Heavily spiced with spies, murder, and secrets


S. C. Perkins

Lineage Most Lethal: An Ancestry Detective Mystery

Minotaur Books

Hardcover (also available as an e-book and an audiobook), 978-1-2507-5007-5, 352 pgs., $26.99

July 21, 2020


Digging into the past can reveal not only fascinating genealogy connections but truths and lies, surreptitious activity, and even deadly secrets.


Lucy Lancaster is a certified genealogist, hired by Pippa Sutton, owner of the exquisite Sutton Hotel in Austin, Texas, to trace her family’s lineage and develop a corresponding video of relatives’ anecdotes and memories of long-dead family members. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Lucy is finalizing her genealogy research, family interviews, and video editing at the Sutton Hotel when she is accosted by a dying man and entrusted with a Montblanc pen that is the key to all sorts of secrets. Lucy jumps into action, using her genealogy skills to help solve the case, but will her curious nature and penchant for asking too many questions put her in the crosshairs of a killer?


Lineage Most Lethal by S. C. Perkins is the second book in the Ancestry Detective series, but it can easily stand alone, with only a few minor references to book one. Lucy is a likeable main character—smart, sassy, and very nosy, as any good genealogist should be.


While murder is obviously on the agenda, the overall mystery is both intricate and interesting, with the culprit difficult to identify until the very end. Greed is a typical motive for murder, but revenge and vindication rear up and wreak havoc in this story because of decades-old actions that live on for one descendant, who refuses to leave the past alone. A WWII spy scheme has resurfaced, and Lucy and her grandpa are in a race to unravel the evidence, decipher a code, and identify the people on a target list before they are murdered.


Lucy’s grandpa George may be in his 90s, but his mind is as sharp as it was when he participated in covert actions during World War II. The relationship and interactions between George and Lucy are endearing and give this cozy murder mystery a high level of character development. Romance is not high in Lineage Most Lethal, but for the romantic reader, all is not lost because a little enchantment on New Year’s Eve finally blossoms and may, perhaps, flourish in the next installment in this delightful mystery series.


Lineage Most Lethal has a serious plot that is softened somewhat by humor, quirky characters, and a loveable lab named Boomer. The author expertly adds a few red herrings to throw both the reader and Lucy off track, heightening the overall mystery and making it fun to puzzle through the questions, clues, and bodies that pile up.


S. C. Perkins keeps the pacing quick throughout, and the overall story stays on track, keeps the reader guessing, and is enticing enough to appeal to anyone who loves a good cozy mystery, heavily spiced with spies, murder, and secrets that keep the characters on their toes all the way to an ending that explodes with danger and revelations.


S. C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.