Thursday, 30 October 2014

Book Review: The Lost Empress

If you like murder mystery mixed with genealogy try The Lost Empress by Steve Robinson. It's a page turner.
This fourth in a series of Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mysteries is timely. It's a fictional present day genealogical investigation of the period at the start of the First World War and the sinking of the Empress of Ireland.
To enjoy it you'll need to be prepared to accept a series of murders and turn on willing suspension of disbelief when it comes to coincidences.
Suppress your skeptical genealogist genes or you may be thrown off track, abruptly interrupting page turning.
In chapter 18 there's mention of a daughter no longer alive in the English 1911 census, the only source cited. But that census does not give gender of deceased children.
In chapter 33 finding information in the 1890 US census is mentioned, but less than 1% of that census escaped destruction.
While these aren't central to the story the existence of an article in The Quebec Mercury for June 1914 online is. In fact that paper published its last issue in October 1903, see http://goo.gl/3KGe2c (in French). The confusion may be due to an error propagated in a Wikipedia article that the newspaper survived until the 1950s. The French wikipedia article has the correct information.

The Lost Empress is $5.44 Cdn for the Kindle edition. The others in the series I haven't yet read are even less expensive.

Aside from enjoying the story it's almost worth it just to see if you can spot other genealogical issues.

Several other reviews are at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22341273-the-lost-empress


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