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Western Illinois Emeritus Professor Publishes Third Mystery Novel

January 10, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - After a 22-year career at Western Illinois University teaching European history, Charles OÂ’Brien honed a new craft and has put his expertise to work in an acclaimed series of historical mystery novels.

“Noble Blood,” the third in the series featuring Anne Cartier and Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin set in England and France in the years leading to the French Revolution, was released in November 2004 by Severn House Publishers.

Publishers Weekly (Oct. 11, 2004) starred review read: “Credible and memorable characters, an exciting time in French history and a puzzle that will challenge even the most astute mystery aficionado add up to first-class entertainment. A cast list, maps of the major locations and an author's note on the historical background round out a book sure to have wide appeal.”

The first two books in the series are “Mute Witness” (2001), which received a Publishers Weekly starred review, and “Black Gold” (2002). A fourth book, “Lethal Beauty,” is scheduled for release in Spring 2005.

O'Brien's transition to mystery writing began in 1988, six years before he retired from WIU, during his commuting from west-central Illinois to Williamstown, MA where his wife Elvy, an art historian, had moved to accept a position with the J. Paul Getty Trust, then at the Clark Art Institute.

"I wanted to make use of time on board (trains and planes) and in airports. Many of my fellow passengers were reading crime novels. I thought why not exploit my fund of historical settings and write a historical mystery," O'Brien explained.

OÂ’Brien resides in Williamstown, MA and continues to teach courses though WesternÂ’s School of Extended Studies. His website is

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