A father’s newfound interest in genealogy poses a danger to his family.
Nick Fewings’ wife, Suzie, takes a break from her genealogical research to join him and their teenage daughter, Millie, on a trip to Lancashire to visit Martin, Nick’s oldest living relative. Martin’s daughter Thelma is pleased to have them stay even though Martin is in hospital with a stroke. And a conversation with Martin makes Nick regret that he’s waited so long to come see him. While exploring the former mill town, the Fewings meet a weeping woman whom they see again when they’re turned away from the old family home. The house, slated for demolition, should have been empty, as a suspicious Nick reports to the authorities. Although he can’t imagine how anyone knows about his visit to the police, Nick begins to get threatening phone calls and texts. As they continue to explore mill museums, rural chapels and a deserted mill, the threats keep coming. Soon after the Fewings’ university-age son joins them for a quick visit, Millie, whom they have not told about the threats, sneaks off on yet another shopping expedition, and Suzie is kidnapped while trying to find her. The police search in earnest, but it’s up to Nick to figure out who took her and where she is being held.
Suzie, who usually stars in Sampson’s Genealogical Mystery series (Father Unknown, 2011, etc.), yields the limelight to Nick in this weak mystery whose main selling point is its information about Lancashire history.