What I’m Reading

I just started to read the latest edition of Peter Calver’s free Lost Cousins e-newsletter when I discovered that Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk are offering a free digital copy of Steve Robinson’s genealogical mystery novel In the Blood.

Mystery novel, genealogy, what’s not to love?

Robinson is an English writer and amateur genealogist who converted a writing hobby into a full-time career, and In the Blood, published in 2011, is his first novel. Robinson’s protagonist, Jefferson Tayte, is a professional genealogist who doesn’t know who his own parents are. Set in Cornwall (home of my English ancestors), In the Blood centers around a family secret. Tayte’s genealogical research pulls him into a series of sometimes-violent adventures involving a well-drawn set of quirky characters.

Robinson has an easy, engaging writing style. Like many of my favorite writers, he is skilled in creating a rich sense of place. His Cornwall, where I’ve never been but have always wanted to go, feels real, as though you are there.

Speaking of characters, characterization is also a strong point–Jefferson Tayte is an sympathetic protagonist, and supporting characters are also well drawn. Tayte’s inner dialog shows vulnerability and humor as well as strength. He’s a person I’d be interested in meeting!

The plot twists and turns, holding interest, although, occasionally, Tayte’s activities invoke that Gothic-heroine reaction–“No! Don’t open that door!”

Writing, plot, characters, and setting–all good. I recommend the book both as a well-written mystery and for its genealogical tie-in.

Robinson has written two more novels in the Jefferson Tayte series–To the Grave, published in 2012, and the best in the series to date, The Last Queen of England, which also came out in 2012. Don’t miss the free Kindle edition of In the Blood, but hurry–offer ends January 28.

PS–Thank you to Peter Calver of LostCousins.com for introducing me to Steve Robinson’s work. If you’re interested in English genealogy and you don’t know about the free Lost Cousins website or subscribe to the free Lost Cousins e-newsletter, you’re missing out! To see the latest newsletter, click here.