UNTITLED SYNOPSIS (Steve Harrison received a wire from Joan Wiltshaw.). Featuring Steve Harrison

In the untitled synopsis by Robert E. Howard, Steve Harrison, a determined detective, finds himself embroiled in a complex murder mystery set in the small town of Lost Knob. The story follows Harrison as he navigates a tangled web of feuds, deceit, and revenge, trying to clear the name of a man wrongly accused.

Summary of the synopsis

Steve Harrison receives an urgent request from Joan Wiltshaw to come to Lost Knob to help her husband, Brax Wiltshaw, who has been charged with the murder of John Richardson. The Richardsons, a prominent local family, suspect Brax due to an old family feud and the discovery of a knife with his fingerprints near the crime scene. Brax was found near the river, claimed to be searching for a stray cow but was suspected of fleeing.

Upon arrival, Harrison learns about the long-standing feud involving another family, the Barwells, who had left the area decades ago under a cloud of threats against both the Wiltshaw and Richardson families. He speaks with the Richardson siblings, who run the family business, and discovers internal conflicts, especially envy towards Esau Richardson, who inherited most of the family wealth.

The situation escalates when Harrison finds the jailer murdered and Brax Wiltshaw missing from his cell. That same night, Saul and Isabel Richardson are murdered, and an attack is made on Joan Wiltshaw, which Harrison thwarts.

Harrison deduces that someone orchestrated Brax’s escape to frame him for multiple murders. His investigation leads him to uncover that Dr. Dick Ellis is actually Joe Barwell, who returned to enact revenge on both families. Barwell had manipulated Esau Richardson into believing there was oil on the farm to fuel greed and conflict within the family.


  • Steve Harrison: The main protagonist, a detective brought in to solve the murder and unravel the conspiracy.
  • Joan Wiltshaw: Wife of Brax Wiltshaw, who calls Harrison for help; she’s central to revealing the urgency and depth of the feud’s impact.
  • Brax Wiltshaw: Joan’s husband, wrongfully imprisoned for murder, his escape from jail under dubious circumstances is key to the plot’s development.
  • John Richardson: The murder victim from a wealthy local family, his death sparks the story’s central conflict.
  • William, Saul, Esau, and Isabel Richardson: Siblings involved in running the family business and inheritances, their dynamics and secrets are crucial to the story.
  • Dr. Dick Ellis/Joe Barwell: The town doctor, revealed to be the vengeful Joe Barwell, whose long-planned revenge drives the plot’s climax.
  • The Jailer: A minor character whose murder complicates the mystery surrounding Brax Wiltshaw’s escape.

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