Murder in the Lincoln White House

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Dec 2017

Member Reviews

This historical fiction opens on the night of Lincoln's Inauguration Ball on March 4, 1861 and revolves around the murder of a man in the building that night. Such an event could cause chaos and hysteria among the crowd, but the investigation is led by Adam Quinn, a trusted friend of Lincoln and a "jack of all trades". Adam enlists the help of Dr. George Hilton, a Negro doctor, Brian Mulcahey, a young Irish boy, and Sophia Gates, a young woman reporter. The team slowly and carefully collects the clues that point to a secretive group with dark purpose.

I really enjoyed reading this novel because the author wove a lot of interesting historical details into this mystery. Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for an ARC; all opinions are my own.
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Awesome awesome book I look forward to more stories from Gleason kept me glued to the pages throughout.
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Well researched historical mystery with an excellent supporting cast drawn from the immigrant and freed slave society. The tension of being in Washington at that time, and the instability of Lincoln's presidency, is palpable. A great start to the series.
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Murder in the LIncoln White House by C.M. Gleason is one of those books that you want to like more than you really do and then spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to talk yourself into wanting to praise what is simple, a good book and a good mystery with fairly typical characters for this time period.

"....I believe now will be the moment where our jack-of-all-trades will step forward and prove himself both versatile and indispensable.'
With a jolt, Adam looked up at Mr. Lincoln, who'd spoken clearly and gravely. Very different from the relaxed, affectionate man with whom he'd sat at the dinner table and listened to story after story, or argued and joked with in the parlor for years back in Springfield. 'Mr. President,' he began. 
Lincoln shook his head, holding up a hand. His eyes were calm yet troubled. 'The last thing I want is for anyone out there to know. Especially Mary. She's been waiting for this for...well, years. Decades, really.' His smile was both wry and sad.
Adam felt a twinge. He and his uncle had spoken long and intimately about the new president-and what a burden he would bear.
What a dangerous, heavy, important burden.
'Whatever I can do, of course, Mr. President,' he replied.
Joshua took Adam's arm. 'A man's been stabbed here, at the ball. Murdered..."

It is March 4, 1861, the day of the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. With the threat of war raging on, these are perilous times in Washington for not only its people but for its leader as well. Surrounded by his security team, which consists of Allan Pinkerton and Lincoln's oldest friend Joshua Speed, they are joined by Speed's own nephew, Adam Quinn. Recently of the Kansas frontier, Quinn is back in Washington to serve the President of the United States. 

What Quinn thought would be a security detail changes quickly when a murdered man is found just outside of the inaugural ball. Now Quinn is charged with finding the killer and solving the crime. But can it just be a coincidence that the murder happened on this date and so close to the President? Or is this a harbinger of a greater danger to come. But when a second killing is done, it is far too close to home. It is in the sanctum of the President.

"...A murder in my great White House,' said Lincoln. Looking soberly at Adam. 'if it was to happen, I'd have thought it would have been me...."

Quinn enlists the help of a female journalist posing as a man, Sophie Gates and a free man of color, Dr. Hilton to help him solve these violent deaths. Together they must solve these murders and save the stain of blood on Lincoln's young presidency.

Okay, on the premise this sounds like a very good book and perhaps it could have been. But the characters are like extras in a film. Devoid of any actual depth. There is a southern belle who wants to escape a loveless marriage proposal and whose diva like actions place her in jeopardy constantly. A situation she needs help to escape, help from a man; Adam Quinn. In contrast, Sophie Gates; the feminist crusading journalist needs no mans help. In fact she pretends to be one to show how much she can do whatever a man can do. The book will pretend that she works alongside Quinn, when in fact she often works against him to serve her own ambitions. She conceals evidence and only reveals it and herself when it helps to further her cause. But the book is blatant in its characterization of the two women. North good. South bad.

Dr. Hilton however is a very intriguing character. A man of color, a medical man, who is trying to make a life in the North yet is finding himself facing many of the same prejudices that he faced in the South. He finds that his only clients are those too destitute to go elsewhere. When he is pulled into the crimes, he finds his findings called into question by the enlightened Northerners simply because he is a black man. He also is forced to take in the dead bodies even though by doing so, he is putting his own practice an livelihood in jeopardy. This is something that Quinn and his group seem to not be concerned with much at all.

But in the end, it is the motive for the killings which I found so disappointing. I won't give it away here but in a novel in such a setting, such a time and such a nation in turmoil, this was pedestrian.

Good but could have been so much better.
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Thank you for the chance to review this book, however, unfortunately, I was unable to read and review this title before it was archived.
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I want to give this a very solid 4.5 stars.  This was especially well done historical fiction and an incredibly well done mystery!  The author does an amazing job at putting you right into the heart of Washington DC during the very first days of Lincoln's presidency.  The descriptions of the city and the White House and the clothing were so incredibly clear you could really easily picture yourself standing there observing it all yourself.  The mystery was really a good one and the investigation was fascinating as it was providing a glimpse into early forensics.  The author also did a a great job in providing summaries of the clues as the story went along (which in so many mysteries is missing) although at times it felt a bit redundant.  Many, many well planted red-herrings and twists along the way.  If you like historical mysteries I think this will be right up your alley!
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It's March 4, 1861.  Tension is riding high between the northern and southern states. War will soon break out, but for now, it's just rumblings and quiet threats. Newly elected President Abraham Lincoln has been sworn in, and a crowd has gathered for the Inaugural Ball. Fears of assassination or other violence are security around President Lincoln is tight. Allan Pinkerton, head of Lincoln's security team, and three other guards watch the crowd for signs of trouble. Adam Quinn, recovering from a wound he suffered while in the Kansas Territory, has been hired for security and also to act as a Jack-of-all-Trades for Lincoln. Quinn sees a man in the crowd acting strangely, but he is waylaid by women wanting him to dance, reporters and others at the ball, never making it over to the man. By the time he returns to the raised dais to check in with Lincoln an his entourage, something grave has happened. A man has been stabbed to death. Custer Billings, a banker, is dead, two knife wounds in his chest. Quinn quickly starts investigating the killiing. Was this a political killing? Related to Lincoln? Or a random act?

This book is a nice blend of mystery and historical fiction. The author obviously did quite a bit of research to capture the tensions, political climate and issues of 1861. I did have just a twinge of incredulity that Quinn would have paired up with a female reporter and a free black man to investigate this murder. I doubt there were many female reporters in Washington D.C. in 1861. For a moment, it felt like forced diversity for PC purposes....but I liked the characters and felt they meshed together as investigators. So, it was a momentary twinge only. 

The story is an enjoyable, believable read. The mystery has plenty of action, twists and suspects. This is the first book in a series....great start! I can't wait to read more!

The second book in the series, Murder in the Oval Library, will be out in August 2018. 

C.M. Gleason is a penname used by author Colleen Gleason. She writes action/adventure novels under C.M. Gleason, and paranormal and YA books under Colleen Gleason. To learn more about the author, check out her websites: and

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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When a murder is discovered at the inauguration ball of President Lincoln, he turns to a young friend from home, Adam Quinn, to investigate. Quinn must search through prejudices, suspicions, and false clues to bring the murderer to justice.

This is a fantastic historical mystery. From the start, I very much enjoyed Adam Quinn's character. He was clever and thorough in searching for clues. He used his experience from tracking animals to analyze and think through each step he took. 

The supporting characters were all equally lovely. There were two ladies who could play the romantic angle, and I could see them both in the role. An African American doctor was possibly one of my favorite men who aided Quinn. 

Overall, this is a brilliant start to a series and I'm looking forward to reading more of his adventures in a time period of such conflict.
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Thank you to NetGalley, C. M. Gleason, and Kensington Books for allowing me to read and review an ARC of Murder in the Lincoln White House. I LOVED this novel. I found it interesting, and unique. After reading something realistic about the time and events in American history, I'm interested to read more about Lincoln. The author did a fantastic job weaving historical fact with fiction.
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I really enjoyed this book.  The attention to the historical detail was amazing, especially when discussing the differences between those slaves who were considered "free" and those who were not.  The plot was well-written and kept my attention until the very end.  

At the party after Lincoln's inauguration, a dead body is found.  The President asks Adam Quinn, recently arrived in Washington from Kansas and the son of an old friend, to investigate.  Adam is a fish out of water in D.C., but he dives right in and starts looking for suspects.  His search takes him from the upper corridors of power to the slums of the city as he tries to find the murderer.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it.  Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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It's 1861 and Abraham Lincoln’s inaguration ball, with so many plots and threats to his life everyone is on guard, then a body is found in a nearby room. Lincoln asks Adam Quinn, the nephew of his old friend Joshua Speed to investigate.
Thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read, well-written mystery, the setting and the characters.
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In Murder in the Lincoln White House a murder occurs at President Lincoln’s inaugural ball.  The President puts his young assistant in charge of the investigation.  Adam Quinn is handsome and intelligent.  He is open minded and quite a magnet for the women.  The story is engaging and entertaining as it goes on to investigate another murder connected to the first.  This book definitely held my interest throughout.
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The Times They Are A-Changin'  (Bob Dylan)

History carries a heavy stick. It raps to a familiar beat heard since the beginning of time. The panoramic stage weaves variations and set changes, but the actors, oh the actors, are cloaked in hues of long-standing hate, greed, animosity, and belligerent behavior.

The curtain rises in the Inaugural Ballroom in March of 1861 ushering in the newly elected President Abraham Lincoln. The dance floor is lined with hoop-skirted ladies and men wearing a cockade on their waistcoats depicting their political leanings. Abolitionists and secessionists mingle in the same crowd.

But eyes sweep the clusters of people in an age when that is the highest level of security. Pinkerton's men move from one end of the hall to the other. They have broken through many plots to threaten Lincoln's life including a recent one in Baltimore in which Lincoln was swept away to board another train. Even congratulatory baskets of sweets may be tainted with arsenic. A most loved and a most hated President of the times.

The discovery of a dead body in a room near Lincoln sets the White House on alert. The man was stabbed to death. Lincoln calls in Adam Quinn to investigate the crime. Quinn becomes a most unusual protangonist. He lost his arm in the Bloody Kansas revolts and wears the heaviness of  a prothesis. Quinn is more of an adventurer than an investigator. But his living-off-the-land experiences serve him well here. Washington, D.C. is filled with unsavory characters with hidden and not so hidden agendas.

C.M. Gleason presents a fictional storyline encased with scenarios of impending war, political stances, the role of females in society, the day upon day effects of slavery, and the impact of the Black Code on free black men and women of the time. Gleason even brings in a black doctor educated in Montreal to do an autopsy at the request of Quinn. Quinn is not the sole Robin Hood here. It is through a combined effort of various individuals that the crime will be solved. I especially enjoyed Gleason's introduction of early forensic procedures and the analytical deduction of clues.

Murder in the Lincoln White House is the first book in this series. I am looking forward to future adventures involving the sharp skills of this one-armed earthy character. Well done, C.M. Gleason.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Kensington Books and to C.M. Gleason for the opportunity.
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Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC.

You'll never see Lincoln or the White HOuse in quite the same way after reading. this. Loved the way you feel right there in the city and action.
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Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC.

Can't wait to read more from C.M. Gleason. This is just the right combination of mystery, romance, and intrigue. It seems like a unsolvable mystery, but it all comes together in the coolest way. Love the originality of this series.
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Ultimately this is a murder mystery set in the days shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election to the Presidency. 
This book has a little bit of everything, history, politics, romance, feminism. With so much going on the mystery at times takes a back seat to the dichotomies of the period. The animosity the secessionists felt toward Abraham Lincoln was so well defined it was palpable throughout the book. The cruel reality of life in Washington D.C. in 1860 for anyone who wasn’t free and/or wealthy was well portrayed. The conflict and exchanges between the pro-slavers and abolitionists was caustic, totally believable and extremely uncomfortable. Portions of the dialog were so realistically offensive I mentally gasped. 

The protagonist, Adam Quinn is an interesting commodity. As the mystery spun out effectively the reader is introduced to interesting situations and characters however the ending was too fast, too simple, too Oh Really?!  

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Publishing Corporation for an ARC
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This is one of the best, most amazing books I have read in a long time.  In addition to being a compelling mystery with a strong plot and interesting characters, it shows Abraham Lincoln as a human being and tells what it was like to live in Washington and be part of the government at that time of crisis. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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