On Illumination Book Chapters

Biography of Tom Hanratty

I’m a scribbler. I make stuff up, and write about it. That’s what I do.

Somewhere, about 200 years ago, a shirt-tail relative of mine sat in a candle-lit garret scratching with his quill on foolscap. I suspect he made a coin or two penning spurious letters of recommendation for chambermaids, stable hands, and the like, or pleading missives or poetry for lovelorn dandies without the wit to write their own.

That started the whole ball rolling downhill to come to rest at my feet. Author of two novels, a spate of short stories, and a…


A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 57

Goodfoote resolves a nagging feeling of unease

After Meghan returned to Chicago with William Pinkerton, Jubal T. Bedford planned to follow her and work out of the Home Office. Between bouts of trying to catch up with mountains of paperwork, I spent a few days ensconced in long meetings with William Darrigan and Seth Mahoney discussing the ins and outs of this wicked affair.

But something about this case still bothered me. The murders had been solved, the gold smuggling stopped, and the culprits, the worst of them, dealt with. As I expected, the cases against the remaining crooked tycoons…


Cover by Kristi Ryder of Kryderdesigns.com for the author

A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 54

Kaya dons another disguise for her trip home

Jubal T. put his feet up on a leather ottoman while we relaxed in Gina Vitti’s parlor. “You heading down to the border is some precarious journey. If they catch you with that Apache gal, they’ll hang you both, Pinkerton badge or no.” He winched slightly. His wounded arm was still stiff, but he no longer used the sling.

I put a match to my pipe. “Kaya came a thousand miles to save my bacon. Taking her home safely is small payment.”

“Been meaning to ask you, Charles. Kaya doesn’t sound like…


A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 53

The twists and turns of the case are explained to William Pinkerton

Two weeks later, William Pinkerton, the big man himself, settled into his chair at the head of the table in The Hunt Club’s private dining chamber. The elegant hall, where Jeremiah Pottle and I had met weeks earlier, was as opulent as any I had encountered in Boston. It had been reserved by the Agency for this private gathering. After we ordered from the Club’s “premiere” menu, Pinkerton called us to attention by chiming his folk on his crystal waterglass.

“This case, from beginning to end, has been…


Artist Fan Zeng (b. 1938) on Unsplash

Ping learns the difference between Truth and Reality

Master Bao rode his great ox, Xi, along a road leading to the market town of Mai Hui in the province of Huainan. His student, Ping, walked alongside.

“Master, I have heard Mai Hui is a wealthy town on a great canal. Will we be staying at an inn there?”

“Yes, Ping,” Master Bao replied, “We will stop at the Inn of Quiet Repose” that has a restaurant well-known for its fine Jasmine rice and roasted vegetables. Tomorrow, we will move on to the Monastery where we will meet with some of the Immortals.”

“Oh Master, how can I, an…


A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in San Francisco

Chapter 52

Goodfoote confronts the Collective and is aided by the ladies of the Mission House and Kaya.

“Mr. Darrigan, Sir. Lookee what I found, creeping into your library window just like a thieving Injun’. It’s a good thing I was watching the storm coming or God knows what this savage would have done.”

Stanley Walker and William Darrigan stopped talking and turned toward us. Two other men dressed in expensive suits looked at me with raised eyebrows. They would be other members of the Collective. Lo Ping sat alone on a settee, a cup and saucer in hand. …


Cover by Kristi Ryder of Kryderdesigns.com for the author

A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 51

Goodfoote fights for his life, and is captured by Bullump

Darrigan’s Crag lay on a wind-blown slab of rock that jutted over the Pacific Ocean. In the best of times it gave a majestic view of the sea, high above the pounding surf that crashed onto granite boulders that looked as if a giant had spilled a handful of gray marbles into the ocean. Tonight, prevailing westerly winds brought towering black clouds over the ocean, alive with spider lightning and low rumbles of thunder. The starlight we had been using for guidance was fast disappearing, and darkness rapidly enveloped the…


Cover by Kristi Ryder of Kryderdesigns.com for the author

A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 42

Goodfoote returns to his Blackfoot roots

For some time now, I had gathered clues, much like sticks for a campfire. I now had all the wood necessary, but my campfire was without structure. It was time to put my twigs of information together to ignite the fire that would bring light to the dark shadows of this complex case. To do this, I knew I had to set my mind free to wander, see the patterns, reveal what I knew was hidden in the maze inside my mind. And for that, I needed wild places, such as they were, near…


A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 38

John Fong and Charles exchange intelligence

It was afternoon when I stepped from my cab on Dupont Street in Chinatown. The street teemed with people, mostly men, going about their business.

I had decided to let John Fong find me, kind of like the mountain going to a Mohammad- on-the-move. Even though familiar with John’s vast clandestine system of agents, I was surprised when I heard my name after walking only a few feet. Wang the Soothsayer was sitting at a table in front of a teashop and, as I passed, I heard a quiet “Charles”. I stopped…


Cover by Kristi Ryder of Kryderdesigns. com for the author

A Charles Goodfoote Mystery in Old San Francisco

Chapter 34

A dastardly plot against the Catholic Mission House

It was nearly noon the next day when I called at the Mission House to invite Emily O’Rourke to Walker’s Party. But I caught her coming out the front door so offered her my coach. She insisted I accompany her.

“City Hall, please,” Miss O’Rourke told the driver. “I have an appointment with Mayor Haversack, Mr. Goodfoote,” she continued as she took my hand and stepped up into the coach.

“Is he soliciting the Mission House vote?” I asked as I took my seat opposite her.

Emily frowned. “No. It’s…

Tom Hanratty

Scribbler of stories, lover of mysteries, retired Forensic Investigator and Tracker of critters. www.thomashanratty.com

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