The Daedâlus Conspiracy: Part I – The Grove by Edward Cline

Cyrus Skeen, private detective in 1929 San Francisco, is asked by Charles Gilchrest, chairman of The Daedàlus Society, an exclusive men-only club, to go to the The Daedàlus Grove, a private enclave north of the city, to determine the nature of some trouble he has been warned about in a cryptic note written by an anonymous member. The note alludes to a controversial Senator from Nebraska and a tariff bill in Congress. It may or may not be a serious threat to the man’s life. It may well foretell a fraternity-like prank, or something more serious. Skeen agrees to attend the two-week encampment of the Society in rustic Monte Rio, an annual event in the redwood forest with a reputation for Dionysian orgies and behind-the-scenes conspiracies to govern the nation.

Posing as a writer, at first Skeen feels out of his natural element of the city, but he soon begins to focus on certain individuals and their peculiar behavior, and begins to collect clues. He eventually grasps that there is indeed a serious plot afoot, but its purpose eludes him. His presence arouses the enmity of many of the eight hundred attendees of the encampment. At the end he confronts a man in a Minotaur costume wielding a Minoan battle ax. Part II – The City, will conclude The Daedàlus Conspiracy, when Skeen returns to San Francisco and continues his investigation.

A reader comment on Amazon:
The Daedâlus Conspiracy, Part I – The Grove, is the third entry in the excellent Cyrus Skeen detective series. My comments here also apply to the first two books in the series: China Basin and The Head of Athena. Do not miss them. Mr. Cline opens the series with a remark from the historian Paul Johnson: “…the Nineteen-Twenties was the last decade in which America was what it was meant to be: free, secure, ambitious, uninhibited, confident, extravagant, forward-looking, unthreatened, literate, benevolent, and a paradise of individualism.” And it’s into the richly atmospheric San Francisco of 1927 he places his fascinating detective, Cyrus Skeen. How could you not want to follow along?

The author cares not a fig for anti-heroes. He gives us the real deal: a strong, intelligent, straight-talking, and highly competent hero. Bravo. The stories all weave complex mysteries for Skeen to solve, and along the way, Mr. Cline treats the reader to a wonderful tour of artistic, philosophic and literary references that are a highly enjoyable education in themselves. The Daedâlus Conspiracy, Part I, takes Skeen out of his San Francisco environs and into redwood country. It’s interesting to see how Skeen deals with an environment that is not his preferred one. The mystery begins as a miniscule one, and builds beautifully. I’ve just finished Part I, and I wish Mr. Cline all good speed in publishing Part II. Sometime next week would be most satisfactory.

Edward Cline’s (1946 -) first detective novel, First Prize, was published in 1988 by Mysterious Press/Warner Books, and his first suspense novel, Whisper the Guns, was published in 1992 by The Atlantean Press. First Prize was republished in 2009 by Perfect Crime. Perfect Crime has since published two more in that series, Presence of Mind and Honors Due. The Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period has garnered some critical acclaim (but not yet from the literary establishment) and universal appreciation from the reading public, including parents, teachers, students, scholars, and adult readers who believe that American history has been abandoned or is misrepresented by a government-dominated educational establishment.

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