Cover image for Murder at Manassas : a Harrison Raines Civil War mystery
Murder at Manassas : a Harrison Raines Civil War mystery
Kilian, Michael, 1939-2005.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Prime Crime, [2000]

Physical Description:
306 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



A mystery series set on the front lines of the Civil War. Battle by battle. Crime after crime.With a journalist's eye for detail, and a novelist's flair for intrigue and drama, Washington correspondent Michael Kilian has created one of the most original and engaging mystery series of our time. Based on actual events and extensive research, these innovative mysteries follow the Civil War chronologically, battle-by-battle, using a specific historic battlefield as a setting for each novel.Harrison Grenville Raines was born and raised on a Virginia plantation, but he does not share his family's sentiments on slavery--or war. Hoping to avoid the politics that divide the nation, he earns his living as a gambler, horse trader, and investor. But then, on July 21, 1861, Harrison finds himself in the fiery heart of the war's first batlle--when he escorts a British actress to the front lines of Manassas and witnesses the first Confederate victory. But that isn't all he's witnessed--Harrison is the last person to see a Northern major before he was killed fleeing the Rebels. But this seeming act of cowardice is actually a cold-blooded murder. And Harrison is willing to cross the lines between North and South to prove it.Based on the historic Battle of Bull Run, this remarkable debut unveils the murderous passions that flared during the most devastating military conflict in American history.

Author Notes

Michael Kilianis a Washington, DC correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the author of numerous books, including the Harrison Raines Civil War Mysteries. His family includes early settlers of Virginia and New York, and Union soldiers who died at Fredericksburg and fought at Gettysburg on Little Round Top.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kilian, a Washington, D.C. correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, is also the author of several novels. Here he successfully combines the genre of historical novel and murder mystery. Against the background of the first major battle of the Civil War, Kilian examines the seemingly straightforward battlefield death of a Union officer. However, his protagonist, Harrison Raines, a Southern-born gambler with antislavery sentiments, correctly suspects there is more to the story. Raines pursues his suspicions by crossing back and forth across the lines of the opposing armies, apparently motivated by a passion for justice. Kilian successfully captures the chaos, confusion, and horror of war, and he effectively handles the irony of a quest for justice in the midst of mass killing. He has provided a slick, engrossing mystery dominated by an interesting and attractive sleuth, who will be featured in subsequent novels in a planned series. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The first battle of the Civil War provides background and theme for this debut novel in a projected series that will combine mystery with the history of the period. Southern-bred gambler and horse trader Harrison Raines provides reluctant escort for an actress friend from Washington who wishes to observe the fighting at Manassas. Instead of the quick, decisive Union victory expected, however, there comes a panicky retreat, then rout, of federal forces. As the escaping troops overtake the observers, Harry watches a yellow-haired officer valiantly try to stem the retreat and rally the soldiers. Later he learns that the same officer has been slain and is being branded a coward who led the retreat. The convolutions of the plot, as Harry's efforts are enlisted, preempted and resisted by various interests concerned with the officer's death, allow Kilian to introduce a slew of historical figures from Clara Barton to Abraham Lincoln. Some, like Allan Pinkerton, play large roles; others, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, make cameo appearances. The plot strains as it navigates some very strange turns, and the narrative never seems to find a pace it's comfortable with. Perhaps like the federal troops who wilted in the first combat, Kilian will rally to more valiant efforts in future battles. Meanwhile, Ann McMillan's Civil War series (Angel Trumpet, etc.) remains a better bet for those who like their mysteries colored in blue and grey. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved