Review of The Wicked Trade and The Suffragette’s Secret: genealogical crime mysteries

17 May 2018

Nathan Dylan Goodwin Wicked Trade Suffragette SecretThis is the latest book covering the adventures of fictional forensic genealogist, Morton Farrier by UK author Nathan Dylan Goodwin. It combines the short story of The Suffragette’s Secret with the full-length novel The Wicked Trade. A lovely double dose of Morton Farrier! Usually when I finish one Morton Farrier adventure I want to read another one straight away – my wish was granted.

The Suffragette’s Secret is the story of a militant suffragette who is the great grandmother of Morton’s wife Juliette. What I liked was the ongoing revelation of Morton and Juliette’s family history set against the backdrop of the suffragette movement in England. First I was surprised to learn that women in England received the right to vote later than here in Australia.

It was obvious that the author had undertaken original research and included that within the story. We are given a very hard hitting look at how the suffragettes were treated in prison and the obstacles they faced. Today we simply accept the right of women to be able to vote but it was a hard fought battle. The Suffragette’s Secret is a standalone story and readers do not have to be familiar with previous books to enjoy it.

The Wicked Trade is about smuggling in Kent and Sussex in the 1820s. As usual, the story includes flashbacks to the time and events that Morton Farrier is researching for a client plus real time events in his family life including the first birthday of his daughter. It seems like only yesterday we met Morton as a single man wondering if he would ever marry and have a family. Possibly his girlfriend, now wife, Juliette was the driver of those decisions.

I love learning more about Kentish history and how hard life was for people back in the early nineteenth century. Men risked death or transportation to earn money for their families by getting involved in the smuggling trade. They must have been desperate, and their worries and fears are shown through the story’s main characters. Nathan’s research is thorough, and we get a real sense of time and place.

It is another great read and I found it very hard to put the book down once I started reading. Morton’s cases are well researched, and I only wish that there were such interesting characters in my own family history. This is the seventh book and the author has successfully maintained the reader’s interest in Morton, his family and his work adventures.

Some book series lose their way or become too blasé but that is most definitely not the case here. I can’t wait for the next adventure of Morton Farrier, forensic genealogist. Hope it is not too long a wait!

In the meantime, readers can follow Nathan’s own adventures on his Facebook page Nathan Dylan Goodwin. There is also a series of Pinterest boards with photographs and reviews relating to the various books. Start with Nathan’s main board and I really enjoyed seeing some of the places in the books as well as photos of Nathan working in the archives.

As an avid fan of the Morton Farrier series, I have also reviewed the previous titles. My December 2014 review of the first two books Hiding the Past and The Lost Ancestor can be read here. Then there was the novella, The Orange Lilies, where Morton Farrier starts to explore his own family origins. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the novella. My January 2016 review of Nathan’s third book featuring the adventures of Morton Farrier, The America Ground, can be read here. My October 2016 review of Nathan’s fourth book The Spyglass File can be read here. My May 2017 review of The Missing Man can be read here.


Shauna has been tracing her own family history since 1977 and is a Fellow of the Queensland Family History Society. In 2009 Shauna received the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO) Services to Family History Award for her achievements in Queensland, Canberra and Victoria.

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