Sophreena McClure and Esme Sabatier are back in this, the second novel in the Family History Mystery Series. Their client, Olivia Clement, is recovering from treatment for breast cancer. Her illness has shaken her and upset her family and friends too. The friends banded together to help Olivia through her treatment, but they also want to give Olivia something special for her birthday—Sophreena and Esme’s genealogical research services.
Olivia is thrilled. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents died before she knew them. She grew up as an only child, raised by her mother and and aunt and uncle who lived next door. The adults in her life rarely spoke about her father who disgraced the family by running away during World War II to avoid the draft. Olivia really wants to know about her father–What kind of man was he? Why did he leave? Could he still be alive?
Soph and Esme get to work right away, visiting Olivia almost daily to ask her questions, review boxes of family memorabilia, and bring Olivia up-to-date on leads they found searching the web. These daily interactions cause the women to notice certain things about Olivia’s family–her son’s great cooking and his dissatisfaction with his legal career; her daughter Beth’s deference to her bullying husband Blaine; and Beth’s unsettled relationship with Blaine’s brother. Creating an unwelcome distraction is a young filmmaker, Tony Barrett, who is staying with Olivia while he interviews an elderly local man. He has recently enlisted Beth to help him with the interviews. Beth enjoys this work, and the old man seems to have taken a shine to her
But when Beth arrives injured and a bit incoherent for her mother’s birthday party, everything changes. Just as dessert is being served, Detective Denton Carlson arrives to tell Beth that her husband has been murdered. Soph and Esme (who has been dating Detective Carlson) pump him for information, but little is known about Blaine’s death other than how he died. The where, when, why, and who did it are unknown. As the police work on the case, Soph and Esme try to continue their research while treading very gently with a family that has had more than its share of trauma. To take some pressure off Beth, Soph steps in to help Tony complete his interviews. Little does anyone know how important his work will be to Olivia’s family.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.
For the first book in the Family History Mystery Series, see Paging the Dead.