The Story So Far...

James A. Garfield has just been elected president of the United States. A dark horse candidate during the Republican primaries, Garfield’s victory has left a sizeable contingency of republicans disgruntled and eager to bring about his downfall. These men had hoped to see General Grant restored to the White House for another term. Instead, they are left to contend with a leader they fear does not share their vision for the country. Led by Senator Roscoe Conkling, this faction of “Stalwart” politicians has gathered at Riggs House, a hotel in Washington, to discuss their strategy to deal with Garfield. 

Their ally, Chester Arthur, is already Vice President and so most expect to control Garfield’s power by seeing like-minded associates appointed to the other cabinet positions and consulships. However, Roscoe Conkling suggests a far more daring plan. Remove Garfield all-together. 

Conkling introduces his friends to Archibald Richter, a representative from a discreet, but powerful organization experienced in handling “difficult problems.” As Richter outlines his superior’s aims, a plot to kidnap Garfield begins to take shape. Skeptical that such an endeavor will succeed, the senators demand proof that Richter’s friends can take care of Garfield without implicating any of them. Richter promises that the newspapers will herald evidence of his organizations capabilities within the next three weeks.

By April 1881, three weeks have passed. Glancing at the Times while she waits outside the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Chicago, Amanda Brown can’t miss the headline emblazoned across the front page: Kidnapping Ring Strikes Again...Girl Vanishes in daring mid-day abduction. Completely unaware this is the fulfillment of Mr. Richter’s vow, she turns the page to continue her anxious vigil for the handsome, Christopher Garrety. 

Hoping to leave behind her unhappy past and begin a new life as a Pinkerton agent, Amanda can’t help worrying Chris’ delay in summoning her for an interview with “The Eye” himself means she won’t be accepted into the Pinkerton Agency’s Female Detective’s Bureau.

Too anxious to read more, she abandons her paper and begins to pace. Worry over the disgrace she left behind in her home town and fears that she will never be good enough to be Chris’ partner threaten to overwhelm her until Chris finally returns. He assures her that Allan Pinkerton is eager to meet with her and that soon all their hopes of being together will come true. Encouraged by his faith and affection, Amanda follows Chris inside the agency.

A beehive of activity greets her along with an endless line of lovesick misses all gazing longingly at Chris as they pass. But, her jealously is short lived as Chris pulls her into Allan Pinkerton’s private office. Face to face with the famous detective, Amanda’s nerves fade away as the bewhiskered Scotsman reminisces about his greatest female agent, Kate Warne, and candidly warns her of the dangers she will have to accept as a member of his organization. 

Asserting her determination and sincerity to “make good”, Allan Pinkerton accepts her to their ranks with a generous welcome. Overjoyed, Amanda leaves the agency with Chris. Out on the street, her delight and his draws them into an intense moment of attraction until the hustle and bustle of their surroundings brings them back to their senses. 

Still smiling, Chris takes Amanda to the agency’s boarding house for female agents. Run by Mrs. Esther Davis, the house also serves as temporary residence for some of Amanda’s new colleagues. The oldest, Amy McCullogh; the prettiest, Marion Green; and the smartest, Penny Newlan. 

Letting Amanda settle into her new home, Chris leaves with a promise to call for her that evening and take her out for a celebratory supper. However, before he can return, Marion gives Amanda cause to doubt the sincerity of Chris’ affection for her since, “there isn’t a woman at the agency who doesn’t owe her calling to Mr. Garrety’s considerable charms.”

Determined to find out the truth for herself, Amanda keeps her date with Chris and leaves the boarding house on his arm without uttering a word of complaint. But once they reach the street, she confronts Chris outright about his flirtations with other female agents.

He admits he’s had affairs with other women, including Marion, and insists that’s all in the past. After reassuring Amanda she’s the only one he wants, he takes her to his favorite restaurant in Chicago, where most Pinkertons like to eat when they are in town. 

HELEN’s is a charming little cafe on Jefferson street run by Helen Mills. A motherly sort with concern for all her faithful customers, Helen greets Amanda warmly. But before she can serve Chris and Amanda Chris is delayed by his old partner Eric Masterson.

Hoping to enlist Amanda's help in his current case, Eric tells them he's looking for a mole among the other detectives at the agency. Amanda agrees to help him but Chris doesn't like the idea. Taking Eric aside, he expresses his concerns and finds out Eric only wants to use Amanda to help discredit the Women's Bureau. His confession results in a brawl that causes Helen Mills to eject Eric from her restaurant.
The next day Amanda is admonished by an older female agent who witnessed the entire spectacle at Helen's the night before. Amanda vents her frustrations and then goes downstairs where she finds Penny Newlan who tells her a thing or two about the "Pinkerton Rule Book" and their fellow agent, Marion Green, which makes Amanda think she discovered the key to Eric Masteron's problem.
Supposing that Marion is the mole Eric is looking for, she goes to find him the next day and shares her suspicions. Though he dismisses her accusations as unfounded and coincidental, Eric happily takes Marion's name to use in his accusations whether she is guilty or not.
That night Chris tells Amanda he's changed his mind about helping Eric but only if they work together because he suspects Eric of using underhanded tactics to get the agency to disband it's Women's Bureau. Panicked, Amanda confesses that she's already spoken with Eric and accused Marion.
After some investigation, Chris finds a telegram explaining Marion's sudden departure was due to medical reasons and nothing treasonous. He and Amanda take their findings directly to Mr. Pinkerton who has Eric fired and Amanda subsuqently assigned to the records office to reflect on her hasty judgement.
Meanwhile, Senator Conkling and his cronies have gathered together in Washington once more to decide what to do about President Garfield. The arrival of a mysterious lady at their meeting instantly sways the decision of the group but...  

Just what is it they are planning to do? Find out in the next installment of A Pink Lady...

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