Tracing the history of their paternal forebears turns deadly for the Fewings family (In the Blood, 2009, etc.).
Suzie Fewings has done a bang-up job of tracing her West Country ancestry. When her husband Nick inherits a portrait of his great-grandfather Sollie Margerson, a lifeboatman who saved passengers from wrecks in the North Sea, the genealogy bug bites him, too. So he and Suzie decide to vacation in the Fen Country town of St. Furseys with Nick’s recently divorced brother Leon. They can check the local historical society for any traces of the Margersons, and their adolescent children Millie and Tom can get to know their cousin, Leon’s daughter Anna. The teenagers are skeptical. How much fun can a holiday be in this poky little village with its shale-covered beaches and barren salt marshes? But tales of smugglers spark Millie’s interest. Soon, the Fewings offspring are looking for a cave reputedly hidden in the cliffs of Brandon Head, where last century’s bootleggers stashed their boats. A trip to the Noah’s Ark, the smugglers’ supposed headquarters, brings only a tongue-lashing from Ed Harries, the current owner of the defunct tavern. But when Millie and Anna disappear, their parents realize that smuggling—and danger—may not be a thing of the past.
Sampson carefully balances descriptions of genealogical research methods, insights into family relations and clues to the briskly paced puzzle.