Someone is killing Abagail Farnsworth's expensive Scottish terriers. The elderly lady is angry and distraught, and hires a struggling private detective, who quickly takes the case when a large sum of money is offered. Desperate to keep his detective agency afloat, Alexander Moses reluctantly begins his investigation, considered childlike and comedic by his former police partner. His first efforts prove fruitless and somewhat futile and discouraging, but as the case develops, it becomes apparent that something sinister is involved; sibling rivalry abounds between his client and her sister, and some of the staff have cloudy backgrounds. Then, a secret from the past threatens the Farnsworth name and fortune, even murder, and Moses is the only on who can prevent it.
The author's two previous books, The Oblong Dots and The Zero Mass Machine, were technological thrillers. His third book, The Farnsworth Murders, departs from the technical genre and puts the reader in the middle of a confidence game and murder. The setting is a small town in Ohio, and the story is presented in a charming almost-noir style, complete with a huge mansion, a butlers, a cook, and a gardener. J. R. Murphy is a retired electrical engineer who finds time to read, write, and ride bicycles. He lives with his wife in Morgantown, WV.