It is fall,1759. The saga of Jack Frake and Hugh Kenrick moves to Caxton, a small trading town on the York River in Virginia, some miles up the wide river from Yorktown. Jack Frake, after having served his eight-year indenture, is a successful tobacco planter, having inherited his property from his former master, with whom he formed a close father-son relationship. He married the master's daughter, but she and her son died in childbirth.
During a Nob Hill society party, Skeen and his painter wife, Dilys, befriend a beautiful sculptress who turns out to be a British spy carrying important information about the extent of that infiltration in American and British governments. In A Crimson Overture, one thing leads to another, and soon Skeen is enmeshed in a conspiracy to silence him and anyone else with knowledge of the scale of espionage and treason in both countries.
It is June 1929. The Roaring Twenties are still roaring, but the period is doomed. San Francisco's celebrated Cyrus Skeen, private detective and scion of Eastern wealth, is secure in his solvency; he has never bought stock on margin. He is as finicky about what stocks to invest in as he is in the kind of client he is willing to accept and work for. He is approached by Susan Harker, wife of Hosanna Harker, a noted local novelist accused of murdering his publisher, Marc Pearson.
Cyrus Skeen, private detective, scours 1928 San Francisco in search of the man who stole a priceless medieval artifact. The thief, who is also a pathological killer, is not Skeen's only obstacle. The exquisite Frenchwoman and retured British colonel who are searching for the artifact also prove to be obstructions. Helping him in his search is his loyal and adoring secretary, Dilys Jones. Complicating the search are two Yale classmates, one of whom has penned a hit play that is headed for Broadway, but who has a secret about its true authorship. This is the other side of Sam Spade's San Francisco.
"A Great Read!"
A Hollywood producer visits Skeen's office and promises him the moon if he would agree to allow his persona and cases be used for some new movies, possibly starring William Powell or Ronald Colman. Skeen expresses no interest and asks the man to leave. next day a friend brings him a news clipping about a major Hollywood studio negotiating with him over the rights to his past cases to produce a series of detective films - all talkies.
Book Two introduces the second young hero, Hugh Kenrick, a member of the British aristocracy. While he has all the advantages that his rank bestows on him – family, wealth, prestige, and an assured future – his quest to preserve his self identity, his liberty, and his independence clashes violently with the demands of his station.
The time of The Circles of Odin is early September, 1929, after Skeen's case of the Daedàlus Society in July and before he discovers in November a Nazi Bund in Palo Alto, south of San Francisco, Skeen's main venue of his adventures.
British friends of colonial rights fight to defeat the Stamp Act in Parliament in 1765, led by Dogmael Jones. In the meantime Patrick Henry takes the floor, advocates the rights of the colonies to self-governance without interference from the Crown, and denounces the Stamp Act. Hugh Kenrick, now a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, helps Henry voice the opposition.
When Merritt Fury, a fiercely independent American entrepreneur, returns to Hong Kong on business, little does he know that he has become enmeshed in a conspiracy to confiscate his investment and render the Crown colony a dependency on the Mainland dictatorship to the north. While he suspects foul play by some of his business partners in Bluelist TungstenTrading, he also learns that he is the object of scrutiny by an underground group combating the conspiracy. He meets Amber Lee.
After having some breathing room from his last case, which brought him up against Islamic operatives in San Francisco in The Black Stone, Cyrus Skeen and his wife take a short vacation on a luxury bus, the Pickwick Stage. But the bus is held up by gangsters. Skeen goes into action and foils the hijacking. But his heroism engenders even more problems and perils.
The American Revolution did not just happen. It was the culmination of two centuries of Enlightenment ideas that entered men's minds and were refined and honed until they expressed themselves in an unprecedented rejection of tyranny in the name of individual rights and political freedom from the whims of arrogant monarchs and conniving, power-lusting politicians.
Cyrus Skeen is hired by Edgar Freund, the defense attorney of Enoch Paige, a notorious lecturer charged with the savage murder of his ex-wife, to find evidence that will exonerate his client of the crime. Skeen soon finds himself at odds with Freund, as well as with Detective Sergeant Robert Hoile of the San Francisco police, who is determined to send Paige to the electric chair, and with Reverend Oswald Hoxley, the pastor of a popular church. More murders are committed.
"Classic Mystery with Caveats"
In Part One, Cyrus Skeen, private detective in 1929 San Francisco, is asked by Charles Gilchrest, chairman of The Daedàlus Society, an exclusive men-only club, to go to the The Daedàlus Grove, a private enclave north of the city, to determine the nature of some trouble he has been warned about in a cryptic note written by an anonymous member. The note alludes to a controversial Senator from Nebraska and a tariff bill in Congress. It may the overture to a prank or it may be a serious threat to the man's life.
It is November, 1929. The stock market has crashed. The Roaring Twenties are about to end. But Cyrus Skeen, private detective, is not too concerned. He never bought on margin or gambled on "sure things" to make a quick buck; his wealth is secure. But many businessmen and investors made that mistake and have been bankrupted. Ruined, some have committed suicide. But not all have jumped from their office windows to end it all. Lucian Maxey, president of Maxey Motors in San Francisco, seems to have committed suicide by putting a gun to his head.
In this new case, Skeen confronts a new kind of nemesis that has been gestating in the Middle East for centuries and is now being enabled by oil companies and careless foreign policies: Islam. While investigating three murders whose savagery is unprecedented in the annals of San Francisco crime, he begins to understand that nemesis and the threat it holds.
Islam's Reign of Terror chronicles the war waged against the U.S. and the West, resulting in over 24,000 acts of terror and tens of thousands of deaths in a campaign to force the world to submit unconditionally to Islam and Sharia Law. It also discusses the West's anemic, evasive response to the war declared against it, and how that insipid response only encourages terrorists and states that sponsor terrorism and other Islam-dominated nations to continue to attack the West.
As the British Crown plans to exact its Stamp Tax on the North American colonies, Hugh Kenrick, Jack Frake, and their friends in Caxton, Virginia, plot to foil the arrival of the hated stamps in the colony. Edgar Cullis and George Mercer, also Virginians, however, scheme to switch sides. Reverdy Brune returns to Hugh's life, and Etáin, Jack's wife, acquires a new friend.
Jack Frake and Hugh Kenrick resign themselves to the likelihood of war with the Crown. Hugh returns to England on urgent personal business, while Jack prepares for the coming conflict. In the meantime, Jared Turley, an agent of Earl Basil Kenrick, posing as a Customs official, sets his sights on Hugh Kenrick to punish in the name of his employer. He allies himself with the detested new royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, and confiscates the Sparrowhawk.
We Three Kings is about how a single man, moved by the moral principle that one's life and property are one's own, can foil the faceless enablers and defeat a vicious conspiracy to deny him his property and his life. At issue is the possession of a rare gold coin, a British £5 Queen Una, given to Fury by a man whose life he saved.
It is March, 1929. Cyrus Skeen is called to New York by his father, Garnett Skeen, to attend to some trust fund affairs. Skeen's detective agency is subsidized by a trust fund his father set up years before, but his mother, Eleanor "Nellie" Skeen, wishes to set up her own trust fund for her son. A daughter of an Oklahoma oil magnate, she is "very well situated" in terms of wealth. Skeen's parents, however, are driving to Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina to spend the rest of the winter.