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Book review: 'The Lincoln Conspiracy' by Timothy O'Brien

“The Lincoln Conspiracy” by Timothy O'Brien offers a new twist on history and introduces a new sleuth.
BY KAY DYER Published: November 4, 2012

In “The Lincoln Conspiracy” (Ballantine, $26), Timothy O'Brien offers a new twist on history and introduces a sleuth readers might hope to see again.

It's unlikely Temple McFadden, a police detective in Washington, D.C., in 1865, will become a repeat hero. But he certainly wraps things up in fine fashion in this thriller about a crucial time in American history.

President Abraham Lincoln's assassination seems to have been solved, but the city and nation are in mourning. The Civil War is over, but peace is fragile. The detective's crippled leg kept him out of the war, but he finds plenty of action in the bustling city.

When he sees a man being attacked by a group at the railroad station, he uses his trusty cane to fight them off, then finds a package strapped to the victim's chest. It contains two diaries that reveal a broad conspiracy implicating high government officials in the assassination plot. One is the diary of a woman, perhaps the president's widow. The other, written by a man, refers to Lincoln as a traitor and mentions “assassination.”

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