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Western Illinois Emeritus Professor Publishes Fourth Mystery Novel

September 7, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - After a 22-year career at Western Illinois University teaching European history, Charles OÂ’Brien has fashioned a new career as a historical mystery novelist.

“Lethal Beauty,” the fourth 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 June by Severn House Publishers.

“Deftly drawn characters and a plot that will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing make this a good choice for historical mystery collections,” according to a review in Booklist (May 1, 2005).

Publishers Weekly (May 16, 2005) said, “…the protagonists remain as engaging as ever. As usual, O’Brien vividly conveys the great inequalities within French society under Bourbon rule.”

The first three books in the series are “Mute Witness” (2001), “Black Gold” (2002) and “Noble Blood” (2004). O’Brien is working on the fifth book in the series, “Fatal Carnival.”

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.

The OÂ’Briens reside in Williamstown, MA.

His website is

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