Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: "The Spyglass File," by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Author Nathan Dylan Goodwin provided me with a review copy of his latest book, The Spyglass File, three weeks ago and I have been reading several chapters almost every night.  This is the 4th Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogy mystery and is excellent.

The summary of the book, from Amazon, is:

"Morton Farrier was no longer at the top of his game. His forensic genealogy career was faltering and he was refusing to accept any new cases, preferring instead to concentrate on locating his own elusive biological father. Yet, when a particular case presents itself, that of finding the family of a woman abandoned in the midst of the Battle of Britain, Morton is compelled to help her to unravel her past. Using all of his genealogical skills, he soon discovers that the case is connected to The Spyglass File—a secretive document which throws up links which threaten to disturb the wrongdoings of others, who would rather its contents, as well as their actions, remain hidden forever. "

Morton Farrier is a forensic genealogist based in Kent, England.  He has a client named Barbara, who was adopted as a baby and wants to know who her father was.  Her mother, Elsie Finch, was a married woman whose husband was not Barbara's father, according to an adoption record.  Elsie gave up her baby for adoption in 1941 during World War II.

There are two mystery stories here - there is what happened to Elsie Finch during World War II in Kent, and what happens to Morton Farrier during his search for Elsie's story and Barbara's father.  You see, Morton is also adopted, and is getting married, and the case is a challenge.  Danger lurks however.

Goodwin switches back and forth between the two stories - Elsie's life experiences as she lives through the Battle of Britain, and Morton's research as he tries to find out the identity of Barbara's father, while trying to get to the church on time for his own wedding.

I learned a lot about the historical setting and events for the Battle of Britain in the early 1940s - about the Dunkirk evacuation, about the German bombing of England, about the Royal Air Force and the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, even about Malta in the war.  I also learned about several new-to-me genealogical resources available for records of the period.

I really enjoyed this book.  If you like genealogical fiction and mysteries, you will love this book.

 You can read several chapters for free on the Amazon page, and can order the book for Kindle for $6.89 and in paperback for $12.99.

Nathan has a website - the page for this book is  He has photos of places mentioned in the book and document examples found on Pinterest (  He also has a blog - see for the real-life background of this story.

My thanks to Nathan for sharing his book with me in PDF format -  I happily offered to write a review.


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GeniAus said...

I enjoyed The Spyglass File too

Catching Time Genealogy said...

I really like his books. I've read "Hiding The Past", "The Lost Ancestor", "The Orange Lilies" and am currently reading "The America Ground", where his familial research gets interrupted by another case. Now, you've got me anticipating "The Spyglass File", as well!

Unknown said...

After such reviews as this one immediately wants to read this book. I really liked how you wrote this text. You are very talented. Unfortunately I was not so lucky and I'm very bad at writing an essays that is why I usually buy it here Thanks.

Hyacinth Marius said...

Without a doubt my favorite passage from the entire Morton Farrier series! Another brilliant adventure you have taken us on and so looking forward to the next. Well done. Well done sir!

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rommelxaine said...

The historical detail is superb. You are thrown right into WWII England. It is sometimes hard to remember that people during war still have to live their lives, even with all the complications. And as for character development, it's nice to see Morton continue to grow too.

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