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The Murderer and the Fortune Teller

Black Squirrel Books, Classic Detective Stories, Criminal Investigation, Recent Releases

DescriptionCaptain J. N. Sumner from Springfield, Massachusetts, hires Pinkerton to help solve a crime involving his sisters and the deed to a family farm. His younger sister Annie falls under the charms of a married man, Mr. Pattmore, who promises to marry Annie once his wife and her brother are out of the way. Captain Sumner possesses an opal ring with a stone that appears to foretell events. After suddenly falling violently ill, he becomes convinced his sister is trying to poison him to get his fortune and, more importantly, his ring.

Recognizing Annie’s superstitious nature, Pinkerton has one of his female detectives pose as a fortune teller to meet with Annie. But it soon becomes clear that Pinkerton may have gotten more than he bargained for. Is Annie actually trying to kill her brother, or is she being controlled by a much more sinister force? Is Captain Sumner’s ring genuine? So unfolds this tale of adultery, politics, superstition, manipulation, and murder.


Allan Pinkerton (1819–1884) was born in Scotland and immigrated to the United States in 1842. Settling in the Chicago area, his first career was as a cooper. While wandering in the woods looking for wood to make barrel staves, he came across some counterfeiters and helped in their arrest. That led to Pinkerton being appointed as police detective in Cook County, Illinois, and later forming his own company—the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton produced numerous books based on his work and that of his agents. While the books no doubt reflect his views, many historians believe he used a ghostwriter.

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