From Publishers Weekly
In British journalist Waddell's solid fiction debut, a police procedural, Scotland Yard recruits genealogist Nigel Barnes to assist in solving a grisly series of murders in London. The victims vary in gender, age and means of death, but the corpses are all marked with 1A137. Barnes determines that the number refers to the death certificate of Albert Beck, an 1879 murder victim who was stabbed to death in a churchyard on the same date as one of the modern victims. Digging deeper, Barnes discovers that Beck was one of five victims attributed to the so-called Kensington Killer and that Eke Fairbairn was tried and executed for the crimes. Evidence suggests that Fairbairn was wrongfully convicted and that a distant descendant is taking revenge on the relatives of those involved in the 19th-century prosecution. Waddell's adept characterization and pacing make for an exciting start to a new series, though some readers may find the coincidence at the denouement too improbable. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In a London cemetery, a man’s body is found. During the autopsy, the police discover the body has been marked with a string of letters and numbers that appears to be the code for a particular file in the Family Records Centre. To locate the file and unearth its relevance to the murder, police engage the services of Nigel Barnes, a professional genealogist. So begins the first installment of what one hopes will be a series featuring Barnes, a wily and likable amateur sleuth. This is journalist Waddell’s first novel, but it reads like it was written by a seasoned pro, sharply plotted and populated by three-dimensional people. The story is intricate, and readers will appreciate the care Waddell takes to incorporate Barnes’ profession into the mystery. The genealogist-sleuth is a relatively unmined vein in mystery fiction, and Waddell’s hero is a bit edgier than Rhett McPherson’s Torie O’Shea and Fiona Mountain’s Natasha Blake, who appeal primarily to cozy fans. Let’s hope Waddell can find many more genealogical excuses for Barnes to assist the police with their inquiries. --David Pitt