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Miller, "The Assassination of Governor Boggs" (reviewed by Roy Schmidt) Options · View
Posted: Friday, August 26, 2011 11:17:11 AM

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Title: The Assassination of Governor Boggs
Author: Rod Miller
Publisher: Bonneville Books, Springville, Utah
Genre: Historical fiction
Year Published: 2011
Number of pages: 213
Binding: paperback
ISBN10: n/a
ISBN13: 978-1-59955-863-9
Price: $14.99

Reviewed by Roy Schmidt for the Association for Mormon Letters

My taste in fiction tends to the detective and Western genres. When I came upon Rod Miller's, “The Assassination of Governor Boggs,” I was curious and somewhat intrigued. I'm glad I decided to read it.

Calvin Pogue, a Union Army veteran with a crippled leg, is employed by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. When William Boggs, son of the late former Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, hires the Pinkertons to investigate the attempted assassination of his father, Pogue receives the assignment. The younger Boggs understands the statute of limitations for this crime ran out long ago, he feels compelled to find out with certainty who tried to kill his dad. Obviously, the prime suspect is none other than Orrin Porter Rockwell, who was accused of the crime at the time.

Pogue begins his investigation by interviewing Bill Boggs in California. He then sets out to visit sites pertinent to the case, and to talk to anyone he can find who could possibly shed light on the event. His travels take him to Sam Brannan in San Francisco, Emma Smith Bidamon in Nauvoo, Sheriff John H. Reynolds in Independence, Alexander Doniphan in Richmond (Mo.), and, finally, “Wild Bill” Hickman, Brigham Young, and Rockwell himself in Salt Lake City. These, and others, add color and interest to the story. Pogue's conclusions from his investigation may surprise the reader, but maybe not.

The author has done his homework, and has captured the feeling of the times and places involved. He fully involves the reader. I like the way author Miller supplements Pogue's tale with narrative comments “from” Porter Rockwell. There is an interesting understory involving Pogue and his young daughter, Emily Elizabeth. I was touched by their relationship, and felt for Pogue as he longs to be reunited with his child.

One thing I found odd was a list of “Discussion Questions” found at the end of the book. I had never encountered this in a work of fiction before, and am not sure I found this addition useful. I suppose the questions could help if a book group chooses to read the work.

I really enjoyed this book, and read it in just two sittings. Rod Miller has published several other works of fiction and nonfiction. I look forward to reading them.

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