solving a modern day murder and a murder that happened over 150 years ago?  How could I not love that?  I liked Lucy and her friends and office mates and I really enjoyed how much Lucy was fascinated by the hunt for facts.  I loved the links between past and present and really wanted to be right there researching with Lucy.

But unfortunately while I wanted to love it I didn't quite make that jump completely.  I enjoyed it yes but it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  The writing felt a little clunky and the explanations seemed overdone.  I'm hoping this is a first book in the series issue and once the characters and premise are established the second book will be a much smoother read.  As well the mystery got a bit convoluted.  As I've mentioned I really enjoyed the past and present intersecting but at times it felt unnecessarily complicated.

This was a fun read that I did enjoy even though I didn't love it as much as I expected.  I do plan on continuing this series and I'm hoping that some of the "bumps" will be smoothed out in the 2nd book.
Was this review helpful?
Murder Once Removed by S.C Perkins

This is the first book I read by this author. 

Lucy Lancaster is a genealogist who owns a company called Ancestry Investigations. 
She is hired by Gus Halloran to do a family tree of his ancestors. He also informed her of a possible murder of his great great grandfather Seth Halloran. He did not ask her to look into it, but Lucy does. She loves doing research and it didn’t take her long to find the name of the one witness at the scene, a portrait photographer by the name of Jeb Inscore. Jeb left behind boxes of photographs. In one those boxes, Lucy finds a photograph of Seth Halloran in the middle of the street dead. Jeb also left behind a diary. He wrote about that day upon finding Seth’s body. He only writes the initials of the killer. Lucy finds two individuals in the past who had those initials and both have family still alive to this day. So begins the mystery of whose initials did they belong to and why did he or she want Seth dead? 

This book, I have to admit, I could not finish. I lasted 50% of the book and I was done. 
It did not hold my interest. I really wanted it to, but it didn’t. Too many descriptions on things not of importance, too much technological stuff about genealogy.  Details that could have been left out. Lucy is constantly talking about DNA, census reports, how she does research, etc. I know it is what the character does for a living, but IMO the author over does it. I would of liked to know more personal things about Lucy. The only personal thing I know about Lucy is she loves Flaco Tacos and that she gets mad when someone calls her Ma’am.   
I did like Ben. He was an interesting character. The rest of the characters seemed fake.  
The author seemed to try too hard in the scenes with Lucy, Josephine, Serena and Walter. The characters interactions seem forced.    
The book was predictable and I figured out where the missing letter was from the beginning. 
I did not figure out who the present or past killer was. When I flipped through the pages to get to the scene of the killer, it was nobody I read about. (Again, too many details).  
I give the book 2 stars. 
I like the book cover that gets 4 stars. 

A Big Thank you goes out to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for providing me with an advanced digital read. The opinions expressed on this review are my own. 

“Like a detective, I know the truth doesn’t die because the person has. You simply have to be good at following the trail – and I’m pretty damn good at it” – Lucy Lancaster
“How very Mad Men of you” – Josephine Haroldson
“If you’d also like to see some of his photographs – the kind where no one is smiling because they’re afraid the camera will steal their souls – my hall closet if filled with boxes of them. – Betty-Anne Inscore-Cooper
Was this review helpful?
MURDER ONCE REMOVED is the debut novel in the new Ancestry Mystery Series.  This has all the elements for a successful series and was a fascinating mystery.  I  love the premise of Ancestry genealogy as the career of our protagonist, Lucy Lancaster. Lucy has a genealogy business where she tracks down information for clients about their relatives. 
 Lucy is a fun protagonist and this series is full of witty repartee.  Their repartee will make every reader laugh out loud.  I enjoyed the Southern Texas charm of all the supporting  characters.  From her friends to a ex drug lord who makes her favorite tacos there is laugh out loud fun repartee.  The author has a gift for bringing  Austin Texas to life for her readers and all of its southern charm, food and culture. 

 The murder investigated by Lucy has ties  from both 1849 and current day. I found myself unable to put this book down as I enjoyed reading about the process Lucy goes through and the genealogy involved.  As the sleuth and suspects come together Lucy joins forces with the FBI and may find herself in love with the handsome agent setting up a love interest for the next book . The exciting conclusion was well crafted and enjoyable.  A successful debut that was delightful to read. Well done to the author. Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my review.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first book in the new Ancestry Detective cozy mystery series. Lucy Lancaster, a 30-year genealogist is hired to look into the family tree of Angus "Gus" Halloran. She discovers that his great-great-grandfather was murdered in 1849 with an old daguerreotype photograph and journals from a witness. One problem is the guilty party could be one of two culprits with the same initials, C.A. After Gus points a finger at a descendant of one of the C.A.s to assist his son’s political campaign.

There are plenty of red herrings, and twists and turns. It had some repetition at first but I quickly moved past it. It kept me engaged and interested.

I really enjoy this story. I was intrigued by the premise. I don’t believe there was a genealogy based cozy mystery until this one showed up.  I sure could benefit from seeing the chart Lucy uses in her traces.
Was this review helpful?