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Bloodline Paperback – October 21, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of British author Mountain's superb second mystery to feature Natasha Blake (after 2005's Pale as the Dead), an oddly reticent client, Charles Seagrove, has hired the 29-year-old genealogist to research the family history of his granddaughter's boyfriend, John Hellier. Shortly after receiving a cryptic one-sentence note in the post, Natasha, who's become a complete workaholic since the breakup with her own boyfriend 18 months earlier, finds Seagrove shot dead on his Cotswolds farm. At considerable personal risk, she begins a quest into the past that leads to the discovery of horrifying family secrets and a link between the elderly victim and one of the more chilling aspects of Nazi philosophy. A dramatic conclusion, an intelligent, spunky heroine and credibly human and lovable supporting characters lift this refreshing, fast-paced whodunit. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Natasha Blake is a 29-year-old genealogist based in the Cotswolds. Right there you have a loaded-with-history setting and a career with tremendous potential for an amateur sleuth. In this second in the series, an elderly and very wealthy amateur genealogist gives Blake the assignment of tracing a family tree back to 1750--but no further. The assignment makes Blake uneasy about the genealogist's motives, since the family tree he wants traced belongs to his granddaughter's fiance. Matters are further complicated when Blake discovers a murderess hanging in the family tree. Then, when she keeps an appointment with the old man, she finds him murdered in his garden. Blake's investigation ultimately uncovers a long-hidden crime and raises the ghosts of her own past, mysterious to her since she is (fittingly) an orphan. A mystery as involving for its genealogical background as for its plot and characters. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (October 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752841130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752841137
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,503,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bloodline by Fiona Mountain is the second book in the Natasha Blake genealogist mystery series. After an elderly man hires Natasha to investigate the family background of his granddaughter's fiance, he is mysteriously murdered. The man's son hires Natasha to find out why. Mountain does a much better job this time of connecting with the reader. Natasha's connections to her friends and family deepen and develop as well. There are loads of subplots, including Natasha's insomnia which occasionally makes her take actions that had me shaking my head in disbelief. The story takes an unexpected dark turn as Natasha finds out that sometimes finding the answers to questions only creates more questions with answers no one wants to hear. This was a fun read that made me think a bit too. I look forward to the next in the series.
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Format: Paperback
Young, attractive genealogist, Natasha Blake has been commissioned by a charming but strange old man, Charles Seagrove, to research the family tree of his granddaughter, Rosa's boyfriend. Her search reveals a murderess and a series of criminal types in the boy's background, causing Charles to forbid Rosa to have any further contact with the boy.When Charles is murdered by a shotgun blast, his son Richard asks Natasha to continue with the genealogical search as he feels that there are answers to be found in Charles's past history, which was bound up with his farm and a number of Land Army girls who worked for him during WW2. What follows is a fascinating series of revelations, all connected to the Nazi party's policy of Lebensborn, the plan to populate Germany, and eventually the world, with genetically and racially pure children, all of Aryan descent. It's a chilling indictment of racial purification and all that it entails. It was an interesting read with a heroine whose exploits I intend to follow in her other books.
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Format: Paperback
Fiona Mountain had a good idea for a mystery with Bloodline, but she ruined it with her ham-fisted way of telling a story. She seems never to have heard that the cardinal rule of good writing is "Show, don't tell", but repeatedly hits the reader over the head with the points she wants to make. She insists on calling attention to the parallels between Natasha's life and the mystery she's investigating, as if she (the author) were afraid a reader wouldn't be clever enough to notice them on her own. For example, in describing a scene that takes place in a garden, she says, "The exposed and tangled roots of the weeds were pale through the covering of dark soil", and then feels compelled to add, "The analogy of roots being ripped up wasn't lost on her." Trust me, if you make it to page 262 (where this passage appears), the analogy wouldn't be lost on you either, even without the authorial intervention.

In my review of Mountain's previous book (Pale as the Dead), I commended her for not letting her research get in the way. Unfortunately, that isn't the case with this book. Too often, reading it felt like reading the author's research notes. She even has one character -- an elderly woman who isn't an academic -- say that, in a conversation which took place many years ago, another character "quoted J. Hooper Harvey's Heritage of Britain". I find it hard to believe that the character would have remembered not only the title of the book, but also the author's full name, right down to the "J. Hooper". Sounds to me more like the author, fresh from the library, speaking.

The Natasha Blake mysteries are a bit like Sarah Stewart Taylor's Sweeney St. George mysteries (O' Artful Death, etc.
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