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Pale as the Dead (Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
This is the first stunning installment of Fiona Mountain's riveting new mystery series that uncovers the secrets of the dead. Pale as the Dead deals with the mysterious death of Lizzie Siddal, a real and fascinating historical figure whose beauty and tragic life have made her into a legend. (She was the model for the famous painting on the cover of the book.) Lizzie's deat ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 3rd 2014 by Minotaur Books (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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N.N. Light
I read Bloodline first and then this book. Pale as the Dead by Fiona Mountain introduces us to Natasha and she's one of my favorite characters. She's like a long-lost friend that I can reconnect with every time I open the pages. The intrigue and mystery kept me turning the pages. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars
Aravind NG
Apr 21, 2013 Aravind NG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book you can read lazily lying on the couch and sipping coffee without being too anxious about what's happening in the plot. And even without much action, there's enough suspense and happenings to keep you hooked. Altogether a very enjoyable read made even better by small chapters. Bond, Bourne and now Blake!
Sandra Danby
This is an unusual mix of genealogy mystery and history, centred on the glamorous Pre-Raphaelite artists and Lizzie Siddal, the girl in the famous ‘Ophelia’ painting. Ancestry detective Natasha Blake meets a mysterious, beautiful young woman, Bethany, who is re-enacting the Lizzie Siddal scene for a photographer. Bethany confides in Natasha her fear that her family is cursed following the deaths of her sister and mother. After asking Natasha to research her family tree, Bethany goes missing. Has ...more
I read two books by Fiona Mountain in quick succession, Pale As The Dead and Bloodline. My original review on DorothyL covered both books so to get at least a little caught up I'm just copying parts of it.
Natasha Blake, the protagonist, is a bit of an odd duck. She loves her
work as a genealogist, but hasn't been able to learn much of her own
parentage - she was a foundling, adopted in infancy, who didn't learn
of the adoption until she was a teenager. Natasha dresses in vintage
clothes and lives in
Katharine Ott
"Pale as the Dead" - written by Fiona Mountain and published in 2002. The front cover includes the notation "A Genealogical Mystery," which will be a beckoning finger to me anytime. This somewhat murky chase down a rabbit hole of boudoir photography and nascent romances occurs in England, and the family studies aspect concentrates on their own particular resources, different from those available in the States.

Our genealogist and amateur sleuth Natasha has her own heredity problems which may be i
I am certainly going to keep this author in my sights since I got some useful information about genealogical searches and the complex stuff about Rossetti and the Marshall family was interesting. It even included one of my favourite Christmas carols. MS Mountain may find that she doesn't want to put in quite such detailed locations in case her books become really popular and crowds appear walking her streets. She may have her English stuff down pat but there is no University of Vancouver; it is ...more
May 25, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy book to read in a short time, but still an enjoyable read. The main character, Natasha Blake, is not a private detective with an office and filing cabinet full of files. Her work is rebuild the family tree of the people, through careful and sometimes unnerving researches. Hired by a young woman named Bethany Marshall to trace its origins, she finds herself to investigate her disappearance and the search will become the starting point to find her client in a frantic race against time. Lik ...more
Linda Lipko
Dec 23, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Cotswolds and Oxford, this delightful mystery/suspence book would be of interest to those who, like me, appreciate the art of the Pre-Raphalietes.

Using the mystery of the Victorian death/suicide of Lizzie Siddal, the beautiful and haunting model (wife of Dante Gabrial Rossetti) portrayed in many Pre-Raphelite paintings, the author weaves the present with the past.

Natasha Blake, a present day genealogist is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, Bethany, who was obses
Feb 16, 2008 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technically I'd give this book about a 4.5, but since there's no half-star choice, I chose to downgrade it to 4.

The proofreader of this book should be fired...numerous distracting typos are found throughout. Otherwise, it's a very enjoyable read, especially for the afficionado of all things Pre-Raphaelite! The author successfully uses her historical facts and creates realistic fictional storyline from there to create a fascinating modern-day mystery.

The final "reveal" was a bit of a stretch, bu
One of the better "genealogy" mysteries I've read--first of all, the protagonist was believable as a genealogy researcher, and I enjoyed the descriptions of her doing actual research, which seemed fairly realistic (for the time period). Her relationships with her former boyfriend and her new interest, Adam, did not seem rational, but people can be strange. The premise of the book also seemed unlikely (Adam, whom she has just met, wants her to track down his girlfriend by researching her family r ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Shauna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-related
I was looking for an art historical-related novel, and this fit the bill nicely, blending bits of Pre-Raphaelite art and history (especially Lizzie Siddal and her pictures) with modern day fiction. I also liked that it was a genealogical mystery, and it kept me in suspense and anxious to find out more. I thought that Natasha, the professional genealogist heroine of the book, would make a good sequel character, hunting down other ancestery mysteries, and it appears that Fiona Mountain did indeed ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Embla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Il mito di Lizzie Siddal, musa ispiratrice e modella del celebre artista Dante Gabriel Rossetti, fondatore della Confraternita dei Preraffaeliti, fa da sfondo ad un romanzo che trascende gli schemi del thriller e si articola in ambientazioni storiche, artistiche e letterarie di indubbio fascino. Per una volta la misteriosa ed improvvisa sparizione di una ragazza non ha nulla a che fare con il killer di turno, ma con un'eredità "genetica" difficile da accettare. Il tragico destino di Lizzie sembr ...more
Jun 19, 2012 Ambra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grazie a questo libro che ho ricevuto tramite uno gioco di scambio qui su Anobii, ho avuto l'occasione di avvicinarmi per la prima volta al genere Thriller e devo dire che non ne sono rimasta delusa: la lettura è facile e scorrevole, la storia intrigante, i personaggi interessanti. Solo alla fine del libro ho scoperto che l'autrice ha intrecciato fatti realmente accaduti (la storia di Lizzie Siddal e del ritratto di Millais in cui posò nelle vesti dell'Ophelia Shakespeariana) con personaggi e fa ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A genealogist investigating the disappearance of a present-day person? That's new! And of course there is the mystery of the past that the main character must also solve. Being familiar with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the historic figures Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Lizzie Siddal, I sought this book based on a recommendation in an article about Lizzie Siddal. I think it helps in understanding the book and following the plot to know something about this period in art history ahead of time.
Tory Wagner
May 03, 2014 Tory Wagner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: twbc, mystery
I chose this book because of its genealogical twist. I enjoyed those elements that referred to her job as a genealogy researcher as this is also a hobby of mine. The characters were interesting and I learned a little British history as well. As an avid mystery reader, the mystery element of the story was only average. The characters were interesting, although rather dark and decadent. I think that Mountain has a good basic idea for a mystery series and hopefully the main character will develop a ...more
Again, this was recommended by a fellow student in grad school. And, again, big disappointment: the author was faily well acquainted with her subject, but the story was grammatically flawed, the characters were flat, and the development of the plot was disjoined. Fortunately it was not that large a volume.
Mar 29, 2010 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ok
I liked this book, being a lover of historical fiction, geneology, AND art this book was a good fit.

I will say it is a bit campy, but also i couldnt put it down. the main character is actually tolerable, and the mystery was good.
Jul 16, 2010 Windy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genealogist Natasha is approached by a new customer but ends up searching for the customer alongside her family tree. A good story although it was a bit confusing at times. I'd like to read the sequel.
Jul 11, 2007 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The geneological/history aspect to these mysteries make them very interesting.
May 25, 2008 Kerri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great mystery book on it's own, but of course, I love the main character's profession - genealogist - and how that plays into the development of the mystery and plot.
Sep 13, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Slow moving and not very engaging sums up how this book reads. We'll written though.
Callie S.
Romanzesco brontiano da spiaggia: narrazione avvolgente, ambienti suggestivi e fati tormentati.

Peccato per lo stile piatto e personaggi tanto patinati da trasformare la tragedia in soap.
Jan 19, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't write a better review than the Goodreads one. Stunning indeed.
Mandy Thake
Above date when bought from The Mystery & Thriller Club
Don't remember it.
Gayle Noble
Mar 25, 2013 Gayle Noble rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gayle by:
I picked this up because it mentioned Elizabeth Siddal (of Pre-Raphaelite fame) and I will read anything about Lizzie. The book was ok but didn't live up to expectations.
Dec 21, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Bloodline a little more, but I enjoyed this book, too. I wish Fiona Mountain would write more Natasha Blake books.
Aug 11, 2011 Bev rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, mcpl-book
Sounded like an interesting idea when I picked up the book. Not so much. Logged it in my book log with only a "Yuck!"
Jun 09, 2008 Jeanine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Natasha Blake book I have read. I really enjoy her style and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I love books with history and genealogy intertwined!
So wanted to like this b/c the protagonist is a genealogy freak :) Fell slightly flat.
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Fiona Mountain grew up in Sheffield and moved to London aged eighteen where she worked in the press office for Radio 1 for ten years, handling the PR for presenters including John Peel, Mark Radlcliffe and Steve Wright and traveling with the Radio 1 Summer Roadshow.

Her first novel, Isabella, tells the haunting love story of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and his cousin, Isabella Curwen. It was
More about Fiona Mountain...

Other Books in the Series

Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective (2 books)
  • Bloodline (Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective, #2)

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