It all begins when West Kansas historian Lottie Albright receives a submission for her oral history project. Written by Zelda St John, aunt of political hopeful Brian Hadley, the piece examines torrid racist attitudes in the family’s history. This is the sort of book you settle into and read with relish. Deadly Descent by Charlotte Hinger is a mystery thriller which moves with steady detailed steps as the tension twists and twists like a screw being slowly turned.
A first murder is followed rapidly by a second, Lottie is sworn in as a deputy and balances her twin jobs of detecting and collating historical records. The two jobs fit neatly together until anonymous letters start to arrive. Lottie is ably supported by her quiet long-suffering husband Keith, and her clinical psychologist twin sister Josie. Remember the twin thing, it is important later. Sam Abbott, sheriff of the woefully-underfunded Carlton County police, welcomes the resources of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations and so distracts Lottie with research into an old dead case: the old Swenson murders. This feels like a massive diversion, but go with the flow of this book and you will be rewarded.
Hinger plots intricately and draws a totally believable picture of the historical society in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets. Lottie’s project involves everyone writing the story of their family: for some people, the shame is too much.
This is the first of the Lottie Albright series of family history mysteries. For more about Charlotte Hinger’s books, visit her website. Hinger is a Western Kansas historian who edited more than 500 family submissions for county history books.
If you like ‘Deadly Descent’, try these other genealogy novels:-
‘The Blood Detective’ by Dan Waddell
‘Hiding the Past’ by Nathan Dylan Goodwin
‘In the Blood’ by Steve Robinson
‘Deadly Descent’ by Charlotte Hinger, LottieAlbright#1 [UK: Poisoned Pen Press] Buy at Amazon
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