From Publishers Weekly
When Nick Fewings inherits a portrait of his great-grandfather Solomon Margerson in British author Sampson's engaging third genealogical mystery (after February 2010's A Malignant House), his wife, Suzie, unearths information on Margerson and sparks the family's interest in vacationing in St. Furseys, the seaside village where Margerson had lived, and learning more about his past. Odd activity in the waters beyond the harbor persuades Millie, the Fewings' 14-year-old daughter, and Anna, her cousin, that drug trafficking or other smuggling is occurring, despite her parents' and brother's skepticism. However, when Millie and Anna fail to return home, the Fewings are forced to consider that Millie may have been right as they search frantically for the girls and uncover more than they bargained for. The loyal teamwork of the extended Fewings family, brisk pace, tense climax, and distinctive characters combine into an entertaining read for those looking for a mystery in the Mary Stewart tradition.
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After inheriting a portrait of his great-grandfather, who was lost at sea, Nick Fewings; his genealogist wife, Suzie; and their children travel to St. Furseys, on the east coast of England, to research his family’s history. While there, his 14-year-old daughter, Millie, becomes fascinated by stories of smugglers, both past and present. When Millie and her cousin Anna don’t return from a walk, their frantic parents organize a search. The girls return the next day, unharmed, but refuse to tell their parents (or the police) where they have been. Eventually, they reveal their story, confirming Nick’s fears that his family is in danger. Sampson salts her suspenseful tale with plenty of background on genealogical research, smuggling, and the seafaring life, and she conveys a strong sense of the wide-open coastal region of England’s east coast. --Sue OBrien