The Curse Of Stafford Manor, And Two Selected Mystery Stories (Thriller and Mystery Series)

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The Blurb says: From picturesque canals to the swirling currents of the ocean, a world of secrets lies buried beneath the surface of the water. Dubious vessels crawl along riverbeds, while the murky depths conceal more than one gruesome murder. How might a thief plot their escape from a floating crime scene?


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And what is to follow when murder victims, lost to the ocean floor, inevitably resurface? Austin Freeman. Far North by Marcel Theroux. The Blurb says: Out on the far northern border of a failed state, Makepeace patrols the ruins of a dying city and tries to keep its unruly inhabitants in check. Into this cold, isolated world comes evidence that life is flourishing elsewhere — a refugee from the vast emptiness of forest, whose existence inspires Makepeace to take to the road to reconnect with human society. What Makepeace finds is a world unravelling, stockaded villages enforcing a rough and uncertain justice, mysterious slave camps labouring to harness the little understood technologies of a vanished civilization.

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads. Abraham Lincoln has won the Presidential election and now, in early , is about to undertake the journey from his home in Springfield, Illinois, to Washington for his inauguration. But these are troubled times, and the journey is complicated because of all of the different railroad companies that own parts of the route. One of the company owners hears of a plot to destroy his railroad to prevent Lincoln making it to Washington, and so he calls in the already famous private detective, Allan Pinkerton.

But when Pinkerton starts to investigate, he becomes convinced that there is a deeper plot in the planning — to assassinate Lincoln before he is inaugurated. The first section is mostly about Pinkerton, a man who started out as a political activist in his native Glasgow in Scotland until, perhaps to escape the authorities there, he emigrated to America with his young wife.

Once the story moves to America, Stashower shows us how this journeyman cooper gradually became a detective for hire, and then grew a business of many agents able to work undercover in all levels of society. Pinkerton was also ahead of his time in recognising the value of women detectives, though it was actually a woman, Kate Warne, who convinced him of this when she persuaded him to hire her. She went on to become one of his most trusted agents, and played a major role in the events covered by the book, all of which Stashower recounts most interestingly.

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The English Crime Play in the Twentieth Century | SpringerLink

The focus then switches between Lincoln and Pinkerton, the one preparing for his journey, the other setting up his agents to infiltrate the pro-Secessionists in Baltimore, where the threat to Lincoln seemed to be greatest. Stashower tells us of the various people surrounding Lincoln, and their differing opinions on how he should meet the threat. Given that he had won the election on a minority of the vote, it was felt to be important that he should let people see and hear him, trying to win them over before he took office. This meant that the train journey became serpentine, looping and doubling back so that he could visit as many places as possible.

The English Crime Play in the Twentieth Century

To make matters worse from a security point of view, his advisors and he thought it was necessary to put out an itinerary in advance, so that the people, and unfortunately therefore the plotters, would know when and where they could get close to him. To get to Washington, he would have to go through Baltimore — a state then known as Mobtown and one that was considered likely to go over to the Confederacy side in the event of war.

Meantime, Pinkerton and his agents take us undercover deep into the conspiracy to stop Lincoln, showing how for many of those involved it was really a talking game, but for a few fanatics, it was a real plot. But towards the end I found it as tense as a thriller and raced through the last chapters with a need to know how it all worked out. Finally, Stashower gives a short summary of what happened afterwards to the various people involved — the people who travelled with Lincoln, Pinkerton and his agents, and some of the plotters.

Nothing really changes, eh? A thoroughly enjoyable book — well written, interesting and informative, giving a lot of insight into this troubled period just before the Civil War.

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And who should be better able to cope than a ghost hunter? Five men gather for dinner at the home of Carnacki, self-styled ghost-finder. As is a ritual on these evenings, after dinner Carnacki begins to tell the tale of his latest adventure. Two days later, I drove to the house late in the afternoon. I found it a very old place, standing quite alone in its own grounds.

Anderson had left a letter with the butler, I found, pleading excuses for his absence, and leaving the whole house at my disposal for my investigations. Well, Anderson is not showing the male of the species in a very brave light! However, the old butler, Peter, was able to give Carnacki some details of the haunting…. From him I learned more particulars regarding two things that Anderson had mentioned in but a casual manner.