In 1921, a British soldier is killed on a hillside outside Dublin. In 2015, former police detective Jayne Sinclair, turned genealogy investigator, takes on a new client. The Irish Inheritance by MJ Lee is the first in the Jayne Sinclair series, weaving together stories of the Easter Rising in 1916 and the subsequent Irish War of Independence, with the unravelling of secrets kept for a century.
Jayne’s client, John Hughes, was adopted and raised happily in America. Now elderly, frail and dying, he is desperate to find the truth about his birth and adoption. The key piece of evidence he has kept all his life, is a book; but he doesn’t know how he came to possess it. He kept it knowing it was a link to his birth family. Jayne must dig deep into records and think outside the box to put together the threads of John’s story. Meanwhile she is having problems at home, John Hughes’s nephew is pressuring her for results, and she has the odd feeling she is being watched.
The strongest part of this story is the Irish strand and the mystery increases as we see Jayne in 2015 researching one mundane document after another, and then read the 1920s strand telling the true story of the Irish people she is trying to discover. The questions of how war pits family and friends against each other, retained guilt, apologising for war misdeeds, truth and forgiveness, run throughout.
I wasn’t totally convinced by the threat to Jayne, it felt rather shoehorned in to add a ‘crime’ element. Perhaps not surprisingly, after the Jayne Sinclair series MJ Lee has gone on to write the Inspector Danilov series of historical crime fiction.
If you like this, try:-
‘Beside Myself’ by Ann Morgan
‘The Indelible Stain’ by Wendy Percival
‘Deerleap’ by Sarah Walsh
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE IRISH INHERITANCE by @WriterMJLee #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-3Ex via @SandraDanby