Edwin L. Marin
In London, a secret society led by lawyer Thaddeus Merrydew collects the assets of any of its deceased members and divides them among the remaining members. Society members start dropping like flies. Sherlock Holmes is approached by member James Murphy’s widow, who is miffed at being left penniless by her husband. When Captain Pyke is shot, Holmes keys in on his mysterious Chinese widow as well as the shady Merrydew. Other members keep dying–Malcom Dearing first, then Mr. Baker. There is also an attempt on the life of young Eileen Forrester, who became a reluctant society member upon the death of her father. Holmes’ uncanny observations and insights are put to the test.
In the years following the Civil War, the town of Abilene, Kansas is poised on the brink of an explosive confrontation. A line has been drawn down the center of the town where the homesteaders and the cattlemen have come to a very uneasy truce. The delicate peace is inadvertently shattered when a group of new homesteaders lay down their stakes on the cattlemen’s side of town, upsetting the delicate balance that had existed thus far and sparking an all-out war between the farmers, who want the land tamed and property lines drawn, and the cowboys, who want the prairies to be open for their cattle to roam.