Few of us who write murder mysteries ever get involved in murder ourselves, and the nearest I get to any investigation is delving into my family history.
Yesterday a couple of people asked me if the octogenarian who had been convicted of cutting down a neighbour’s clematis had anything to do with me and my family. My initial reaction was not to bother investigating, but I soon thought better of it. For one thing, I have probably got as far back as I can on the direct line, and secondly, this was an incident that had made national, not to say international news, so it was something different to look into and I would be foolish to ignore it.
My first search came up with a very promising result: my octogenarian was certainly born in an area associated with my family Further information was readily available, but right at the end there were the usual doubts. The main problem with family history in the UK is that the current certification system dates from 1837, and tracking people who were born before that date can be a little problematic online. However, I am fairly sure that that this particular octogenarian is related, albeit distantly, and that my great, great, great, great grandmother is our common ancestor.
So Claire, if you ever get to read this, please get in touch, and you’ll be delighted to know that one of your very distant cousins, however far removed, is also very handy with his secateurs, not to mention his chainsaw!