The Magazine for Crime & Mystery



Val McDermid Interview

Nevada Barr on writing HUNTING SEASON plus an excerpt

Paul Doherty's short story THE KYRIE MAN

Stark Contrasts Michael Carlson examines the pulp fiction of Richard Stark

Have you got what it takes to be a Writer? by Fiona Shoop

It Could Only Happen in Hollywood

A Promise to the Past: A Genealogical Mystery

James G. Brown

Writer's Digest $21.95pbk


Reviewed by Simon Fowler

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Family history is like a crime novel in that both are trying to solve a mystery - where we came from or who shot the victim. Yet there are surprising few books which try to combine the two. This is the first one I've come across, and although it is flawed, it is certainly a brave attempt.
David Baker, a successful Massachusetts businessman, is motivated to start his genealogical research by the death of his mother. In his search he meets Abigail Palmer and between them they are drawn into the mystery of a beautiful old house on the Maine coast, which was once owned by a common ancestor. The house, naturally, is under threat from evil developers.
The bad news is that the book is at least 100, perhaps 150, pages too long, with far too many irrelevant characters, including a resident ghost, which does not add to the story at all. The good news is that the ending is pretty exciting and there are some nice attempts characterisations. But the book is a fascinating study of the mechanics of novel writing, a barely edited oddity.

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