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Death on the Family Tree (Family Tree Mysteries, No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Sparkling…witty…a real treat…as refreshing as a mild julep, a true Southern pleasure.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub, praise for Patricia Sprinkle)

“The sort of light entertainment we could use more of in the hot summer days.” (Denver Post, praise for Patricia Sprinkle)

“Quintessential cozy writer!” (Florida Sun-Sentinel)

“Like spending an afternoon in the porch in the porch swing on Aunt Dixie’s veranda” (JoAnna Carl, praise for Patricia Sprinkle)

“This series is a winner” (Tamar Myers, praise for the Thoroughly Southern Mystery series)

“As Southern as Sunday fried chicken and sweet tea. Sprinkle’s Hopemore is as captivating as Jan Karon’s Mitford.” (Carolyn Hart, praise for the Thoroughly Southern Mystery series)

“An intricate web of suspense and intrigue lead to an enthralling mystery.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub, praise for DID YOU DECLARE THE CORPSE?)

“A terrific read.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub, praise for WHO KILLED THE QUEEN OF CLUBS?)

“[E[njoy this down-home mystery full of charming characters and sparkling Southern witticisms.” (FreshFiction.com, praise for WHO KILLED THE QUEEN OF CLUBS?)

“Patricia Sprinkle knows how to write a charming and quaint mystery. A great installment in a winning series.” (Harriet Klausner, praise for WHEN WILL THE DEAD LADY SING?)

“[A]n excellent traditional mystery.” (ReviewingTheEvidence.com, praise for WHO LET THAT KILLER IN THE HOUSE?)

“Readers who are fans of Carolyn Hart and Kate Kingsbury will want to buy Patricia Sprinkle’s latest.” (Harriet Klausner, praise for WHO LEFT THE BODY IN THE RAIN?)

“The humor and drama will keep you reading.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub, praise for WHO INVITED THE DEAD MAN?)

“This mystery keeps you turning each page in suspense….I can’t wait for the next adventurous mystery!” (The Lamplighter, praise for WHEN DID WE LOSE HARRIET?)

“[A] fun read for mystery fans.” (Library Journal, praise for BUT WHY SHOOT THE MAGISTRATE?)

About the Author

Patricia Sprinkle grew up in North Carolina and Florida, graduated from Vassar College, and afterwards spent a year writing in the Scottish Highlands. She has been writing mysteries full time since 1988, and currently lives in Smyrna, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. She and her husband have two grown sons. When she is not writing, Patricia is active in advocacy for abused, neglected, and deprived children.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060819685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060819682
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By MysteryPoodle VINE VOICE on January 1, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love both genealogy and mystery novels, so was tickled to find a book that combines the two. What I didn't expect was such a sympathetic protagonist -- a middle-aged woman who literally wakes up one day to realize that, having lived to care for children, husband and aged relatives, she is suddenly in a position to "live for herself," and she isn't sure just how she wants to go about that! Katharine also reacts surprisingly (for a mystery novel!)realistically to the events with which she is confronted... if she goes to question someone, it is because the author provides her with a legitimate reason to do so, not just because she is nosy and it is the only way to advance the story. I mean, don't you sometimes get tired of the amateur sleuth that shows up on the doorstep of a complete stranger to question him even though its none of her business, and dangerous, besides? Also, Katharine shows some actual emotional maturity in her relationships and observations about others that is very refreshing... just because she's been a homemaker most of her life doesn't mean she is naive or empty-headed, a novel approach.

I love Katharine Murray and can't wait to find out what she does next... do we really have to wait a whole YEAR, Ms. Sprinkle????
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By A Customer on December 26, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On her forty-sixth birthday, Katherine Morrow wakes up feeling alone and unwanted. Her husband works during the week in Washington DC and her children have grown up and left leaving her with nothing to do. She has a beautiful home in the Posh Atlantic superb of Buckhead but nobody to share it with. Her dull life suddenly gets more interesting when a box containing a necklace and a diary is delivered from the nursing home where her aunt recently died.

She learns that her aunt had a brother that she never knew about who owned the two items she just received. He got them in Austria when he visited there in 1938. Katherine makes no secret about the items but someone obviously wants the diary because her home was broken into while she was there. The robber never saw her but he stole a collection of jade and the diary. Katherine feels lucky that she made copies of the diary but her house is broken into again and this time was totally destroyed. She believes thieves are looking for the necklace and the diary. Two people who knew about the objects were murdered and if Katherine isn't careful, she could be the next victim.

Patricia Sprinkle who writes cozies that have no violence in them has started a new mystery series that is every bit as good as her Judge MacLaren Yarbrough and Sheila Travis series. The protagonist copes in one week with more traumatic incidents then most people do in a life time. She earns the admiration of the audience by her actions and the way she copes single handedly with events that are very frightening. The storyline is totally absorbing and the fast paced plot will keep readers turning the pages.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a long-time genealogist, I usually find historical research in mysteries entertaining, and this book's story along that line was pretty good. Katharine really did little research -- most everything dropped into her lap -- but she was a beginner. I hope her skills pick up as the series continues. I agree with other reviewers that the number of secondary characters made keeping track of relationships more difficult than it should have been, and some were simply introduced and then faded away -- to turn up in subsequent books? What really irritated me was that too much of the book dealt with Katharine's indulging herself on her husband's dime -- lots of clothes and home decorating descriptions -- but then her whining that his job kept him away too much. For a woman in her mid- to late 40s with an education and two grown kids out on their own, I would have thought by that point she'd have enough inner resources to go get a job, volunteer, something besides wandering around her huge home bemoaning she never uses her pool anymore and that her professionally decorated music room really isn't "her." As a single working mother, I guess I couldn't find much sympathy for her plight. Also, I considered some of her decisions just plain dumb. I'll give her one more book to redeem herself with some gumption, self-reliance and the ability to put two and two together.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was unimpressed with my earlier reading of Patricia Sprinkle, and decided to give this one a try, as I'm a fan of genealogical research myself. This will probably be my last one, because the novel didn't really click. Perhaps the cozy genre itself isn't my thing.

Kate Murray is appealing enough as a main character, with some unexpected edge as she pushes back at her unsupportive husband and flirts with a little action on the side. She sounded a bit like those astronaut wives who, when asked to comment on how difficult it was for their husbands to be in space, remarked that you should realize how hard it was to stay behind and deal with everything. Naturally, our underestimated heroine comes through.

The mystery itself and plot are also reasonable, with some surprises in store regarding family relationships. In fact, there are so many characters and relationships by marriage that one might get a tad confused.

Two weaknesses were rather clumsy observations about political and religious topics and some silly scenes. As an example, when Kate first goes to the research center and meets two gentlemen who later come to blows, that whole stretch made little sense.
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