Mute Witness and Black Gold

by Charles O’Brien ’51, ’52M.A., Poisoned Pen


After retiring from teaching history at Western Illinois University, O’Brien turned his attention to fiction. His first effort garnered a nomination for an Agatha Award for best first mystery novel, a coveted award for writers of traditional mysteries. Both Mute Witness and Black Gold, whose settings move between France and England, take place in the late 1700s, the years leading to the French Revolution.

Reviewers have noted that the books, the first two of a planned trilogy, offer a delightful combination of crime novel, history lesson and social critique.