In this second installment, Maddie Wilcox gets drawn into trying to find out who really killed Marshal William Warren. Okay, I massaged the history a touch because it’s kind of hard to have a whodunit when you know whodunit.
The historical facts are these. Marshal William Warren was, more or less, L.A.’s first police chief. He was also the first officer to be killed in the line of duty. I kid you not, he was shot by his own deputy Joseph Dye in a fight over the bounty on a prostitute.
Even though in real life, Warren died of his wound from the gun battle, I did need a mystery. So in the book (it is fiction), Warren is actually killed by someone else. But I really worked hard to get all the facts straight surrounding the gun battle and the events of the next few days.
There are those who might question whether this is a legitimate approach to historical fiction. I believe it is, not that one should play fast and loose with the facts. Absolutely not. The trick, in this case, was to give a good reason why the historical record says one thing and you’re positing another. In this particular case, I suggested that there were some folks who wanted to believe what became the historical record.