The Garfield Conspiracy
Imprint: Liberties Press
256 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- January 2024
Who killed President James Garfield? There was a shooter alright, Charles Guiteau, who surrendered at the scene, was tried and hanged. But was he acting alone, in July 1881, or was there a more sinister force at work?
Richard Todd, writer, can’t write anymore. Despite having a comfortable home in the ‘better end’ of Dublin, a successful wife, Valery Hobson, who does everything for him and three well-adjusted children, he is paralyzed by a sense of futility. His publisher sends Jenny Lambe, a talented young editor, to help him work on his latest book, about the assassination of Garfield. They fall for each other and Richard leaves his wife and family to move in with her to a small rental house on the outskirts of the city.
While researching the book Richard hears the voice of the Guiteau, who tells him he was not alone in the assassination – there was a mastermind behind the plot and Richard better find out who this was, or Guiteau will murder him.
Richard is visited in turn by the major players surrounding Garfield’s death, including the President himself, his Secretary of State James Blaine, leading Republican senator Roscoe Conkling, Conkling’s mistress Kate Chase Sprague, the investigating police officer, McElfresh and bungling Vice President Chester Arthur.
Aside from giving their views and evidence on the murder, they engage in discussion with Richard re his own behavior and its consequences. Confronted with his own culpability and with growing feelings of guilt and grief, to go with incredulity, he must maintain enough impartiality to find the truth. Adding to his problems are an injured wife and an increasingly disillusioned mistress. Both women, with genuine reasons for anger and disappointment, pull him apart in their different ways. On top of everything else are financial difficulties, and growing pressure from his publisher. He must solve the mystery and write the book before either Guiteau catches up with him or he loses his sanity.