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Benjamin Franklin and the Quaker Murders Paperback – June 14, 2017
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"Benjamin Franklin and the Quaker Murders by John Harmon McElroy is a mystery ... rich in details about Franklin's life and 18th-century Philadelphia, which in 1785 was the world's largest English-speaking city after London. -- The Sons of the American Revolution Magazine
"An illustrious Founding Father adds supersleuth to his resume in McElroy's ... well-researched historical novel. ... An entertaining, educational mystery that neatly bridges the gap between fact and fiction." -- Kirkus Reviews
"McElroy's idea is an original one, and his plot engaging." -- Chronicles
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In this suspenseful page turner; two woman are found dead with the same bruise marks. Both bodies are found on the same man’s property, one of them in his own bed, how can he possibly not be guilty of murder. Only a Seventy-Nine year old Benjamin Franklin thinks differently. Franklin who wishes to remain the silent detective, enlists the help of Revolutionary War veteran James Jamison and brilliantly guides him though the many twists, turns and suspects.
The author John Harmon McElory, breathes passion and vigor onto this 'slice of life' tale of our young nations history. One can easily vision the streets, homes, alleys, bars and rivers of 1780’s Philadelphia. McElory’s characters and the many of this murder mystery suspects are believable. He does a masterful job putting the reader into the lives of some of history's most pivotal characters and making you see their perspectives while also learning a lot of history. One marvels at Benjamin Franklin’s wit and James Jamison’s honor, loyalty and tenacity. “ Benjamin Franklin And The Quaker Murders “ is an excellent ‘ who done it ‘ murder mystery, a suspenseful thriller a Love Story and you learn about a slice of America’s early history. John Harmon McElory’s writing is clear and crisp, and he does a good job making complicated issues understandable.
At first glance, it is a police-procedural before the invention of police: a mysterious murder, an obvious suspect, but a case that unravels quickly and leaves you wondering what exactly DID happen to Lizzie Coons? There's a bit of action, a bit of romance, and a lot of old-fashioned detective work (that wasn't yet old-fashioned in the 18th century).
At another level, the book is a love story to the United States in its infancy, just after the end of the Revolutionary War. The descriptions of daily life, of political and social concerns, and of both cityscape and countryside will bring you back in time to when the nation was young, when endless possibilities lay just over the horizon, and colonists are just learning how to be Americans. I found myself keeping Google Maps open on my iPad next to my Kindle to trace the action through and around early Philadelphia.
But at the highest level, this book is a celebration of one our most honored citizens, and one of the most remarkable men in history. The scenes with Benjamin Franklin sparkle with the character of the man, and his dialogue (much of it adapted from his "Autobiography") comes off naturally, not forced or stilted.
Highly recommended, and since the ending seems perfectly set up for a sequel, I look forward to revisiting this world.
Jacob Maul, a kindly old Quaker, is accused of murder early in the novel. And why not. The body, after all, was found in his own necessary (outhouse). Ben Franklin, with the help of young James, a Revolutionary War hero, unravels the grisly murder and comes to a satisfying conclusion.
The end is thought provoking. What, exactly, is justice? How can one punish a murderer while safeguarding the identity of an innocent person? You'll have to read it to learn the answer.
I look forward to reading more of Dr. McElroy's work.