A Texas-based genealogist takes on a deadly case.
Self-employed genealogist Lucy Lancaster is enjoying her renewed relationship with FBI Special Agent Ben Turner when a former colleague shows up with a problem. Camilla Braithwaite is not Lucy’s favorite person. Abrasive and snarky, she and her two acolytes made Lucy’s life miserable when she worked at a university library. Now a journal has published an article accusing Camilla’s well-respected ancestor Charles Edward Braithwaite of being a coward and deserter who lied about his Civil War service. Camilla wants Lucy to prove the charges false. Lucy agrees to take the job and begins researching—a tough job, as Civil War records are notoriously spotty. Camilla’s family is even facing a frivolous lawsuit by a family who claims that money spent entertaining Charles ruined them financially. The family tree is widely spread, and the branch belonging to Charles’ daughter is hard to track down. But Lucy perseveres in hope of finding part of an ugly triptych that’s a family treasure. Camilla owns one panel. Another belongs to her Uncle Charlie, who by accident discovers under the nondescript panel a stunning depiction of a battlefield. Lucy asks her friend Helen Kim, an art restorer, to take a look at it, but Uncle Charlie is smothered and the panel stolen before Lucy can pick it up. Fortunately, Ben has time off and can help Lucy with what turns out to be a most dangerous search.
Genealogists and history buffs will delight in the minutiae of this torturous tale of hate and greed.