I come late to the party. Most reviewers had issued their verdicts before I had even received my copy.
Nathan Dylan Goodwin. The Foundlings. UK: nathandylangoodwin.com, 2021. Also available on Amazon.com.
Sussex, England: Three different babies abandoned during the 1970s, left in public where they could soon be discovered, proved through DNA testing to share the same mother. Our man Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist, is tasked with finding the unknown mother. As if that weren’t enough challenge, the three now-adult women are all half-sisters of Morton’s own Aunty Margaret—previously revealed as his biological mother! But Margaret’s connection to the others is through her father, not the others’ mysterious mother. The side story of her father—Morton’s grandfather, Alfred Farrier―becomes almost the main story, accompanying Morton’s complex research for that anonymous young woman who gave birth several times. Morton meticulously reconstructs family relationships using DNA matches to locate a common ancestor for his aunts, eventually working forward from there to identify the culprit as Rose Hart.
Seeking more evidence, Morton’s command of resources seems endless, although his skill at connecting dozens of dots is what counts. The DNA tracking might make you dizzy. Rose’s trail leads him far and wide, through hospital records, archives, newspapers, more; he meets the policewoman that Rose nearly killed, he confers with police in Nevada. Among Rose’s nefarious activities coming to light, is her crossing paths with a messed-up Alfred Farrier. Morton is not immune to some emotional family disclosures; he recalls his grandfather only as a man who was kindly and patient with him. More worrisome is how Aunty Margaret and her half-sisters will react to his painful discoveries.
Goodwin has done a stellar job in constructing an exciting plot, expertly weaving two time periods, apportioning each revelation for maximum suspense. In addition, both his conventional and his maverick characters have the depth of credibility. Of all the cases Morton has worked during his career, his own family is probably the most complicated! Family historians and genealogists already love and admire Morton, but his appeal has potential in mainstream crime genre. What say—isn’t it time Goodwin had a wider audience?
© 2021 Brenda Dougall Merriman