“June 8, 1921. Ireland.
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.
November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.
How are the two events linked?
Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.
It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective.”
Today I am one of three blogs participating in The Irish Inheritance blog tour. I am a huge fan of author M J Lee’s Inspector Danilov series (click here to read my review of City of Shadows), so I can’t wait to get my teeth into this new series.
I am delighted to share a guest post with you today. Martin has written a fascinating piece on family secrets. Over to you Martin…
WHAT’S YOUR FAMILY SECRET?
All families have secrets. It’s one of those truisms that is undoubtedly true.
You only have to watch the mesmerising revelations on Who do you think you are? or The Will to see that the deeper we dig into our families the more secrets we will find. Hidden by old aunties, buried in old photographs, or simply hushed up by drawing a curtain over the past.
My own family secret was not that common. My grandfathers fought on opposing sides during the Irish Civil War. One was a member of the Free State Army whilst the other was a Captain in the IRA. I often wonder whether they ever met.
Below you’ll find a chart of the most common family secrets in Britain today. By the way, I think Yorkshire has far more secrets than any other region, they are just less willing to admit it than most. It’s the classic Yorkshire belief of ‘Don’t say nowt to nobody.’
Family secrets are a wonderful source for novelists, particularly people such as myself who write Genealogical Mysteries. Through the techniques of the genealogical researcher, secrets can be discovered, tales told, and the past revealed in a way that no other mystery can match.
In my latest novel, the Irish Inheritance, the detective, Jayne Sinclair, uses genealogical sources to discover the real parents of an American billionaire, adopted when he was just four years old. All she has to help her are an old library book, an adoption certificate and a photograph. But these few objects lead her on a chase through time all the way back to the Easter Rising of 1916, revealing a saga of murder, mystery, greed and despair. Her employer’s family has a whole host of secrets, the greatest which is hidden until the very end of the book.
What’s your family secret? Is there something exciting, strange or forbidden in your past?
One reader has already told me the story of her family. It will form the basis of the second Jayne Sinclair genealogical mystery appearing at the end of 2016.
I’d love to hear other stories. All will be kept confidential of course. Just drop me a line at the website below.
In the meantime, good luck with your genealogical searches, but be careful what you find. Some family secrets want to stay buried.
Martin Lee is the author of three previous historical crime novels. This book is the first time he has managed to combine two of his passions – crime and genealogy – into one novel. It is also the first in a new genealogical mystery series featuring the investigator, Jayne Sinclair.
He can be contacted at www.writermjlee.com, on Facebook at writermjlee and on twitter at @writermjlee. He’s nothing if not original with his names.
Thank you for such an interesting post, Martin. My dad has been tracing our family tree for some time now so I’ll have a word with him and see what he has discovered (if anything!).
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.