The Blood Ballad
St. Martin's, Feb 2008, $23.95
New Kassell, Missouri genealogist Torie O'Shea uncovers some fascinating information re her fiddler grandfather, John Robert Keith. He apparently had ties to the 1930s regionally popular country band Morgan Family Players. Glen Morgan, the grandson of band member Scott Morgan, informs Torie that he has found a tape that implies his grandfather claimed authorship of songs that apparently her grandfather wrote.
While on a bird watching expedition, Torie notices someone dump what turns out to be the corpse of Clifton Weaver, another Morgan grandson. She already rules out coincidence and her opinion is affirmed when a CD arrives apparently sent by Weaver before he died with someone singing the tune of a murder confession by Belle Morgan, who vanished many years ago. Torie follows the song’s clues that take her to Belle's body. Starting to fear what else will fall out of the family trees, Torie keeps on shaking the branches.
This is a fun entry in a fine series (see THICKER THAN WATER) as Torie learns a lot about the apparently cutthroat Depression music industry in the Ozarks as much as the modern day murder mystery while she follows the genealogical paths which converge on a contemporary killer. Although not quite as exciting as her past escapades in BLOOD RELATIONS investigations, cozy readers still will appreciate Torie’s latest genealogy adventures as a murderer makes research dangerous.