Murder Once Removed

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Pub Date 19 Mar 2019 | Archive Date 19 Mar 2019
St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books


S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.

S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and...

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ISBN 9781250189035
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Featured Reviews

This is a special type of mystery - a genealogical mystery that reminds us that what happened in the past continues to affect the present. Lucy Lancaster runs her own business, Ancestry Investigations, in which she researches family history. She is asked to undertake a major genealogical project for Gus Halloran, a member of one of the leading Texas families whose son is running for a U.S. Senate seat against a member of the Appelwhite family. The Hallorans had always believed that their great-great grandfather Seth Halloran was murdered and Lucy finds photographic and written proof that he was killed by someone with the initials C.A. , which could correspond to the Appelwhites. Lucy has given some of the historical documents to her friend Dr. Winnie Dell, a curator at the Hamilton Center and when Winnie is killed and her office ransacked, as well as break ins at Lucy's office, Lucy is determined to figure out just how the past is intruding into the present , despite the admonitions of a certain good looking FBI agent/history professor.
This is an entertaining and interesting book with a different slant on mysteries by combining it with history and genealogy. I was captivated from the very first page all the way through to the end and I hope that there are more of Lucy's adventures to follow.

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Really liked the combination of mystery and genealogy, after all genealogy tends to be a big mystery once you get into it, I know my family's is!. Well written story that kept me entertained. Looking forward to more.

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A strong start to a new series. I love it when an author can delve into something a bit different character and plot wise. This author definitely doesn't disappoint! With a strong, unique main character, a setting that makes you feel you are right in the thick of it, and a perfectly executed mystery, this is a book you will want to read again and again!

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Having been a genealogist for many years; this story was great. Research leads to death, cousin connections, romance, and the past effecting the present. Family tree strategy leads answers to a murder committed in the 1840's. Lucy Lancaster races to evaluate the past and help the FBI with a present crime. "A copy of this book was provided by St Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."

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MURDER ONCE REMOVED is the delightful debut novel by S.C. Perkins and I was fascinated by the premise of this first book in the Ancestry Mystery series! Protagonist, Lucy Lancaster, uses genealogy (combing through websites, library archives and DNA) to solve a long ago murder mystery while tracking down a current day killer. Lucy is the epitome of southern sassiness with a big ol’ side helping of creative intelligence. I adore her interaction with her best friends, Serena and Josephine along with the purported former drug lord turn restaurant owner, Flaco of Big Flaco’s Tacos (whose food descriptions will have you drooling). Their repartee gives opportunities for some humorous one-liners and laugh out loud moments which kept me highly entertained. Ms. Perkins has created great character development and descriptive voice even for minor characters. She effectively uses the flavors of food, language, and the historical sites of Austin to bring the setting to life and make the reader feel like they’re right there.

The book grabbed my attention from the very first sentence and kept me glued to the pages. The murder plots from both 1849 and current day are well entwined. I was fascinated with the amount of research the author obviously has done to understand and explain the process of genealogy, without making it complicated for the reader. Ms. Perkins also interjects some interesting history about the State of Texas without detracting from the pace. As the threads of the story are woven together and suspects are considered and then abandoned, Lucy finds herself working with the FBI, particularly a handsome agent who is also a history professor. This is a fun twist to a potential romantic attraction. The exciting reveal was fast paced, keeping me on the edge of my seat, yet never felt rushed. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this well-written debut!

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I enjoy this author some years ago. I was delighted to see is starting the Ancestry Detective series. The series is set in Texas. Lucy Lancaster, a genealogist along with two friends have rent a flat in. Each has her own office. Lucy has been working with Austin billionaire, Gus Halloran
researching his ancestry. She has found a daguerreotype photograph and a journal that proves his Great-great grandfather was murder in 1849 and even tell him who was the villain. While Lucy was informing the Halloran family, the information is shown on TV and accused Senator Daniel Applewhite that his Great-great Grandfather was the killer.
Senator Applewhite is running for reelection and his opponent is a Halloran.
Lucy feels she must look into what happened in 1849 and begins to trace the ancestry of the individuals involved. A friend of Lucy is MURDER and the daguerreotype is missing. The twists and turns that occur as Lucy begins tracing the individuals involved in the killing. Will Lucy find daguerreotype? I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martens Press for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Murder Once Removed
Wow loved this first book with Lucy Lancaster as a Genealogist.
With a combination of a mystery murder and genealogy is my ideal of heaven.
Good strong characters and a brillent story line .
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. A perfect book for me
Many thanks to St Martin’s press and Nettgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this first book by SC Perkins.

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I really enjoyed this book, the first one I have read by this author. This is the first book in a new series. The characters were interesting. I loved that the main character was a genealogist. The story kept moving with a mystery in the past and one in the present needing to be solved as well.

I thank the publisher and NetGalley for my eARC I received in exchange for my honest review.

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While this book was a little harder than the cozy mystery I'm used to, it was very enjoyable. I loved the ancestry aspect of it and learning things I didn't know about that. The story was extremely well written and very exciting. Ending was fantastic. I hope a second book comes out in this series soon!

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While researching her client’s genealogy, Lucy discovered that his ancestor had been murdered and through diligent searches, finds the long ago killer. When her client accuses a senator, someone wants to keep that history in the past and now murder is afoot in present day along with mischief.

Fast-paced drama set the tone in how well this story was going to be told. The mystery was well-written with the right amount of intrigue to keep me grinded in all that was happening on the page with clues dispatched here and there. There was sufficient number of suspects and I had a good time watching this drama play out as one by one, the suspect pool lessened until the possibility became clear as to the killer’s identity. The witty repartee between Lucy and her friends provided some comical interlude. All the key players were nicely vetted giving enough of their background to understand how they fit in our heroine’s circle, villain included. A good plot, solid story line, great narration and secondary cast help rounds out this likable story. This is a delightfully engaging romp blending genealogy, murder and mayhem and I look forward to the second book in the series.

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Lucy Lancaster, Ancestry Investigations, uncovers new information about the death, in 1849, of Seth Halloran, whose wife Jennie built her husband’s business into the Texas empire, Halloran Incorporated. The information confirms what today’s family patriarch, Gus Halloran says his great-great-grandmother always believed: that her husband was murdered. With a photograph of Seth with a knife sticking out of his chest and a journal entry recorded by the photographer who overheard the killer being identified as C.A, Lucy presents Gus with the evidence that proves it was murder.

Armed with the fact that there are two individuals alive at the time of the murder who could be C.A., Gus holds a press conference and announces that he believes the murderer was Caleb Applewhite, the head of another wealthy Texas family. In fact, Senator Daniel Applewhite is currently running for re-election against Pearce Halloran, Gus’ son.

The suspense quickly escalates as Winnie Dell, curator of the Hamilton American History Center, is found murdered by Lucy who had a meeting with the curator to discuss how to straighten out Gus’ premature announcement. In addition to Winnie’s murder, key evidence is missing, presumed stolen by the killer.

Complicating the murder investigation is the involvement of FBI Agent Benton Turner, who is working undercover as a professor of Texas history at the University of Texas, substituting for one of Lucy’s resources for her genealogy work.

Murder Once Removed is a complex mystery cleverly crafted by S. C. Perkins. The first in the Ancestry Detective series, the author deftly weaves threads of the past into the current investigation. Full of twists and distractions, the killer continues to search for a specific piece of evidence, tearing Lucy’s office apart and threatening her as well.

Ms. Perkins creates an interesting community of characters, skillfully grounding this series with realistic dialogue and engaging relationships. Murder Once Removed is a strong start to a compelling cozy series.

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I reviewed this book for Mystery Scene Magazine be sure and look for my review in the Spring issue which comes out April 15 2019

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When I saw this new series listed for review, I knew I had to request it. Growing up with various family members who were very into genealogy, back in the days when they had to travel to the sources, write for information, etc. I often think of how my great uncle would have loved reading this mystery. The new world of genealogy would have pleased him no end. This debut mystery did not disappoint me. I would love to spend time with Lucy - both to hire her to shake my family tree and to be a friend. She can be very professional and then very funny.
Lucy has just completed a family tree for a local Texas family, long connected with the state and worth buckets of money. Hanging on their tree is the mystery of how a relative died back in 1849. It has been family lore, full of conflict and hard feelings. Lucy sheds light on the death when she uncovers a journal and a daguerreotype that prove it was murder. Now that it has been revealed, somebody wants it to be erased permanently and the current generation adds a new murder to the family legacy. Lucy and those around her find themselves in danger. Even the FBI gets involved.
I am a true novice when it comes to genealogy but the information Lucy shares with her friends, also novices, made it clear enough to me that I wasn't in over my head on the subject. It also didn't hurt that there was a cat named NPH aka Neil Patrick Housecat - 18 pounds of orange fluff, with attitude.
There is no doubt that this series will find a place on my must be read list as long as it lasts and I hope it lasts a long time.
My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Minotaur and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Murder Once Removed
By S.C. Perkins
Minotaur Books
March 2019

Review by Cynthia Chow

If you want to know who is your third cousin three times removed, Lucy Lancaster is the person to ask. Not only can she explain what being “removed” actually means, Lucy and her Ancestry Investigations creates for clients a book of family records that includes her meticulous research, photos, DNA analysis, newspapers, and census reports. Lucy’s painstaking investigation for Gus Halloran leads to the unexpected discovery that his great-great-grandfather’s death was a murder and not an accident, and the culprit possibly being one of two Texas politicians. That the descendant of one of the suspects is currently running for Senate reelection against Gus’s son makes Lucy’s findings potentially explosive, and Gus is more than ready to set off the bomb. Unfortunately for Lucy, the combination of antihistamines and a martini lunch places her alongside Gus in TV news interview and makes a daguerreotype photo the target of a thief. The first of several break-ins is foiled by Lucy’s giving the photograph to her former boss and University of Texas curator Dr. Winnie Dell, who herself is sadly not so lucky. The arrival of a prickly and expressionless FBI agent only makes Lucy all the more curious, especially when Special Agent Benton Turner’s orders her to stay out of his business and leave the detecting for “real” investigators.

Readers who loved the genealogy mysteries of Rett MacPherson will adore this new series that enthusiastically and extensively delves into the world of family tree research. Genealogy terms and family lineage are fascinatedly explained, and even Lucy’s high school friends and officemates find themselves drawn into her research. That doesn’t mean that Jo Haroldson and Serena Vogel aren’t far more interested in setting up Lucy and finding her a hot Halloween costume, but their exuberance and humor is contagious. Lucy is not your clichéd stodgy genealogist obsessed with tracing lineage back to the Mayflower, and she combines the latest technology with her adored tangible newspapers and records stored within libraries. Special Agent Turner becomes the nemesis who irritates her as much as he intrigues her, and it certainly doesn’t help that he happens to resemble Indiana Jones in his professor mode. As the danger escalates and Lucy finds herself torn between two very powerful and likable political figures, she sensibly refrains from acting too rashly or placing herself recklessly at risk. The interactions between Lucy and her two BFFs always deliver laughs as they good-naturedly tease one another, but the real sparks fly between Lucy and the man whose initials make him the BAT in the bureau. Ensuing the success of this fun cozy debut are the inclusion of Neal Patrick Housecat, descriptions of mouth-watering Mexican delicacies, and an elaborate mystery from the 1800s that leads to a present-day murder.

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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.

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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!

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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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