Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Missing Father by M.J. Lee

First Line: March, 1943, Chungkai Camp, Thailand. It was a day just like any other.
It's a week before Jayne Sinclair will board a plane for Australia, but when her next-door neighbor, 80-year-old Alice Taylor, asks her if she will help find answers to Alice's questions about her parents, Jayne agrees. Yes, Alice will be taking care of her cat while she's gone, but Jayne honestly enjoys her work as a genealogical investigator. 

Alice was adopted in 1942 when she was three years old. She was never told about her birth family, and her adoptive parents even changed her Christian name. Now Alice wants to know (1) Who were her birth parents? (2) How did her mother die? (3) What happened to her missing father? Since these events occurred during the chaos of World War II, Jayne has her work cut out for her-- especially with that Australian trip looming ever closer.


I have found M.J. Lee's Jayne Sinclair series to be the perfect blend of history and mystery, with the added bonus being the fact that Jayne's life is very seldom ever in danger. (Sometimes I just don't want any blood and guts in the mystery I'm reading, thank you very much.)

Jayne is very close to her stepfather who moved to a nursing home when he was diagnosed with dementia. Once there, he met, fell in love with, and married another resident, and Jayne spends as much time with the pair as possible-- even planning this trip for all three of them to enjoy.

The Missing Father proves that it's never too late to learn about your ancestors, and Jayne takes readers through all the various methods to learn about your family history. Alice Taylor's case is a bit trickier since she was adopted and her name was changed but Jayne has many tricks up her sleeve and learns the truth. Finding out what happened to Alice's parents is more difficult, and I really began to wonder if Jayne was going to get the job done before the plane took off for Australia. 

The Missing Father takes readers into the chaos of World War II and the fall of Singapore to the Japanese, and although Lee doesn't gloss over the facts or the horrors of war, he never goes over the top. (I do like it when authors let readers' imaginations fill in the blanks.) In one book after another, Lee has found fascinating little-known chapters of history to bring to life, and that's one of the many reasons why I enjoy this series so much. 

If you like reading mysteries closer to the cozy end of the spectrum that also have a strong dash of history, consider reading M.J. Lee's Jayne Sinclair mysteries. Although it's better to read them in order, it's not absolutely necessary. Start anywhere, and don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for the earlier books in the series.

The Missing Father by M.J. Lee
Independently Published © 2022
eBook, 314 pages
Genealogical Mystery, #9 Jayne Sinclair mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. This sounds right up my street, Cath! I find genealogy really interesting, and adding that plot point of finding birth parents is an extra added appeal as far as I'm concerned. Definitely sounds like something I'd like.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I'll try again. Are all of the Jayne Sinclair mysteries genealogical ones, Cathy? I think it would be fun to watch her negotiate her way through all the twists and turns of the past to make her final connections to the present.

    2. Yes, the entire series concerns genealogical mysteries. It's very well done, and readers can not only get a good idea of how to research their family history but they can also learn about various historical events that they've probably never heard of.


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