When mine-owner Earl Triplett is gunned down on the main street of a Pennsylvania coal town in 1875, the natural suspects are the Molly Maguires--who've been killing anyone with the slightest anti-union connection. But Triplett was a model, labor-sensitive mine-owner, so bewildered Mrs. Triplett hires Pinkerton-trained Seth Warriner to investigate. And, despite highly violent harassment by the Mollies (who don't believe that Ned or his young operative Ray Quinlan are out to clear them of suspicion), the real motivation for the murder is soon dug up: Triplett's shameful Civil War record--cowardly retreats and scapegoated comrades. . . . Nellen works hard at filling in the historical atmosphere--the mine, the union, cockfights and moonshine--and achieves a few moments of character charm. But the solution here is basically given away almost immediately, and every point is sorely belabored; so this remains a serviceable plot idea (it would have made a fine short story) that's fatally overextended--submerged in clumsily paced revelations and interminable talk.