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Death of a Cuckoo

Legacy of Guilt by Wendy Percival

As someone who researches their family history, I have been so pleased to see the rise of genealogical mystery as a genre. Perfect for anyone who likes to solve a puzzle while they are reading, these books also often contain a murder for those of us who like a good fictional killing! If this is a genre you have not yet experienced, can I recommend you start with one of the several short stories that are available, such as this one, Legacy of Guilt, by Wendy Percival. This short story is available as a free download on Wendy’s website, https://www.wendypercival.co.uk/.

Wendy’s books feature genealogist Esme Quentin, and in this prequel Legacy of Guilt, we discover how she embarked on her new career. Widowed and still coming to terms with her loss, Esme has a new house and is at a crossroads in her life. A chance encounter with her long-lost cousin leads her into using her genealogical skills to uncover a hidden past and deeply buried family secrets. Here, we see Esme at the very beginning of her new job, learning her trade with the help from a friend. From reading the other books, and knowing that she is now a successful genealogist, it was interesting to see her relying on the advice of others, something all of us researchers have done at one time or another.

If you are after a quick read and an introduction to this author or genre, then Legacy of Guilt is a great place to start. The other books in the series are:

Blood Tied

The Indelible Stain

The Malice of Angels

Death of a Cuckoo

With thanks to Wendy Percival for generously providing The Legacy of Guilt.

 

 

The Malice of Angels by Wendy Percival

When Max Rainsford, a former journalist colleague of her late husband, Tim, arrives to quiz Esme about a story he was working on thirty-five years ago, the genealogist is reluctantly forced to revisit her troubled past. Meanwhile, Esme’s friend, Ruth, is desperate to know the story behind her aunt, Vivienne, a nurse during the Second World War who never returned home. As Esme starts her investigation, she soon realises that the two cases are linked and is forced to come face to face with the devastating truth about her husband’s death.

The Malice of Angels is the third full-length Esme Quentin mystery and is by far the most complex. At the start of the book, we see Esme preparing to relocate to Devon where she will be nearer some of her old friends. The appearance of Max Rainsford, however, makes her return to a particularly dark period in her life when her husband was killed whilst pursuing a story. Initially reluctant to help Max with his task, she is soon drawn in after looking at her late-husband’s notebooks from the time of his death. Ever since being introduced to Esme, it was inevitable that her past would, one day, be explored and Wendy Percival has done this with style. I really felt for Esme as she was forced to confront her past and finally discover the true circumstances behind Tim’s death.

The way the two stories intertwined was very clever and I particularly enjoyed reading about a part of World War Two that I didn’t really know too much about – the Special Operations Executive. The story of Vivienne, Ruth’s aunt, was a particularly harrowing one and was one that was filled with subterfuge and cover-ups. It was clear to see how much research the author had done in order to make this complicated plot into a story that was easy to follow. I also liked the short chapters, making you want to read ‘just one more’ before putting it down.

Lately, for fans of Esme, we have been spoilt with The Malice of Angels and, also, the short story Death of a Cuckoo. I hope it won’t be too long before we find out what Devon life holds in store for the genealogist.

The Malice of Angels is available now: The Malice of Angels 

 

Monthly Round Up: August 2017

August is always the month where I manage to read more books due to having time off work and this month I’ve managed to read a range of genres. I’m also pleased that I managed to finish another one from my Jo Nesbo tbr pile!

Books I’ve Read

51Ry-oprklLGirl A

The true story behind the Rochdale sex ring, as dramatised by the BBC in ‘Three Girls’ is shocking and heartbreaking read which leaves you with so many emotions.

 

517jii+ZhdLThe Silk Weaver’s Wife by Debbie Rix

Set both in the present day and the eighteenth century, The Silk Weaver’s Wife tells the story of two women unhappy with their lot and the ways in which their lives are changed. Vivid images of Italy in the 1700s are created bu the author’s wonderful description.

4631636995_252x379Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival

A short story featuring the genealogist Esme Quentin, full of mystery and intrigue as a recently-bereaved woman tries to uncover the real story behind her background.

 

51h+jCAxF8LDead Silent by Mark Roberts

The second in the DCI Eve Clay books sees the detective trying to find a particularly gruesome murderer who is staging scenes from disturbing paintings. A fast-paced, exciting read.

 

71sRUnuQnbLGood Friday by Lynda La Plante

The third of the Prime Suspect prequels sees Jane Tennison, now a fully-fledged detective, fearing for her life as she witnesses an IRA bomb at Covent Garden underground station.

 

Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

Nemesis, the fourth of Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series sees Harry investigating a fatal bank raid whilst also trying to prove himself innocent of a crime he didn’t commit.

 

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

When Cara travels from England to the US for some time away from her problems, she doesn’t ever imagine that she is going to become embroiled in one of the biggest murder cases that America has ever seen. An enjoyable read.

 

Find Me by J S Monroe

Jar has never really come to terms with the suicide of his girlfriend five years ago so when he is convinced that he’s seen her in a train station, it sets off a chain of events that threatens to rock his world completely. My review will be published on September 12th as part of the blog tour.

 

Books I’ve Acquired

Nothing Stays Buried is the eighth book in P.J. Tracy’s addictive and internationally bestselling Monkeewrench series

There’s a search for a missing girl, and another for a serial killer: death holds all the cards . . .

When Marla Gustafson vanishes on her way to her father’s farm, her car left empty on the side of an isolated country road, even Grace MacBride and her eccentric team of analysts are baffled.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi have a serial killer on their hands – two women murdered in cruelly similar fashion, with playing cards left on the bodies. But one card is an ace, the other is a four – it seems the killer is already two murders ahead.

With both teams stumped, it slowly becomes clear the evidence is inexplicably entangled. And they have little time to unravel the threads: a twisted killer is intent on playing out the deck…

 

She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

 

In her most dangerous case yet, Jayne Sinclair investigates the family background of a potential candidate to be President of the United States of America.

When the politician who commissioned the genealogical research is shot dead in front of her, Jayne is forced to flee for her life. Why was he killed? And who is trying to stop the American Candidate’s family past from being revealed?

Jayne Sinclair is caught in a deadly race against time to discover the truth, armed only with her own wits and ability to research secrets hidden in the past.

 

I can’t wait to read the Robert Bryndza book and see what it has in store for Erika! It’s also now only a matter of weeks before Dan Brown’s new book, ‘Origin’ hits the shelves – I’m so pleased that he’s, once again, decided to set this one in Europe.

Happy reading!

 

Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival

4631636995_252x379When Gina Vincent’s mother dies, she is shocked to find a photograph that challenges everything she thought she knew about her life. Calling upon the services of genealogist Esme Quentin to help her make sense of it all, their search takes them to an abandoned property formerly used as a home for young pregnant women. Secrets run deep in this building and Gina soon finds herself facing danger as she tries to uncover the truth about her past.

It has been some time since we last read about Esme Quentin (Blood-Tied and The Indelible Stain) so this book was long overdue! Death of a Cuckoo is not a full-length novel, but Wendy Percival has still managed to write a superb page turner, linking mystery and genealogy effortlessly. For anyone who hasn’t read the previous books in the series, this could be read as a standalone and would provide a good introduction to the character of Esme.

In Death of a Cuckoo, Esme takes a back seat in the investigation, providing the main character, Gina, with advice and recommendations of where to go next. As in most books of this genre, this turns out to be more than just a straightforward case of family research as secrets from the past start to impact on the present, putting the lives of all those involved in danger. The mystery was an interesting and plausible one and I felt for Gina as she tried to find out who she really was in the most awful of circumstances.

This is a well-written short read and I hope that the wait for the next Esme Quentin story isn’t as long!

 

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