Joshua Dillard, ex-Pinkerton, agrees to help Big Jack Greatheart, a famous lawman dying from a wasting disease. his daughter, Emily, has disappeared. Her fiance had been killed and she’d gone to console the mother, a widow herself, and disappeared on the way back. The buggy she’d rented to get to the ranch returned empty to the stable, only the young woman’s jacket, bloodied, aboard.
Joshua sets out to find out what he could. The town marshal had given up the hunt, declaring her probably dead.
Our ex-Pinkerton rides into a mess. A doctor uncooperative, the mother of the deceased decidedly odd, and being warned off by the Waller family and their gunslicks. The boy, Vincent, had a bad reputation with women anyway and seemed the most likely suspect in Emily’s disappearance.
Author Chap O’Keefe keeps the action going as he unfolds his story and a few surprises.
In an afterword to the book, O’Keefe discusses the affinity between westerns ans mystery stories. He talks about various writers who wrote both and often mixed the genres. Frank Gruber, a favorite of mine as well, gets a good share, but he delves into others and British writers who wrote both. George. G. Gilman(Terry Harhnett) and his Edge books get a mention(another long time favorite).
Highly recommended and available HERE..