Murder has a family tree! . . . in Deadly Pedigree, an award-winning Louisiana genealogical mystery. Nick Herald, a professional genealogist in New Orleans, searches for Louisiana relatives of an elderly man, a Holocaust survivor. Soon Nick learns that his client is actually seeking strange vengeance on a wealthy New Orleans woman, who then persuades Nick to work for her and to steal the information she fears. Genealogical curiosity turns deadly as Nick stumbles upon murderous mysteries with roots reaching far back into the past. In the course of his investigation, Nick pieces together a tangled tale of bigotry, betrayal, lust, and shame spanning two centuries. He falls into the arms of the wealthy woman's beautiful daughter, with dangerous consequences for his conscience and his heart. And as the story draws to its conclusion, he learns far more about himself than he ever wanted to know. Finally, Nick makes courageous decisions to right old wrongs and expose the guilty, while doing his best to save his own neck. Ernest J. Gaines, acclaimed titan of American letters, had high praise for Foxs Deadly Pedigree: "This novel starts with a bang, and ends with a bang. It is a mystery, with all the characters you will find in most good mysteries--tough ones, evil ones, good ones, and in-between ones. The scenes of New Orleans (of the Quarter and the Garden District) and those of Natchitoches are brilliant. The plot takes us back into history, with a subject that is quite familiar: an older generation trying its best to keep a secret of identity from a younger generation."
Deadly Pedigree won 1st prize at the 1995 Deep South Writers Conference and was a finalist in the 1996 St. Martin's Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Contest. Additionally, during the spring and summer of 2000, Authorlink.com recognized Jimmy Fox as a "Featured Mystery Author" for Deadly Pedigree, the first novel in his Louisiana genealogical mystery series.
The star of Fox's mysteries is Nick Herald, an ex-college professor of English, now a Certified Genealogist, scratching out a paltry living in fascinating New Orleans, Louisiana. Undeservedly disgraced in his former profession, he has become an outsider, reluctant to trust or to love, but driven to help justice prevail. He scoffs at authority and sneers at hypocrisy. But his cynicism is tempered by an awareness that he too is a flawed human being. And his passion for genealogy is genuine, even spiritual: he believes that exploring the lives of our ancestors helps us better understand other people, other cultures, and other times.
Assisted by Hawty Latimer, a brilliant, young, disabled African American woman, Nick uses his vast store of knowledge, his remarkable memory, and--most of all--his intuition to root out the deadly rot festering within the Louisiana family trees he investigates. He's no hard-boiled hero; yet when cornered, he will fight to win against villains who seek to obscure, control, or destroy the preserved record of the past for their own criminal purposes.