MISFIT LIL CHEATS THE HANGROPE is Black Horse Westerns’ first foray into the paperback market. I wish them well and was happy to do my little bit to help. It was also my first exposure to the character of Misfit Lil.
Miss Lillian Goodnight, daughter of a cattle rancher who owns the Flying G, apparently came by her nickname honestly. She’s not like most females in western stories. She wears buckskins, a gun(and knows how to use it), rides a horse like a man, and apparently gets into an adventure now and again.
Lil comes upon a stray wagon train on a little used trail led by a guide who looks less than competent. She warns them of a blizzard coming and what it will do if they don’t get out of the pass they’re headed toward. They ignore her of course and Lil ends up helping rescue the children with the help of Honesty Petrie, the wagon train master’s daughter, and Prudence Hannigan, daughter of the Reverend.
Later she recommends they hire Jackson Farraday to help guide them. Lil has set her cap for Farraday though the scout is twice her age. He will have none of it though.
Luke Reiner, the first scout, seems suspicious right from the start. He wants them to stop and supply at Buzzard City and Farraday will have none of it. Buzzard City is a dying town full of the wrong sorts of people.
For a short book, a lot is packed in. Honesty, already sort of promised to Reiner when they get to California(where he claims a large sum of money is waiting for him), takes a fancy to Farraday. Lil follows Prudence and her when they go to the river for their ablutions, only to discover that the pair are more than friends, a fact that doesn’t bother her.
When Reiner sneaks out of the camp, Farraday follows him, only to be attacked when he loses him in the dark. Lil misses him the next day and is alarmed when his horse wanders back to the train without him. Shes goes out looking and finds him bloodied and dazed.
Things are even worse when they get back. Honesty is missing and a search is launched, ending when they fine her nude body in the river. A doctor with the train determines she’d been smothered, murdered, and blame falls on Farraday, egged on by Reiner, because he was missing that morning.
Lil is left to save the day when Farraday is taken and a trial and hanging by the members of the train is planned. Reiner claimed to have gone into Buzzard City for a drink, so she heads there to find out.
Things only get worse from there before the true killer is revealed.
A pretty good little western that I read in one sitting. It was delivered yesterday and I got an email from the Book Depository as well letting me know that my preorder, Misfit Lil Robs The bank is on the way and should arrive in a few days.
I’m winning all around here.
I hope their experiment with paperbacks does well as I want more. There’s a backlog of Misfit Lil stories, not to mention a number of others that look good. Black Horse is starting to get more notice on this side of the Atlantic and I couldn’t be happier.