Cemetery Whites is a Genial Genealogy Mystery

Cemetery Whites CoverCemetery Whites is a Genial Genealogy Mystery by Connie Knight

Reviewed by Denise Hartman

Recently widowed Caroline Hargrove Hamilton leaves Houston to go back to her roots in DeWitt County outside San Antonio.  Her research sojourn is interrupted by a modern day murder at the old family cemetery and eventually she finds family history and mystery intertwined.  Urged on by her family and with the help of the attractive Constable, Caroline dusts off her journalism skills to uncover the true story.

Connie Knight populates her story with believable and entertaining characters including gun-toting Great Aunt Hettie, Uncle Cotton and the local librarian.  She provides a back-drop of information about the Texas colonies and the influence of Spain and Mexico, which makes for a good read and an entertaining way to get a dose of Texas history.  Knight takes us along on Caroline’s quest through cemeteries, libraries, census records and, of course, the Internet.  She discovers relatives with secrets small and large, new and old.  Some who will take time before confiding in a newcomer.

The writing is authentic, like getting a letter from a friend and following her adventures

The descriptions of the heat, the light and the plants are particularly good.  Sometimes she wanders off onto a tangent but it seems totally natural and conversational with the detours providing background and layers to the two stories past and present.  Reveling in the language, she cites vernacular phrases, such as  “We how did but we ain’t shook” and captures well the various voices of the countryside.

This book is a treat for anyone who has ever explored genealogy.  From the researching and organizing of materials to the decoding and matching of references, the reader gets drawn into the process.  There are surprising connections and the ultimate thrill of discovery plus the solving of two crimes.  Worth reading.