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The Blood Ballad (Torie O'Shea Mysteries, No. 11) Hardcover – February 19, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In MacPherson's tepid 11th Torie O'Shea mystery (after 2007's Died in the Wool), the New Kassell, Mo., genealogist learns that her fiddler grandfather, John Robert Keith, was possibly related to the Morgan Family Players, a Depression-era country band famous in five states. Glen Morgan, the grandson of musician Scott Morgan, phones Torie to say he has a tape suggesting Torie's grandfather wrote some songs Scott Morgan took credit for. Meanwhile, during a birding expedition, Torie witnesses the dumping of a corpse, who turns out to be another Morgan grandson, Clifton Weaver. Soon after, Torie receives an eerie CD, evidently mailed by Weaver before his death. On the CD is a blood ballad, in effect the murder confession of Belle Morgan, a member of the clan who disappeared years earlier, sung by an unidentified female. When the song leads to the discovery of Belle's long-lost body, Torie gets on the case. Her slogging through genealogical clues doesn't have a lot of drama, but her warm spirit is sure to appeal to cozy fans. (Feb.)
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Praise for Rett MacPherson

“Torie’s determined historical detective work will absorb cozy readers.”
---Publishers Weekly on Died in the Wool

“MacPherson deftly ties together fascinating historical facts, colorful characters, and a suspenseful plot. This series seems to get more and more enjoyable with age.”
---Booklist on Thicker than Water

“Delightful . . . Weaving the story and the characters into the believable minutiae of small-town life, MacPherson provides a stellar example of the traditional cozy.”
---Publishers Weekly on Blood Relations

“A slice of Americana as warm and comforting as apple pie à la mode.”
---Booklist on Blood Relations

“O’Shea has developed into a thoroughly likable character. . . . Long may she snoop.”
---St. Louis Post-Dispatch on A Comedy of Heirs

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312362226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312362225
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,896,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As those of you who read works in this particular genre know, after several books, most authors sort of wear out. They seem to lose the "thing" that made their series so good in the first place. This is an endless list, and it is not the intent to go into that with this review. Those who read "cozy" mysteries will know precisely what and whom I am talking about.

Well delight of delights! This sad little and unfortunate trait has not infected Rett MacPherson one little bit. This is number eleven in her Torie O'Ohea Mystery series and I do believe that Ms. MacPherson is actually getting better and better with each book. Those that are familiar with these particular novels know that they center around a small town in Eastern Missouri and that the main character, Torie O'Shea is the local town historian, owner of two museums, the town's genealogist, mother of three children, owner of several animals, including horses, is involved in just about ever aspect of village life in the small community where she lives, knows most of the characters in the surrounding area and has a bad habit of getting involved with murder! This is one busy girl and if the reader is exhausted after reading one of the works in this series, then it is a good exhaustion and was well worth the effort.

Readers and fans will not be disappointed with this latest work. Torie becomes involved with birdwatchers, a rather wacky crew, right from the start, and good grief, she gets shot at and has a body thrown at her! She then becomes quite involved with a family who is a musical ledged in the area which lead her back to her own roots and a rather musical family.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne M Drayton on March 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I pre-ordered this title because I've enjoyed the previous Torie O'Shea books and, I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. I love old mysteries being solved, I love genealogy AND I really like the O'Sheas and extended family and friends (although Eleanore can be irritating!). One thing that's been driving me crazy is that in the first book, Colin was divorced with children. In a later book he had never been married. Unforgivable in a series revolving around family trees! That aside, I thoroughly enjoy the series and would recommend it to cosy readers who like a touch of history mingled with family life, humour and good writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
New Kassell, Missouri genealogist Torie O'Shea uncovers some fascinating information re her fiddler grandfather, John Robert Keith. He apparently had ties to the 1930s regionally popular country band Morgan Family Players. Glen Morgan, the grandson of band member Scott Morgan, informs Torie that he has found a tape that implies his grandfather claimed authorship of songs that apparently her grandfather wrote.

While on a bird watching expedition, Torie notices someone dump what turns out to be the corpse of Clifton Weaver, another Morgan grandson. She already rules out coincidence and her opinion is affirmed when a CD arrives apparently sent by Weaver before he died with someone singing the tune of a murder confession by Belle Morgan, who vanished many years ago. Torie follows the song's clues that take her to Belle's body. Starting to fear what else will fall out of the family trees, Torie keeps on shaking the branches.

This is a fun entry in a fine series (see THICKER THAN WATER) as Torie learns a lot about the apparently cutthroat Depression music industry in the Ozarks as much as the modern day murder mystery while she follows the genealogical paths which converge on a contemporary killer. Although not quite as exciting as her past escapades in BLOOD RELATIONS investigations, cozy readers still will appreciate Torie's latest genealogy adventures as a murderer makes research dangerous.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
(11th in fascinating Torie O'Shea mysteries)

This tale is set in the country around St. Louis, Missouri. Torie works at the historical society in New Kassel, Missouri, and also runs a small museum of women's textile arts in an historic home. She is a local historian and a genealogist, and a mother and wife.

While out birding with a friend, they are shot at-and run for their lives-only to have a trunk come crashing down a cliff, open at their feet and dump out a bloody body.

Later a descendant of the Scott Morgan musical clan comes to Torie with a CD which contains performances recorded years ago, with her grandfather as a young man playing with the famous Morgan family musicians. The introductions on the CD clearly state that her grandfather had written the songs, songs that Scott Morgan took credit for. During the Depression the small song royalties would have made a difference.

Then Torie's eccentric cousin Phoebe arrives with some old letters to Scott Morgan, written by Torie's great-grandmother. The letters chide him for his treatment of "the boy, who looks more like you than your own sons," and mentions a woman named Peggy. Phoebe assumes that means that Torie's grandfather was actually Scott Morgan's son. Torie does some research and finds the mother and son, one of three known as `other side of the blanket' children that Scott Morgan fathered over the years.

The dead man in the trunk, Cliff Weaver, had mailed Torie a CD, containing more Morgan family music, including a solo by a woman claiming to have murdered Belle Morgan. Morgan had disappeared supposedly with a lover in the 1930s, abandoning her husband and children. Using the information in the "blood ballad," as Torie calls it, she is able to direct the authorities to Belle's body.
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