Review: Death on the Family Tree

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Death on the Family Tree
Death on the Family Tree by Patricia Sprinkle

2 of 5 stars to Patricia Sprinkle‘s Death on the Family Tree, the first in the “Family Tree” mystery series. A warning before you read my review… it may contain a small amount of anger, and the book might be anti-gay. I’m still trying to decide…


Katherine receives some old boxes of her pseudo-aunt’s after the woman dies. Katherine’s husband works out of town and their grown children have moved away, so she’s quite bored and decided to dive into the mystery of what’s in the boxes: an old piece of jewelry and a German diary. As she researches the family tree, she learns about a long-lost branch with a cousin who was murdered. By the end, several secrets surface while she gets to know another family in town known for being basically white supremacists. It all collides and she stumbles upon a wealth of history that changes all their futures.


1. It’s simple drama. Lots of clues. Nothing adds up. No true murder mystery as there’s no real dead body until 2/3 of the way thru. The mystery is about the items found in the old boxes and who was the missing relative. I liked this approach.


1. Besides fixing what felt like some strong anti-gay themes…

2. It’s disjointed. Great mystery but poorly executed. Not even her own family. Too many weird characters that she should mistrust. Certain people disappear and we never know why there were included to begin with. I had such high hopes for a genealogical mystery.

Final Thoughts

I’m not generally one to jump to conclusions, but 3 characters either make disparaging remarks about gay men, or fail to even try to defend them when someone says something that could be taken in an off-color manner. It was written in 2006, not long enough for this to be something of the norm. It takes place in the South, so I’ll cut it some slack, but… the author could have been a little more considerate if she was not trying to promote a message about the “depravity of homosexuals.” I can tolerate characters being that way, but when there’s not a single sense of balance in the book, and it’s a cozy mystery meant to be fun and light-hearted, I think I arrive at the conclusion I won’t choose to read anymore by a careless author. Now, if I mistook anything, I apologize for being judgmental, but for anyone else who has read it, I’d love to know your opinion on whether this author failed to provide fair justice in her writing of opinions on gay people.

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One thought on “Review: Death on the Family Tree

    Rae Longest said:
    January 13, 2017 at 7:21 PM

    This was a very insightful review. Well done and worth reading. I don’t think I’ll read the book, but I will definitely continue to read your reviews!


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