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My Favorite Genealogy-Themed Book Series

Sometimes, it's great just to kick back and relax... take a break from genealogy and read a good book.  I've liked mysteries and thrillers since I was a kid – I always thought I'd be either a detective or a cop.  Now I can't see doing anything but what I love – Genealogy!

So I've combined my great love of mysteries and thrillers with my great love of genealogy.  My favorite genealogy mystery thriller series is written by one woman – Rett MacPherson!  If you've never read her books, you're in for a treat!  The series is about a woman named Torie (Victory) O'Shay and she's – surprise! - a genealogist who lives and works in a small town in Missouri.  Her job is my dream job.  She works as he curator of the Gahmer House, which is a museum and the repository for the towns historical society.  Torie had all kinds of adventures, all involving MURDER and GENEALOGY – YAY!  Ms. MacPherson is right on her game when it comes to genealogy and has so many good ideas; as a matter of fact, I've used one or two of her ideas for our historical society here in town.

I have listed all of her books and the publication dates below.  Please, do yourself a favor and pick up her books at your local library and if they don't carry the series, you can always request that they interlibrary loan them from another library – which you can do at the reference desk.

Rett MacPherson
TORIE O'SHEA Mysteries:
Main Character: Victory O'Shea, Genealogist,  Missouri

  1. [amazon_link id="0312152361" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Family Skeletons 1997[/amazon_link]
  2. [amazon_link id="0312186770" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]A Veiled Antiquity 1998[/amazon_link]
  3. [amazon_link id="0312971338" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]A Comedy of Heirs 1999[/amazon_link]   
  4. [amazon_link id="0312977840" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]A Misty Mourning 2000/01[/amazon_link]
  5. [amazon_link id="0312266898" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Killing Cousins 2002[/amazon_link]
  6. [amazon_link id="0312301715" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Blood Relations 2003[/amazon_link]
  7. [amazon_link id="0312301782" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]In Sheep's Clothing 2004[/amazon_link]
  8. [amazon_link id="0312334087" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Thicker Than Water 2005[/amazon_link]
  9. [amazon_link id="0312334109" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Dead Man Running 2006[/amazon_link]
  10. [amazon_link id="0373266340" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Died in The Wool 2007[/amazon_link]
  11. [amazon_link id="B005SNGY8G" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]The Blood Ballad 2008[/amazon_link]

After the eleventh book, she stopped writing the series.  She kind of vanished off the face of the earth.  There are many sites on the Internet that mention her, but I have yet to find any that explain why her books about this character came to such an abrupt end.  There is no clue to it ending in her last book, “The Blood Ballad” and I was heartbroken when, after waiting for a year, there were no more books about Torie, her cool family or the (sigh) Gahmer House.  It was like losing an old friend...

On her website, www.RettMacPherson.com, it looks like it’s been hi-jacked.  There is no personal content from her what-so-ever.  She does have a Facebook page, but it is maddening in that it says nothing about why she quit writing and didn't continue the series…  Of course, because I don’t have a Facebook account (gasp!), I can’t fully read the comments – but if you do, and you can, perhaps you can enlighten me…  Or maybe she’ll see this blog and answer herself!

This series was a credit to genealogy and it's always been my wish that she resume writing this excellent series.  Check out this series and you may think so too!

As always, I'd love to hear from you if you've read this series or know what happened to Rett or have a question about it...

About Leslie (Gignac) Drewitz

Leslie (Gignac) Drewitz (PLCGS) is a graduate of the National Institute of Genealogical Studies, with a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies - Librarianship and currently works for a suburban Chicago public library where she oversees the Local History collection; as well as their Genealogy Club, where she teaches and lectures. She also does private contract genealogy. Leslie lives with her husband Michael; her four children, Ellissa, Trevor, Jon and Katie; and their wonder dogs, Harley and Birdie. You can contact Leslie by email, LDrewitz101@gmail.com.


  1. I looked on her Facebook page and it appears that there is a book in the works but not about Torrie. Sounds like she is starting a new series but no mention of what happened to the Torrie books. THanks for mentioning her books. I love genealogy mystery books.

    • Marianne, thanks for looking that up for me. I did know that she was going in a different direction with her writing, but I guess she’s dropped this series. Too bad we can’t put Torrie on the case to figure out why!

      Keep looking back to see if she posts – I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

      You don’t mention in your post, have you ever read this series?

  2. Thanks for that reading list. What a great way to spend a long, lazy weekend!

  3. I loved the Torie O’Shea series also and was bummed when it stopped. I seem to remember reading that Rett Macpherson got married around the time the last book came out.

  4. It does look like she has been busy. Jan 2012 she had finished an historical novel and was going to start looking for a publisher. An occasional few comments before and after, here and there, about publishing difficulties (It may have been that her Torie series publisher fizzled on her, or that she got tired of the series.) And just the beginning of this month, she said she was looking at the possibility of self-publishing via ebook, and would anyone be interested in actually buying them. Got a long string of positive comments. Said she had a concept that Torrie fans would love, although it would not be a Torrie book. Don’t give up hope 😉

  5. I absolutely love this series and really miss the books. Rett MacPherson seems to be very active on FB but no hint of any more Torie O’Shea mysteries. For those of you who love genealogy-related mysteries, please see my blog post from earlier this year at http://www.oldbonesgenealogy.com/genealogy-mysteries/.

  6. A Veiled Antiquity came out in October. I have it on Kindle.

  7. Oh, I see that was an earlier book. I wonder why they re-issued it? Sorry to be confusing ;/

  8. No, I haven’t read her books but I enjoy that genre. I have read and enjoyed Steve Robinson’s books. I will start reading hers too!

    • Marianne, You won’t be sorry – they are really good…

    • Marianne ~ Well, I just got through reading both of Steve Robinson’s books and they were just FANTASTIC! The first one was great – and the second one was out of this world, crazy great! I couldn’t put it down – this author needs to be recognized… I’m going to see if I can order his books for the library! WOW!

  9. Another interesting genealogy read is “The Marriage Certificate” by Stephen Molyneux

    • Hi Jill!

      I’ve been to your site and it’s AWESOME! I have requested Inter-library loans on Dan Waddells’ “The Blood Detective” and “Blood Atonement”; as well as Stephen Molyneaux’s “The Marriage Certificate” If I like them, I will recommend to my department head that they be purchased by the library. Fingers crossed!

  10. I checked her Facebook page tonight. She is actively posting and still writing. She posted that in December the Torie series would be available on your Kindle. Normally a Facebook page (especially for an author) is public. Ergo, you do not need to have a FB account to view the page.

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