This book is historical fiction. In 1900 in Cadiz, Ohio, John Bingham, the lead prosecutor in the trials of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, was dying.
His doctor, Jaime Fraser, was at his bedside when Bingham mentioned Mary Surratt, and said she had made a confession to him just before her execution.
When Fraser asked what she said, Bingham replied he would never tell, but would take it to his grave.
Several days after Bingham’s funeral, one of his daughters asked Fraser, who was also a long time family friend, if he would help them go through her father’s papers.
His vast collection of correspondence, files and books also included a large collection on Lincoln’s murder.
Fraser agreed to do so and became engrossed in the project. He begins his own research to learn more about the various Lincoln conspiracy theories and realizes there were many discrepancies and unanswered questions regarding Lincoln’s murder.
He wonders why, 35 years after the crime, so little was known about it. A black man named Speed Cook, whom he had seen at the funeral, contacted Fraser to see if he would treat a colored woman. Fraser agreed and then realized she was a witness at the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. After hearing her story, Cook and Fraser try to figure out the truth of the assassination, but for different reasons. It is not long before they are aware that someone does not want them to continue with their inquiries. Little do they know what lies ahead, but danger is now their companion.
The author has done a fine job weaving the various Lincoln conspiracies into Fraser and Cook’s investigations, though they have opposite personalities which lead to some problems.
In spite of the racial differences, they seem to complement each other in their efforts and talents. I found this to be an enjoyable and well written book. John Bingham was in fact the lead prosecutor in the Lincoln conspiracy and died in 1900 in Ohio.
There were a number of characters mentioned in the book who were still alive in 1900. I think most Civil War readers who like mysteries will enjoy this one.
Title: The Lincoln Deception
Author: David O. Stewart
Publisher: Kensington Books