The America Ground by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Goodwin is a historian, genealogist, and accomplished writer. This book is part of his Morton Farrier genealogical mystery series. The books are all set primarily in England, being as Goodwin is British. The books can be read in any order, but there is a thread through all the books pertaining to Morton’s personal life and his own family history mystery (he’s an adoptee). Some of the Morton Farrier books are novellas and there is also a short story, which was my introduction to Morton (Goodwin offered it free).

Each book begins with a dramatic event set sometime in the past. It could be during the world wars, or earlier. The America Ground, fourth book in the series, starts out in the mind of a murderer as he commits his crime back in 1827. Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist, becomes invested in past events when a local antiques dealer asks him to research the life of a portrait subject. In the course of his investigation, he learns about a strip of land in Hastings, Sussex, known as the America Ground, for reasons I won’t reveal. The history of this piece of land is real and plays a role in the life of the woman in the portrait.

The book bounces between the past, as events unfold, and Morton’s sleuthing in the present. Typical for the genre, Morton tends to find that the past is not really dead, and his investigation puts him in mortal peril.

I especially enjoy Goodwin’s talent for bringing historical events vividly to life, and also his main character’s genealogical research processes. It doesn’t get much better than that for this family historian!

16 thoughts on “The America Ground by Nathan Dylan Goodwin”

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