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Family Skeletons (Torie O'Shea, #1)
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Family Skeletons (Torie O'Shea #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  419 ratings  ·  53 reviews
As resident genealogist, historian, tour guide, and occasional amateur snoop, Victory "Torie" O'Shea can be found anywhere in the historic German town of New Kassel, Missouri-mixing fudge, giving tours, tracing family trees, and even investigating murder...

When shopowner Norah Zumwalt asks Torie for help in piecing together her family lineage to find her missing father, To
Paperback, 207 pages
Published June 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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Torie (called Victory by Sylvia, an older, somewhat grouchy older woman that Torie works for/with) is a genealogist and historical guide. She's an interesting investigator, especially paired up with both a sheriff she doesn't like because he arrested her for speeding (while trying to get a pregnant woman to the hospital) and her witty, perceptive mother, a wheelchair-bound woman who gives care (cooking, esp.) more than takes it. The story was different and well-told - Torie is approached by a wo ...more
This is a book that I probably have a personal bias toward liking since the setting is a fictionalized version of Kimmswick, MO and the real surrounding towns. I enjoyed recognizing local depictions, and I also found the protagonist, Torie O'Shea, to be extremely likable. Torie, the beloved town genealogist, is like a Lorelai Gilmore meets Nancy Drew who solves mysteries in a midwestern Stars Hollow. The mystery to this book has enough twists to be interesting but is still solvable for the reade ...more
Torie is a dedicated, plucky, and tenacious investigator. Much like you have to be when working as a genealogist. The story is a unique one, and very detailed and filled out with subplots and nuances. I did enjoy the book overall, but found that the character of Torie herself was a little lacking. We see evidence that she loves history, her town, her family, but never experience any of that passion firsthand from her point of view. there was just a flatness about her that kept me from connecting ...more
Family Skeletons is the first book in the Torie O'Shea Mystery Series. Victory (Torie) lives in New Kassel Misouri near the Mississippi River. She is a genealogist and historian who gives tours while dressed in period costume. She is also a wife, mother , and daughter in a very loving family. She is approached while giving a tour to do a family tree with emphasis on the father's side for a resident of New Kassel. Torie soon finds herself trying to solve the mystery of who killed her client.

Generally speaking I liked this book. While the first in the series it is not the first book of the series I have read. Knowing later books are much better I was a bit disappointed until I took into consideration that this was probably the author's first book. I found it suffered from a few glaring inconsistencies such as early in the book when Torie recalls attending a friend's mother's funeral then immediately attempts to blackmail that same friend by threatening to tell his mother something. ...more
Victory O'Shea, I think, has a cool job: she works for a historical preservation society in a small town outside St. Louis and gives tours of local points of interest garbed in period dress. Having lived near Colonial Williamsburg, I can relate.

When "Torie" is not pointing out the fine craftmanship of an antique writing desk to tourists or sandbagging around her home to keep the mighty Mississippi from sweeping her life away, she freelances in genealogical research (I'm working on my own family
Joy Chichester
This genealogical mystery novel was particularly interesting to me because I am descended from a Zumwalt family in St. Charles County, Missouri -- the same location and name as mentioned in this book. My four times great-grandfather was Andrew Charles Zumwalt. The author here, Rett MacPherson (pseud.) apparently lives in that Missouri neighborhood and writes about it, as well.
Afton Nelson
A fine little mystery, solved by a family historian. Torie O'Shea kind of bugged me. Her character seemed inconsistent: helping out the old ladies at the historical museum one minute, being rude to the town sheriff the next. Her husband was way nicer to her than I would have been. It was like she was suffering PMS through the whole book. Plus, there were a couple of times when her descriptions of things were a little too rambling and downright annoying. Like the one paragraph dedicated to Torie' ...more
Lake Oz Fic Chick
Victory “Torie” O’Shea has a good life in a small town in Missouri, working as a museum docent, researching genealogy and mothering her two preschoolers. When she’s hired by Norah Zumwalt, the local antiques dealer, to compile her family tree, Torie is surprised to find that Norah’s father, presumably lost in World War II, is living in a town nearby. She calls her client with the news, only to find her murdered a short time later. Needless to say, a trifle like murder cannot stop a dedicated gen ...more
In the first installment of the Torie O'Shea Genealogical mystery series by Rett MacPherson, Family Skeletons, we were introduced to a new heroine and a new kind of cozy series. Victory "Tori" O'Shea was the resident genealogist for her historic German hometown of New Kassel, Missouri. She was also a wife and a mother of three kids, too. When Nora Zumwalt asked Torie to help her work on her father's side of her family tree, Torie agreed. When she delivered the results, she found Nora's dead body ...more
Val Sanford
Unless you're stuck on a plane with only this book to read, don't do it. Harsh, I know, but I really, really wanted to like it. A genealogical mystety set in St. Louis where I was headed for a genealogy conference! Perfect. Except it wasn't. Boring, simplified and predictable.
Yet another take on the "cosy" mystery...our sleuth this time is Torie (Victory) O'Shea. She is a wife, mother, resident historian, geneologist and tour guide (in costume) in the historic German town of New Kassel, Missouri (just outside St. Louis). Shortly after a crotchety antique store owner, Norah Zumwalt asks Torie to locate the father she never knew, Norah is brutally murdered. Torie keeps delving into Norah's family tree and she finds herself working with Sheriff Brooke to discover what r ...more
Sonia Portell
I am a St. Louis native and really enjoyed the familiarity of the series.
So I would really give this a 3.5 but Goodreads only lets you do rate on a full star system... so I guess 4 stars it is.

This mystery was a lot better than your average cooking, crafting type mystery series. I haven't read any more of the series but I did like the fact that it was a quick read. It didn't go in to too much detail about certain things so it kept it light and fresh.
Diane Heath
This is the first book in the Tory O'Shea series. In this book, Victory O'Shea is hired to discover the fate of Norah Zumwalt's father Eugene Courts. Tory discovers Norah's body and in spite of the warnings from the Sheriff and her family, she tracks down the killer of Norah while helping solve cold cases of murder comitted by a serial killer during World War II
This book was OK, it was a little too "cozy" for me, I'm not running to the library to get the next in the series, but I may read it eventually. The characters were likable, the main character was a genealogist who through her research into a client's tree becomes entangled in a murder mystery. Worth the read if you are looking for a light read.
I enjoyed a great deal of this mystery. The mixing of genealogy with a murder mystery seems the perfect blend - is it a new murder or one tied to the past, and how? The main character had some traits that I wasn't that fond of but I was able to mostly ignore them and enjoy the story. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Well thoughtout characters. Good start to the series.
This is the 1st book in the Torie O'Shea mystery series. The stories are best read in order and get better & better as Torie and her family and new mysteries develop. The characters, mysteries and settings are excellent creations and I am always waiting impatiently for her next installment.
A bit uneven with inconsistencies in the background details at first. This evens out and the story keeps developing well to the end. A good mystery. I'm not to keen on the point of view character but the story was well told and the other people were more interesting than Torie.
Excellent story. A mystery is a new thing for me, but when its about Genealogy and has reference to quilts (two of my favorite hobbies) I had to read it. Loved it and would have gave it 5 stars but I am not a big fan of bad language so it only get 4.
I love a good mystery and Rett MacPherson's books are a great read. I did have problem finding this book, the first in the series. None of my local libraries had it so I had to buy it online which was a bummer since I am a big supporter of libraries.
Katherine P
This was a fun read by MacPherson. I liked Torie and her family and I really liked the genealogical aspect of it. I did guess part of the end but the other was a complete surprise. I will definitely read more of this series.
This is the first book in the series of genealogical mysteries. Torie finds the gruesomely murdered body of Norah Zumwaldt, who'd hired her to do her family tree. Figuring out whodunnit nearly costs Torie her own life.
Jackie Scott
I discovered Rett MacPherson at my local library in St. Louis. I have read all of the Torie O'Shea mysteries. They are enjoyable, easy reads.

I'm an amateur genealogist and thoroughly enjoy Torie's research and antics.
Another genealogical mystery. If you liked the old TV series "Murder, She Wrote", this might be right up your alley. With a harried housewife as the heroine, it just doesn't fly too far from the norm of everyday.
Rhett MacPherson writes a good cozy mystery series featuring genealogist Tori O’Shea. Tori often gets involved in solving mysteries in New Kassel, Missouri, her home town. Start with the 1st book, Family Skeletons.
This book took me back to my younger days of reading Nancy Drew and trying to piece together the puzzle of who did it and why! Except it kept me very entertained as an adult. I loved it! Easy read, quick and fun!
Feb 18, 2011 Kay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
A refreshing mystery with a little genealogy mixed [two of my favorite subjects]. These books are a little difficult to find so I'm reading them out of order [which every time I do I swear I'll never do again!!!]
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Rett MacPherson was born in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is the author of the popular Torie O'Shea mysteries and helped to pioneer the sub-genre of genealogical mysteries. She is also a bead and fabric artist and loves wineries, cemeteries, genealogy, history and of course, books.
More about Rett MacPherson...

Other Books in the Series

Torie O'Shea (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • A Veiled Antiquity (Torie O'Shea, #2)
  • A Comedy of Heirs (Torie O'Shea, #3)
  • A Misty Mourning (Torie O'Shea, #4)
  • Killing Cousins (Torie O'Shea, #5)
  • Blood Relations (Torie O'Shea, #6)
  • In Sheep's Clothing (Torie O'Shea, #7)
  • Thicker Than Water (Torie O'Shea, #8)
  • Dead Man Running (Torie O'Shea, #9)
  • Died in the Wool (Torie O'Shea, #10)
  • The Blood Ballad (Torie O'Shea, #11)
A Comedy of Heirs (Torie O'Shea, #3) A Veiled Antiquity (Torie O'Shea, #2) A Misty Mourning (Torie O'Shea, #4) The Blood Ballad (Torie O'Shea, #11) Died in the Wool (Torie O'Shea, #10)

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“Most people get excited over new cars; I get excited over death certificates. It's no wonder my husband worries about my state of mind.” 5 likes
“She is my companion on my many genealogical hunts, and I will be forever indebted to her for the knowledge that she bequeathed to me. And I can think of nobody I would rather traipse through a cemetery with, and that says a lot about a person.” 1 likes
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