Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Seventh Bullet!

The Seventh Bullet by Daniel D. Victor puts the great Sherlock Holmes and his able assistant and biographer Dr. John Watson in America, prowling the dubious streets of New York City and Washington D.C.  in the early years of the last century.

The duo are investigating the real world murder of David Graham Phillips, the original "muckraker" journalist of the time who had written some exceedingly scathing exposes of corruption in Congress and who was no little responsible for the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which allowed for the direct election of Senators by the populace.

The Treason of the Senate is the work around which the "mystery" revolves. I use the quotes to indicate a weakness of this tome, the lack of a proper enigma. We get a lot of fascinating material on Phillips and his mileau and meet many of the politicos of the time, but frankly the crime's solution seems a bit too easily uncovered. There are only a few "Sherlock" moments in this one, not enough for a full novel.

I did nonetheless enjoy the book for making vivid a debate which is of great moment in the modern day, the rank corruption of elected leaders, especially at the national level. The infusion of money into the political process was somewhat abated for many decades but in recent years has become a deluge which has removed the veneer even of honesty from many of our elected leaders. They line up proudly to take vast sums which we are told over and over again are "necessary" to run for office. The corrupting influence is all too apparent.

I've even heard talk in some corners that repealing the 17th Amendment might be a good thing in this modern world of ours where folks are considered too busy to actually govern themselves. Bullshit! This novel reminded me, or perhaps illuminated what I already knew, that the drive to maintain an honest and effective government which serves the needs of all its people is a struggle which will never ever end.

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