The Third Corner

Written by J. L. Abbott
Review by Ellen Keith

In the years during and following the American Civil War, a secret government agency called Dark Watch protected the nation’s interests. In 1871, two of its agents have been assassinated, and their children, Kathryn Devereaux and Jared Bentley, also members of Dark Watch, vow to find their fathers’ killer, who they fear is a traitor in the Grant administration. Kathryn and Jared are also in love but forbidden to marry while working for Dark Watch, and, need it be said, forbidden to stop working for Dark Watch. Their greatest enemy is Mae Falconner, a Southern spy obsessed with Jared. This woman, as the reader will learn, has more lives than a cat.

The Third Corner would like to be a mystery but instead is an old-fashioned melodrama. All that’s missing is the evil villain twirling his black, waxed moustache. The author too often makes recourse to flashbacks. Characters are forever remembering how they met, when they last saw each other, etc., in protracted flashbacks that undercut the current storyline. As for the mystery itself, it was difficult to remember that it was supposed to have something to do with the Presidential administration, as it seemed more designed to display the heroism of Kathryn and Jared. I suspect Abbott made her protagonists members of a secret society to put them above mere mortals. They are so one-dimensionally heroic that I wished for something like Kryptonite to bring them to their knees.