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The Lost Empress (Genealogical Crime Mystery #4)
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The Lost Empress (Genealogical Crime Mystery #4)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  2,393 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
From acclaimed author Steve Robinson comes a bold new Jefferson Tayte mystery. On a foggy night in 1914, the ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank en route to England and now lies at the bottom of Canada’s St Lawrence River. The disaster saw a loss of life comparable to the Titanic and the Lusitania, and yet her tragedy has been forgotten.

When genealogist Jefferson Tayte is
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Thomas & Mercer
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Lilian Yes I've read all of Steve Robinson's books and they are all great. Jefferson Tayte is a very different kind of sleuth and you will enjoy him :-)

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Steve Robinson
Sep 17, 2014 Steve Robinson added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote this! :o)
Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mysteries never fails to keep me intrigued to the end and The Lost Empress in no exception. This book was everything I have come to love plus more... 5 Gold Stars a must read!
Sep 23, 2014 Hadenmaiden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is one of a series of books involving Jefferson Tayte – a genealogist who seems to get involved in present day mysteries and attempt to solve them by linking to past events. In this tale surrounding the sinking of the Empress of Ireland, he looks for links between a passenger who apparently died in the sinking, and a 2014 murder in England. The Empress of Ireland was a real ocean liner which sank in May 1914 following a collision with another ship on the St Lawrence River. Over a thousand p
Oct 28, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it
I know the historic character in Steve Robinson's latest book is supposed to be fictional, but Alice Stilwell is so well written that I'm having a hard time convincing myself it would be a waste of time to do my own research on the Empress of Ireland in order to prove she was a real person.

Jefferson Tayte has solved more intriguing murder cases, in my opinion, but the story behind the story was wonderfully crafted and intriguing.
I let my coffee get cold while I read the last 10 chapters, despe
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
I'm afraid I could not push on any further with this book. I got to 15% and didn't enjoy a minute of it, found it very wordy and it just did not grab me one bit. I've too many other books to read and review, I just don't think this one is for me.

As I didn't get far I'm not rating it as I think that's unfair, but sadly I just could not keep pressing on.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
Beautiful! Another gem by Steve Robinson. The assignment in this 4th book is about a lady who, in 1914, apparently died in the historic sinking of the "Empress of Ireland" in the Saint Lawrence River in Canada... or did she? I love stories like this, with a tangled web that gradually gets untangled by protagonist Jefferson Tayte, with a few surprises at the end. I did manage to guess one of them at about 75%, but not the final outcome. Delectable!
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

There is no other way to put this. Too many unneeded words.
Feb 27, 2015 Bea rated it liked it
Recommended to Bea by: Thomas & Mercer Review Newsletter
3.5 stars

This was my first time reading a book in this series but I had no trouble jumping in at book four. Each mystery is discrete and self-contained with not a lot of info or story about out main character, Tayte. I fact, that's one of my complaints; we don't get enough about Tayte. I don't really feel as if I know him any better by the end of the story. We're given little hints about a mysterious background but they weren't quite enough to whet my appetite, more enough to irritate me with t
Jean Gill
Oct 23, 2014 Jean Gill rated it really liked it
Fans of this bestselling series, like me, will find much to enjoy and even surprise them in the latest adventure of genealogical detective J.T. As always, it is the unfolding of the story set in the past that I like best. In this case, I discovered the prelude to WW1, with credible spies and a real-life shipwreck. More passengers died when the Empress of Ireland sank than in the Titanic disaster and yet most of us know nothing about it because war news overwhelmed all else. Who was it that point ...more
Sep 10, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tremendous novel of treachery and suspense. Thoroughly researched, and it has to be because the main character is a researcher himself. Plenty of twists and turns to keep even the staunchest Mystery reader engaged. I enjoyed the interweaving of the present and past story lines. The historical information is refreshing as it consists of a ship whose infamy is obscured by other events and is now brought to the forefront. A true trust no one tale that spans all ages.
Dec 16, 2014 Donna rated it it was amazing
I think some would look at a “genealogical mystery” as something that would probably be pretty boring. I mean, what could rooting through a family tree actually produce? Well, I could say the same thing for archaeology. I got this from the publisher through NetGalley and now I want a hardbound copy for myself, along with wanting to read the previous books in the series.

The lineage research in THE LOST EMPRESS is tarted up, I think, in the same way that Indiana Jones tarts up archaeology. Really,
Cathy Cole
Oct 21, 2014 Cathy Cole rated it really liked it
As in his previous book To the Grave, author Steve Robinson tells his story with two narratives; one in 1914 and Tayte's in the present day. It is a technique he does well. I found both narratives to be equally interesting, and both kept me guessing at how all the pieces fit together.

In addition, Robinson shines the spotlight on an almost forgotten tragedy: the sinking of the Empress of Ireland. With a death toll almost as high as the Titanic, the Empress of Ireland has long been overshadowed b
Karen Charlton
Nov 20, 2014 Karen Charlton rated it it was amazing
The master of genealogy crime fiction does it again!

Spring 1914: The Germans amass arms and ammunition for ‘the day’ when they will invade the rest of Europe and an atmosphere of suspicion and fear begins to stifle England. A young British mother and wife is forced into a role she hates in order to save her family and thus starts a one hundred year-old murderous mystery which can only be solved by Jefferson Tayte, Robinson’s genealogist cum amateur detective.

I really enjoyed this book. It is th
Oct 24, 2014 Betty rated it really liked it
This is the fourth genealogical mystery I've read by Steve Robinson. Being a family historian myself, I love the technique he uses in writing these books. There is the genealogist, Jefferson Tayte's own story as he tries to unravel mysteries of the past; and then there are the actual stories of those who came before. The author manages to do an excellent job of interspersing the two.

In "The Lost Empress" one of Tayte's clients thinks that her recently deceased grandmother may have actually been
Nov 02, 2014 Joo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth in the Jefferson Tayte series of genealogical mysteries and it is back to the dual timeline that the first two books utilised.

This time JT is tracking down Alice who may or may not have gone down when the Empress of Ireland sank in 1914. Was Alice really a traitor to her country on the eve of war, or just a wife and mother caught up in events beyond her control?

I did enjoy this story. The set-up of these books whereby you are taken back and forth in time, with the story unfold
Carol Mcgrath
Dec 30, 2014 Carol Mcgrath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book

I liked this book. It was well written and gave a very good insight into espionage before WW1 began and choices that had to be made to protect those you loved. Alice Stilwell had to make very difficult choices including giving up her family to keep them safe. Jefferson Tayte, a genealogist, looking for answers tried to find them by working with some very difficult descendants is Alice. This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it.
Mar 30, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Probably about 3.75 stars but rounded up to 4. This is the second SR. book I've read. Whilst they are similar to other murder mystery thrillers in that there is plenty of action and twists and turns, I like the uniqueness of the genealogy storyline.
Hina Tabassum
Feb 04, 2016 Hina Tabassum rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
The story is gripping in a way that you don't want to put it down.

Going into the secrets that history holds in definitely interesting.
Cleo Bannister
On 29 May 1914 having left Quebec for Liverpool, the Empress of Ireland, an ocean liner sank following a collision with SS Storstad, a Norwegian collier. Of the 1,477 people on board that night 1,012 people died, the largest Canadian maritime loss of life in peacetime, one hundred years later Jefferson Tayte is trying to track down the true fate of Alice Stillwell a second class passenger on the liner.

Empress of Ireland

The Lost Empress is the fourth in the Jefferson Tayte series where the affabl
Diane Coto
Oct 18, 2014 Diane Coto rated it it was amazing
After her grandmother’s passing, Kathleen Olson found a locket that belonged to her grandmother. The name engraved on the locket was Alice Stilwell. But, her grandmother’s name was Alice Dixon per her birth record. To make matters more confusing, Alice (Metcalfe) Stilwell and her husband, Henry Stilwell, were listed as lost to sea after the sinking of ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland. The ocean liner went down May 29, 1914 upon a collision with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad. Heavy fog was ...more
John Purvis
Oct 14, 2014 John Purvis rated it it was amazing
“The Lost Empress” was published in 2014 and was written by Steve Robinson ( This is Mr. Robinson’s fourth novel in his “Jefferson Tayte” series.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through I would categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there is a little Violence. The novel is written in the third person and is set in contemporary London, England, as well as in 1914 London. The primary characters are Jefferson Tayte and Alice Dixon Stil
Clare O'Beara
This story skips between 1914 and present day.
The RMS Empress of Ireland sank off a Canadian coast, and she took many passengers and crew with her. This has little to do with the rest of the tale; the ship is a convenient way of claiming a death when puzzlingly it appears that a woman listed as drowned, lived for years afterwards.

Trying to resolve this issue is a genealogist called Jefferson. The rest of the story occurs in England, mainly Kent, with a detour via North Holland in 1914. The them
Dec 26, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth in a series of novels featuring genealogist Jefferson Tayte. As with the other books in the series the author skillfully alternates the storyline between the past and the present. JT's assignment "concerned a woman who, according to every record he could find, had drowned one hundred years ago, and yet his client's very existence seemed evidence to the contrary." Alice Stilwell was believed to have been among those lost in the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in 29 May 1914. ...more
Shelly Donaghey
Dec 21, 2014 Shelly Donaghey rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
THE LOST EMPRESS is a beguiling book which manages to pull the reader into a world that should not be as fascinating as the author makes it our to be. Of course the past is, in so many ways, a mystery to those living now, but Mr. Robinson manages to bring life to both the present and the past.
Mixing the story of present day genealogical investigator Jefferson (JT) Tayte with that of Alice Stillwell who died when the Empress of Ireland sank in 1914 worked well, bring life to both sides of the s
Kath Middleton
Sep 17, 2014 Kath Middleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steve Robinson has moved with this novel from Queens to Empresses but this time he’s writing about a monarch of the sea, the liner Empress of Ireland, which was lost at sea in 1914. Jefferson Tayte is trying to trace Alice, a client’s ancestor, and comes to a dead end when the woman appears to have been amongst the lost on board the ship. We have a past narrative as we follow Alice’s life in the months before the fateful voyage, and a present story in which JT not only traces his client’s family ...more
This was a very great read. The characters were good, the story was intriguing and well done.
The segway's between past and present were well written. I liked that when Tayte was about to discover something of Alice's past (or some other mystery was thrown out) the next chapter(s) would follow Alice and reveal the circumstances. So even as Tayte was trying to piece together her past, we got to see it happen.
I did figure out both the twists in this book before they happened,but literally a page
Feb 14, 2015 Anam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, brit-lit
Another great offering by Steve Robinson. I really do love these genealogical mysteries. This one took a little different approach. We knew what HAD happened before JT did. It was so interesting to see how he discovered the truth of the past. Sadly little of it was actual genealogy. But what a great story. And I was totally unprepared for the twist just over 3/4 of the way through. I was reading this on a cruise ship and gasped out loud. Passengers around me wondered why I had such a reaction to ...more
Nov 05, 2014 Tiffany rated it really liked it
I think I have found a new character in Jefferson Tate (JT) to add to my list of all-time favorites. JT is somewhat of a genealogist-hero. In this story, he has been hired to find out if his client's grandmother, Alice Dixon, was in fact, Alice Stillwell. The twist being, Alice Stillwell drowned when the ship she was on sank in 1914. Who doesn't love a story that begins like that??? We follow JT to England, where he intends to do a little research and instead, becomes wrapped up in a an unsolved ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the 4th book in the Jefferson Tayte series, and thankfully it reverts back to the twin time lines. In this case the present day and just prior to the outbreak of war in 1914. His client has given him a mystery to solve, was her deceased elderly relative really who she had always thought she was, or did a locket contain the real truth. It also deals in part with the spy fever that gripped England prior to war, and the sinking of the RMS Empress of Ireland, both real events which have bee ...more
Nov 28, 2014 Ionia rated it really liked it
This book really surprised me. I wasn't expecting a main character so real and so well written that I would actually have to remind myself it was fiction. Alice is a great main character for multiple reasons. She is a character that it is easy to respect. She does the things she does for love of her children, regardless of whether they go against her morals. She is tough, smart and crafty and it was interesting to learn about her life.

I feared this may be another sunken ship meets Titanic style
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Steve Robinson drew upon his own family history for inspiration when he imagined the life and quest of his genealogist-hero, Jefferson Tayte. The talented London-based crime writer, who was first published at age 16, always wondered about his own maternal grandfather – ‘He was an American GI billeted in England during the Second World War,’ Robinson says. ‘A few years after the war ended he went b ...more
More about Steve Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Genealogical Crime Mystery (5 books)
  • In the Blood (Genealogical Crime Mystery, #1)
  • To the Grave (Genealogical Crime Mystery #2)
  • The Last Queen of England (Genealogical Crime Mystery #3)
  • Kindred (Genealogical Crime Mystery #5)

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“The past is already written, Jefferson. The future, on the other hand, is a story yet to be told. So write it well.” 0 likes
“him. The water splashed above her, and she saw a hand” 0 likes
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