Daniel Elton Harmon
South Carolina Chronicler & Editor

NOW AVAILABLE: "The Harper Chronicles" in e-book format for the Amazon Kindle. Order now!

 

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 SAMPLE A STORY! "The Swindlers Circle," one of the shorter episodes from the book, appears in Volume 22 of HandHeldCrime, an online mystery magazine. A second short work from the book, "The Derelict Seaman," has been published online by Mysterical-E.

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Six unmarked graves hold the secret to an older generation's hideous ordeal. . . .

Escaped convicts invade a riverside campsite. . . .

A ring of prestigious businessmen carry out a massive estate swindle in the state capital. . . .

Shipwreck survivors sheltered at a Low Country fishing village have much, much to hide. . . .

And the president of the United States turns to a small-city journalist to intercept a damaging piece of diplomatic correspondence. . . .

Harper, nonconforming and nonpareil crime reporter for the fledgling Challenge, finds himself in the thick of these and other dramas in the post-Reconstruction South. Through intuition, deduction, focused research and on-the-scene investigation, Harper probes to the heart of each affair. In the process, he often uncovers facts and circumstances he can never publish—and enters the hazy borderland between observer and participant.

"The Harper Chronicles, Volume One"

"The Chalk Town Train": Harper investigates a friend's mysterious
reassignment from his railroad conductor's route. Soon, the journalist
finds himself waging deadly battle against a notorious outlaw band.
(SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE FOR AN EXCERPT.)

"The Swindlers Circle": The reporter's 10-year-old niece inadvertently
puts him onto a white-collar crime ring in the state capital.

"Convicts of the Congaree": Escapees from the state penitentiary
stumble into the riverside campsite of the vacationing
crime reporter . . . and reveal an astonishing saga.

"The Derelict Seaman": In the chill, misty gloom of the
South Carolina seaside, Harper uncovers a mystery within a tragedy.

"The Marion Graves": Traveling to the Pee Dee to report
on a hanging, the writer for The Challenge learns a secret
that connects darkness present with darkness past.

"The Bartender's Keepsake": The proprietor of Columbia's popular
reporters pub displays a veiled picture on the wall. What is its meaning?
Harper alone learns the answer.

"The Tavern Horror": Welcome to Old Ninety-Six District—and to
the legend of the Redcoat's ghost. But is it merely a legend. . . ?

"The Kornegaut Letter": In the defining chronicle of Volume One,
Harper is engaged by President Chester A. Arthur to recover a lost
document that could spell international trouble for the government.
For once in his career, Harper enlists the aid of a newspaper
colleague—the indefatigable Donnabelle Ropp.

From “The Chalk Town Train”

HARPER BARELY COULD DISCERN the hounds’ silhouettes near the foot of the front steps. Crouched and motionless, they growled almost imperceptibly. Harper stood at the darkened corner window of the empty parlor. The only light shining in the house was the kitchen lantern. Outside, one street light shown at the corner. No one could be seen within its circle, but enemies, he knew, were about.

Harper, like Moore, heard the approaching whistle of the Chalk Town train. That told him it was almost 7:45. Then the minutes dragged by. Five? Ten? Twenty? Harper could not judge. He was about to move toward the open kitchen doorway so he could check his watch in the light—and then he saw it: a match struck at the edge of the woods across the street. Then a torch. A second torch. They hovered, lingering close together in the black surroundings. Harper could distinguish no human form. Suddenly one of the torches moved along the edge of the dirt street, away from the corner. Heading for the rear! Harper surmised.

He lifted the 12-gauge. If he fired now, he believed, he might blow out the torch before it was out of range. Harper aimed, leading the moving light slightly, and squeezed one of the triggers. . . .

© 2001 by Daniel Elton Harmon. All rights reserved. Any use of this material without the author's express written permission is forbidden.

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© 2002-2012, Daniel Elton Harmon