Amazon UK £2.99 £8.99
Amazon US $3.90 $3.98
Amazon CA n/a
1930s / present
Esme Quentin, formerly an investigative journalist, now widowed and making a living as a freelance researcher, is shocked when her sister, Elizabeth, is involved in an incident leaving her in a coma. She is shocked even further when she discovers that Elizabeth is not her sister after all, according to a birth certificate she finds and, perhaps, what was thought to have been an accident may not have been after all. Esme is determined to uncover the truth despite her niece, Gemma's, objections and this leads her to an old lady in a nursing home and a half-century old scandal with some unresolved issues.
As you can imagine from her professions, Esme is a dogged pursuer of facts and in this, her début novel, she needs to be, for the family relationships do become very entangled and complicated. Ms Percival handles this superbly, as well as keeping the plot moving at a pace which is neither too fast nor too slow. The action takes place in the modern day, but the nature of the enquiry takes us back to events based in the 1930s and continuing through the decades.
Coupled with some likeable characters (and one or two not so likeable), I am happy to recommend this to those who like a gentle mystery but, more specifically, to those who have themselves wandered into the labyrinth of genealogy. I am also of the opinion that this would make an enjoyable mini-series on the small screen.
© Richard Tearle
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