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The Last Stroke

A Detective Story

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Author: Lawrence L. Lynch (Emma Murdoch Van Deventer)
Published: 1896
Language: English
Wordcount: 70,742 / 204 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 84.2
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 1,446
Added to site: 2011.08.01 30539

climbed the gentle upward slope, growing, as it seemed, more and more dense and shadowy as it mounted. But between the road and the river the trees grew less densely, with numerous sunny openings, but with much undergrowth, here and there, of hazel and sumach, wild vines, and along the border of the lake the low overhanging scrub willow.

For more than a fourth of a mile the four men followed the road, walking in couples, and not far apart, and contenting themselves with an occasional "hallo, Brierly," and with peering into the openings through which they could see the lake shore as they passed along.

A little further on, however, a bit of rising ground cut off all sight of the lake for a short distance. It was an oblong mound, so shapely, so evenly proportioned that it had became known as the Indian Mound, and was believed to have been the work of the aborigines, a prehistoric fortification, or burial place.

As they came opposite this mound, the man Hopkins stopped, saying:


Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.3 from 3 reviews: ****
Leah A. Zeldes

“The Last Stroke, by Lawrence L. Lynch”

In a fictional town outside Chicago, a popular young teacher is found shot to death, devastating his fiancée and brother. There seems to be no motive for the shocking murder of a man who had no known enemies. The local doctor calls in Chicago detective Francis Ferrars, who gradually pieces together the evidence. It becomes obvious fairly early whom he suspects, and why, but the process is still interesting, and Lynch's characterizations are excellent. The ending tidies things away rather too neatly, but that's a minor flaw.

It's a shame so little of Lynch's work is online.

Henry L. Ratliff

(1896) Mystery / Detective

Plot bullets

  • The first stroke ended in a man's death.

  • The second put his brother in peril of his life.

  • All hopes for a conclusion is put in the hands of a detective.

  • Can this man deal the last stroke.


A period piece with little to recommend it. Country schoolmaster is murdered on his way to class. Someone tries to kill his brother. Everyone sails for Europe. Why? Sounds more interesting than it is.



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Author of the Day

Brian Blose
Brian Blose is a software developer and army veteran who enjoys reading and writing fiction that contains flawed heroes, unreliable narrators and moral dilemmas. His book, The Participants, is no exception and had readers glued to the story until the very last page. As our author of the day, Blose chats about the Heinsenberg uncertainty principle, how TV shows from the 90s inspired this book and gives us some behind-the-scenes insights in the creation of The Participants.
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