"My Kinsman, Major Molineux" is one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's excellent short stories. Unlike most of his works, it is not allegorical but a highly intriguing combination of historical realism and the kind of hair-raising suspense that would not be common for well over a century. In this last, like most of Hawthorne's canon, it was extremely influential; the story works up suspense in a way any mystery writer would appreciate, delaying the climax so long it is near-painful. It is a tribute to Hawthorne's artistry that the revelation is not anti-climactic but an ironic masterstroke well worth the wait. The story can easily be enjoyed on this very simple level. However, as always with Hawthorne, there is more. Unlike his more famous works set in Puritan New England, this is set in America not long before the revolution. As such it is a vivid picture of that dark era showing the many tensions and conflicts then rampant. Anyone interested in Hawthorne will want this, but the fact that it is widely anthologized makes a standalone very hard to justify; the important thing at any rate is to read it in some form.