Friday, 31 May 2013

Armchair BEA - Ethics

Design credit: 
Sarah of Puss Reboots
What a great topic as part of the Armchair BEA - ethics and blogging. My personal view is this -
  • I will always disclose if I have received a copy of a book in exchange for a review. Over the last year though I have reviewed a few other things in addition to books.
  • Never sell the books or items on, instead 
    • I pass them along to another reader or user - (not ebooks)
    • Donate them to a worthy cause
    • I email the provider and seek the go ahead
  • Review Policy - I do have a review policy - HERE although it could do with an overhaul
  • I do not make any money from this (or any) blog that I am involved with. No affiliations with Amazon or other retail or institutions - to me blogging is a source of enjoyment, not a money making entity.
  • I do not plagiarise.
    • If I use an image I found on the internet I always provide the source of the image 
    • I always seek permission where possible
    • If I gain an idea for something on back of reading someone elses blog or post I provide a link - an example of this is the February Photo Collage Festival - You can see all the posts for this HERE
  • I do though, advocate an organisation called Kiva and belong to the Genealogists for Families Team (GFF) which welcomes genealogists and their friends and families to join in. There is a badge on the sidebar on this blog which shows the Kiva loans that I have personally made as part of the GFF team.
  • The opinions shared on Anglers Rest are mine and mine alone, unless I state otherwise.
  • As part of my profession I am bound by a Code of Ethics. I never discuss professional issues on my blog, in fact I rarely mention my profession, which is in the healthcare arena. If I do relate to the day job I always talk in general terms or mention things that are specific to me. Furthermore, I signed the Official Secrets Act in 1992 thus rendering part of my professional life untalkable!
The biggest bug bear of blogging and sharing material has to be Pinterest. Whilst I have an account and use it I have in the last week read of several bits of material from genealogical bloggers being shared via Pinterest and the sharer has removed the source information completely. Then last weekend someone dropped me a message to say that someone had lifted my picture (the one that I use as my profile on this blog) and shared it to their board.

I did two things. Firstly I left a comment advising that the person had breached my copyright and I left my URL to this blog and secondly I reported the user and this particular issue to the Pinterest team. Within the day the "offender" was removed, well that account anyway, from the site. I guess this was because they had been swamped with complaints.

I have a copyright note on my blog and on my website. I trust that other people will respect that note, just as I will respect anyone else's copyright.

Final comment. - This blog is my virtual living room. I share an assortment of things, mainly book or genealogical related and share photos of holidays etc. This blog is a reflection of my integrity and personal values.

What a great and fascinating subject to write about; it was good to get those little grey cells (Hercule Poirot - Agatha Christie character) working.

Armchair BEA - Genre: Non-Fiction In All Its Forms

Design credit: 
Sarah of Puss Reboots
For day 5 of the Armchair BEA our discussion is about non fiction.

I do read a fair amount of non fiction. I especially like memoirs, biographies and autobiographies. I also like travel texts and historical books with a real emphasis on genealogical books or themes.

My current non fiction read is for my monthly book group.
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in…

My recent non fiction purchases are these two books

Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World's…First Class: A History of Britain in 36…

The One Penny Orange Mystery by Morris…These were inspired purchases because I recently reviewed The One Penny Orange Mystery by Morris Ackerman which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then heard a podcast by Chris West about his book First Class. So having purchased the book I am looking forward to cracking on and reading it.

Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
In terms of a memoir/travelogue I can thoroughly recommend Without Reservation by Alice Steinbach, which I also mentioned yesterday. Sorry about that, but it is a lovely book and I really enjoyed reading it. You can read my review HERE and you can see a further post that I wrote HERE

I also enjoy reading books that are a combination of travel & cooking. The next book that I shall read that fits that description is Beyond the Pasta by Mark Donovan.
Beyond The Pasta; Recipes, Language and Life…

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Iodised Throat Tablets

I must have owned this tin about 20 years. Purchasing such old pharmacy items was a way of combining my love of history and antiques with the day job!

This tin dates from the 1920s and reads
"for the VOICE, MOUTH and THROAT
"Acts like a GARGLE. Always efficacious and reliable."

Armchair BEA - Literary Fiction

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
For day 4 of the Armchair BEA the topic is Literary Fiction. Wikipedia provides the definition of Literary Fiction HERE, but the rule of thumb is "critically acclaimed and serious" In fact reading the wikipedia definition and the subsequent details, not even the "writing professional" can agree on what exactly Literary Fiction is.

My personal view is the book is a "cut above the rest" apparently and perhaps has been seen by professionals and judges suitable for winning awards, rather than novelists that "churn books out in order to eat.

There, that is a harsh and brutal set of generalisations. - I am feeling delicate today so if you disagree please be nice!

I belong to a book group and each month we meet and discuss books and whatever else falls out of the general discussion. We have read in recent months books that have either been nominated for an award or won a prestigious award and we discussed what makes the book get the award. We agreed that it the nominated book is seen to have a WOW factor.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesAbout 18 months ago I read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, prompted by seeing the award being presented to the author on Sky News, who were covering the event.

The next time I was in the local library I checked the shelf and there it was, a slim book. I checked the book out and read it in an afternoon. A week later I re read the book and felt that I didn't get the book. I must be an idiot, a philistine. It was a well acclaimed book, won a prize & I didn't get it. 

I checked LibraryThing, where there are over 3,000 copies of the book registered in different libraries and over 200 reviews. Overall the book has a 4 star rating. I gave the book 3 stars, I liked the story, it was a clear and easy read with a twist in the tale, but did it have that WOW factor for me? No it did not and I think the book is over rated. 

Our book group read for April was Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman, which also was nominated for the Booker Prize and it was a first novel. I gave the book 3 stars on Librarything and you can read my review HERE. I think this book does have the WOW factor, it is a fictionalised account of something that happened in London and I had mixed feelings about this.

So can I recommend any Literary Fiction? - Actually no, I believe that readers should read what appeals to them from other reviews and book group choices rather than endlessly selecting those nominated for awards.  Reading is about learning, developing, thinking and enjoyment.

So on that note I will recommend a book that I have recently read, on the back of a blog post. The book is a  memoir & travel book and is Without Reservation by Alice Steinbach. You can read my review HERE and you can see a further post that I wrote HERE

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Armchair BEA - Blogger Development & Genre Fiction

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
We are already at day 3 of the Armchair BEA. Today the discussion is about blogger development & genre fiction.

Blog Development - I don't have all the answers, but this works for me. This blog has been operational since 2002. At the start I wasn't too sure what to do with a blog, but then I discovered several things

  1. Confidence - to share what I would tell anyone if they were standing with me. To be open and honest. If someone does not like what I write, well they don't have to read it!
  2. Get involved - Blog hops  & book tours - not just book specific, but those relating to genealogy too. The book blog community and the geneablogger communities are very friendly and welcoming. For those researching their ancestry - Geneabloggers is fabulous with daily prompts.
  3. Interaction - online friends & companions - people that share the same interests and the friendships that develop along the way. Comment on blogs and participate. 
I have embraced social media. Firstly, I allowed people to follow my blog via email or RSS feed. I also added Twitter. More recently I added Facebook page.

I share bits about me, books I liked (or not) and why. Genealogy and ancestry related posts. I take part in a few weekly memes - usually library loot and weekend cooking. I often share pictures as part of Sepia Saturday. I also do a rambling from my desk post every now and again. 

I try and write a blog post everyday or at least 3 times each week. The readers need to know that you are coming back and having fresh content helps. I very often schedule posts and to keep structured I bought a cheap diary which lives on my desk. That way I can ensure that posts I have promised to deliver such as book tours are kept.

I contribute to several other blogs  - Historical Tapestry and Smitten by Britain. I also write a monthly genealogical column for a digi magazine called The In-Depth Genealogist.

I blog and write because I enjoy it. It allows me interaction with others, people that I know and new people that I meet along the way. By interacting with others it is effectively an open door. You can read and become inspired and challenged to do things such as reading challenges or read-a-longs. My reading list has never been longer!

Genre Fiction - I read all sorts - I love history, so I often read a mixture of non fiction and fiction. I am often inspired by what I read and find that I often need to jot things down because I wonder if one of my ancestors did that, or because what I read reminds me to look something up, perhaps there is a name of an author, a quote or phrase. 

I also read literary fiction and enjoy reading books from authors such as Jennifer Chiaverini, who writes about a fictional group of Quilters. I am not into reading science fictions, about vampires or aliens. I like a degree of realism or fictional realism at least, yet I love the series of books by Diana Gabaldon, set in Scotland, I guess they can be described as mystical & historical - The Outlander Series. I also read cozy mysteries  - by such authors as Cleo Coyle

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

New England Captives Carried to Canada 1677 - 1760 by Emma Louise Coleman

A few weeks ago I received a lovely message to say that my name had been selected by Fieldstone Common and I had won a copy of New England Captives carried to Canada between 1677 - 1760 by Emma Louise Coleman and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Because of the time difference I, more often than not listen to the Fieldstone Common radio shows from the recording, and sometimes I not often a week or two late in listening.

This is the link to this episode, broadcast on 11th April which tells you a little about the book -

I am actually no stranger to the book. Back when I undertook my history degree this book, well the original two volumes that were published in 1925 were in fact on the reading list from the lecturer. Ironically no copy of these volumes existed in the university library, nor in any library within easy access of the south west of England.

This particular book is the republished complete volumes of those 1925 books. So how lucky am I?

The book arrived today, just before lunchtime to a pretty miserable south west England, so I whilst I my lunch I started to dip into this very interesting book.  Clearly I was so distracted as I had nearly finished my  ham roll, before I realised that I had forgotten to put the ham in!

At immediate first glance, it does look a really interesting book, which contains as much biographical data as was available about these individuals. In addition there is information on the social and economic aspects of the geography and the impact of the relationships between the natives and the new immigrants to the region.

Armchair BEA - Genre Classics

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
For a long time I struggled to read classics. I don't know why, perhaps the language or me or a combination of the two.

As I have got older and probably linked into my very healthy genealogical and history obsession I find classics of real interest and enjoyment. One of my favourites has to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which really gives the historical bit of me an insight for what life was like for families and women in the 18th Century. How important it was to marry into a good respected family and the consequences of marrying and not marrying. Fascinating!

A Room with a View by E. M. ForsterA later classic is A Room with a View by E M Forster, set in my home county of Surrey in parts and Italy. I remember the film produced in 1987 and the portrayal of the central character, Miss Honeychurch on her grand tour of Italy care of a spinster cousin, played in the film by Dame Maggie Smith, before returning home, to marry a pompous man, whilst loving a potentially unsuitable one. In the end Miss Honeychurch follows her dreams and it is all rather lovely. The other cast in the film were Dame Judi Dench and Helene Bonham Carter. 

I recall at school, for my senior exams we had to read Animal Farm by George Orwell. I recall reading it and wondering what on earth!, but when I came to history and looked at Russian history and then made the link between the facts and the book, courtesy of our English Lit teacher I read the book again and it all fell into place.  I have re-read the book since those days around 30 years ago and think perhaps I might have a another read. I still have that aged copy purchased when I was 15 so I could prepare for my exams.

Classics are timeless literature, they tell the same story whether you read when you are young, old or middle aged, the difference is, like with all reading what you get out of the book each time it is read. The superficial reading or perhaps the hidden meanings.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Armchair BEA 2013 - Introductory Post

Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots
Today starts the opening of the week long Armchair Book Expo America. With many of us not making it to New York this annual online event exists for those of us who miss out on the bookish event.

The introductory questions were posted last week HERE - the request is that online participants answer just 5 of the 11 questions below.
  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 
  2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures. 
  3. Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event? 
  4. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 
  5. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 
  6. Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s). 
  7. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? 
  8. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why? 
  9. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why? 
  10. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? 
  11. Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
3. Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? - Yes I have for the last two years I have participated somewhat randomly, but I have been here, reading and commenting!

4. What are you currently reading - My current read is The White Mughals by William Dalrymple. This is a non fiction book, set in 18th Century India and is the current read for my book group.
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in…

6. Name your favourite blogs - Well, I am not naming favourites, but I will share the blogs that I always read, even if the posts are stacked in my inbox

9. What Literary Location would you most like to visit? - I had always wanted to visit Jersey in the Channel Islands. We have twice, both times in 2011. As a result of those visits I had read a great deal about the island and the impact of the Second World War (it was the only part of the British Territories invaded by the German regime). So, I wanted to visit and then find that I was inspired by the history of the island and the books available.

10. What is your favourite part of the book blogging community - This is not just book blogging, but blogging in general. It has to be the people that we "meet" along the way, those that visit our blogs, read and comment. The random emails that people write, that simply says I stopped by and read X and want to comment to you privately. Events such as blog hops or BEA and the A-Z April Challenge that enables us to read other blogs that we might not have come across.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Surname Saturday & Sorting Saturday - Orlando One Name Study

Prompted by a combinations of discussions on the Guild of One Name Studies closed mailing list and the newly created and very popular The Organised Genealogist Facebook Group in addition to tackling a substantial pile of filing I thought I would share this post.

I host, as perhaps you are aware, two One Name Studies. The first study registered with the Guild of One Name Studies was Orlando, which is an Italian name. Over the last 10 year I have gathered quite a bit of information, some I had recently rediscovered and some was already filed.

As I sat filing and pondering yesterday I realised that I was not happy with my current structure. Paper is fine, but I really want to utilise online facilities too and share the data.

As one would expect the occurrences of the name Orlando is minimal in the UK and quite simply the spreadsheets are divided into
  • Parish Records - Births, Marriages & Deaths - any date 
  • Civil Registration 1837 - current day
  • Cemetery Records & Monumental Inscriptions
  • Directories and Occupations
These are not exhaustive, but you get the idea.

The most occurrences of the surname are in Italy, followed by the United States and that is where the problem starts.

Do I index by State or by record type?

Currently I hold
  • Births, Marriages and Deaths across a variety of States
  • Cemetery Details
  • Military Details
  • Naturalisations
  • Directories & Occupations
Again, these are not exhaustive and I am sure you get the idea.

I want to get the data under control, before I can extract any more details and I am wondering what others think.

Any thoughts or remarks are welcome!

Sepia Saturday 178 - Eyes, windows to the soul

The moment I saw this week's theme I knew exactly what photos I was going to share.

The two photographs are of the same lady, Emma Jane West nee Ellis. Emma Jane was the daughter of Henry and Caroline Harris nee Ellis and was born to the couple just after they married in October 1864.

The first picture (left) shows Emma Jane as a young woman. There is something very appealing with this photograph. Emma Jane married her Cousin William Arthur West, a widower in 1897 and I think this photograph dates from around that time.

The second photograph is of Emma Jane around the period of the end of the First World War. Emma is wearing a locket with a photograph of her son, William James West born in 1898. William sadly died in France in 1918 just two months before the First World War ended. If you look very carefully, you can just make out the picture of William James.

Incase, though you can not see the photograph clearly of William James, here is is. This photograph dates from before William sees the horrors of France. He was so young.

Taking part in Sepia Saturday

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Spectator 1712 - 1713

This lovely book is 300 years old. Isn't that fabulous. Not in the very best of conditions, but that is OK with me!

At some point over the last 300 years it has experienced damp and obviously endured some water spillage. I purchased this in the Spring of 1997 and since I owned it it has lived in our breakfast room display unit away from direct sunlight or heat.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Family Trees

Yesterday over at the Facebook group called The Organised Genealogist there was a discussion about public trees versus private trees.

I shared the fact that I have one private tree on Ancestry with no source material. I also host the same tree with all the source material and notes on my laptop with appropriate backups. I also shared the fact that I only have one tree. Having shared those details and reading through the other comments, I might review this in the future, but I thought that I might write a blog post and here we are!

My ancestry file is kept in the last version of Family Origins. I am going to change I think, but that will not be until the later part of this year at the earliest. My tree is called Main File and has existed for about 20 years.

Main File is in two parts - an electronic version as I mentioned above and a paper version which is the evidence and proof that supports and develops the electronic file. The paper file effectively starts with me and works back through my ancestors in generation order. The paper file allows me to expand and read what information I have about an ancestor or their siblings. The electronic version does that too, but I like to see the paper!

When I started researching my husband's ancestry that was added to Main File, although his paper file is separate.

  • Main File (electronic)  
  • Main File (paper)
    • JDG - My file
    • SPG - hubby's file
Documents that do not fit into the A4 ring binder have a sheet inserted into the A4 binder with the location of the material in a large A3 binder.

The rest of my material exists in a mixture of paper and electronic versions. References that do not fit into my tree are kept in the same format in either an electronic or paper version. The format is a filing cabinet with simply A-Z hanging dividers, with each surname covered. The electronic version is a series of files on an external hard drive.

In the early stages of sorting - showing the structure

The reason for this structure is fairly simple. My maternal line is located in the United Kingdom, in what we refer to as the Home Counties - Surrey, Sussex & Hampshire. For more than 200 hundred years my family in broad terms never moved out of those Counties and frequently crossed the County boundaries. I have therefore a repetition of several surnames - Butcher, Ellis, Denyer, Earle, Harris and Holt is just a few. I even have a Goacher transcribed as Goucher on my Grandmother's line, compared to the Goucher transcribed as Goacher family that I married into. What a headache that is! In fact my own Grandparents were 6th Cousins although they never knew in their lifetimes and I wonder what they would make of that!

I also host two One Name Studies for the surnames of Orlando and Worship. The main bulk of these details are kept in a separate filing cabinet drawer, although the links to Orlando relating to me are in my Main File and the link to the surname of Worship is kept in my husband's Main File.

Information relating to my One Place Studies is held in the filing cabinet and the Puttenham material is located in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet.

I have several family lines that spent time in India as part of the Honourable East India Company and other branches that migrated to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

So, am I organised? - not a chance! Every day there is a reference made to a new online source, book or a thought that needs to be explored and developed and whilst that exploring is taking place the clock is ticking away merrily.

The plan over the coming months, especially with a pending house move is to reduce the pile of paper and folders left from my previous filing system to a set of nice and tidy files in the filing cabinet. Once that is achieved I plan to go back through the paper main file and transfer my material to a new piece of software ensuring gaps are noted, sources are linked and potential blog posts about specific ancestors are highlighted.

At some point I will have to be strong and stop researching, so that I can re-evaluate what material I have and what I need to do. Organising family history research is actually more important than researching. There is simply no point in continuing to gather information and do nothing with it. It's a bit like going shopping and always buying baked beans, sooner or later you will be swamped with baked beans and not much else. 

Organisation is the key to success of that I am sure.

The debate of public v private trees essentially comes down to trusting other individuals. Some researchers simply acquire others research and hard work. Some subsequently pass that research off as their own. Other researchers, and I believe the majority are honest and want to share equally their information, photos and hypothesis.

Whilst I have a tree on ancestry that is private, but shared access is given to a family member, I prefer to explore my ancestors through this blog and perhaps my web page. That works for me and enables me to share and gain interaction with other researchers.

With genealogy there is no right or wrong way on how we individually share information. The internet allows us to collaborate and explore others concepts, thoughts and by sharing that information we surely become more educated, entertained and rounded individuals, and more often than not build friendships and relationships that would not exist, or would be harder to sustain and maintain without the internet.

The internet has revolutionised the way we undertake genealogy and family history research of that there can be no doubt.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams

The Sister by Poppy Adams
This was the May read for my book group and I opened the pages quite keen to get started. From the beginning I felt a sense of familiarity with A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore, although the storyline did not share any similarities beyond the depth of research done by the authors, so just why I felt this familiarity I am not sure.

The storyline is complex and the author weaves a series of threads and genres within the pages.

The book contains four central characters, all members of one family who live in a rather large house in a large estate in Dorset. The house description was atmospheric, and built in the mid Victorian period and I could visualise a gothic looking house with a foreboding mist surrounding the building, which almost felt sinister.

The family are dysfunctional - father Clive is a self absorbed individual, a naturist and has quite a collection of moths. The research on the moths was astounding and very interesting. Mother, Maud is a troubled woman who tries to keep the family grounded and has a secret or two. The daughters, Ginny and Vivien are close as children, but as time passes by they are like strangers, which is not helped by the fact that Vivian has not been home to the family estate for around 50 years.

Each individual has their secrets and there is almost too many. There are several medical themes through the book; of mental instability, Aspergers or Autism, Alcoholism, Aging and decay, and different levels of abuse.

This is a busy novel, with lots going on and yet nothing is explained fully, which means that the reader can form an opinion about the characters and their actions.

Did I enjoy it? Actually yes, I found the detail of the moths fascinating, but wonder if there was too much detail about this. I would have liked more details of the house and perhaps definitive answers to some of the questions that the book produced.

Overall, a good read and it is hard to believe that this is a first novel for the author, who researched the various details very well. The book is cleverly written, with the decay of the house is almost reflective of the family.

Published as The Sister in the US and as The Behaviour of Moths in the UK.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Library Loot - 15-21st May

Well I have just managed to sneak in before another week passes by. In the last week I have been into the library twice. On Saturday to renew a book and I also managed to leave with another one.

On Fishing by Brian Clarke
Now this is not my usual read, but I spotted it, picked it up to see what it was about and it looked appealing.

The Sister by Poppy Adams
Then today was the monthly book group meeting. A week earlier than usual because next Monday in the UK is a public holiday.

The book we discussed was The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams. We had almost a full house and whilst there was two readers who thought it was OK, but not fabulous there were some who thought it great. To see my opinion keep reading  - a little later this week the review will be up!

White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in…
Our next read is this fascinating account by William Dalrymple and is appropriately timed, given my interest in India.

I also managed to leave with these two books, one of which is a reborrow and a re read based on a few blog posts from Kristen at Finding Eliza

Trace Your Roots with DNA: Use Your DNA to…

Writing Your Family History: A Practical…

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The In-Depth Genealogist - Digital Magazine - Issue 4 - OUT NOW!

The next issue of the free digital magazine is available NOW!

Enjoy this digital edition of the magazine? then why not stop by The In-Depth Genealogist and read the
You can read my Introduction post HERE and you can follow the column by visiting The In-Depth Genealogist website and subscribing via email or via twitter and Facebook.

This is a great addition to the genealogy market and I am very proud to be a part of it.

Happy reading & researching!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Agricultural Notebook by Primrose McConnell BSc

What a great little book this is. Essentially an early 20th Century farming and agricultural labouring encylopedia. 
The first edition was published in 1883, towards the end of the Victorian era, although this 9th Edition was published in 1919.

This 9th Edition contains a dedication to the author by his father as the author died in the last months of the First World War.

I get a sense with this book, of a labourer or farmer sitting at his table pondering on the details contained within the pages.  How to grow Sainfoin (page 222), Mowing and haymaking (page 79), Ear marking of cattle for registration (page 405), Analysing cream (page 346) or the complexities of milk secretion (page 346). 


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Murder by the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith

From the back cover

"A police radio scanner call of '419' - "dead human body" - on a bucolic fall afternoon in the south-central Missouri Ozarks small town of Oak Springs sends a part-time local newspaper reporter, Penny Nixon, on the adventure of her life-time. Warned by her editor to only look for 'human-interest angles' to the story, her actions bring her perilously close to interviewing the knife-wielding perpetrator of a bizarre murder. The victim is a recently disgraced young attorney who only weeks earlier was involved in a domestic violence incident with his 'banker's daughter' bride in this quiet small town."

This week see's the launch of the book tour for the latest edition to the fictional Home Place Series by Dr Bill. 

This recent novella is set in the fall (Autumn if your this side of the pond!) of 1987, just after Back to the Homeplace


Dr. Bill is a life-long learner with a passion for family history and, more generally, the social history of each of his ancestors and their descendants. He enjoys writing on various platforms and venues, including six blogs, novels, non-fiction books and ebooks, three topics published at .

He is author of The Heritage Tourist column published at the digital magazine The In-Depth Genealogist.

Check out Dr. Bill’s first novel, “Back to the Homeplace,” which is a family saga loosely based on my family history research and life through the years; and blog: The Home Place Series He can also be found at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories: Dr Bill Tells Ancestor Stories


I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, I liked the characters; they were well developed. The central character called Penny is a newspaper reporter/freelance writer and I liked the way the storyline was written, in a conversationalist style.

As a reader it was almost possible to walk alongside Penny as she seeks and uncovers information through her interview skills. The moment I started reading the novella had a feel of Kinsey Malone from the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton and I smiled as Dr Bill threw that bit in too!

This does not feel like a regular who done it, but as a gentle mystery, as the character teases the information from her interviewees. Written in a diary style it is easy to keep track of the flow of information as the story builds.

I really must seek out the rest of the series.

Disclaimer - I was provided with a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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