, ,

11-9-2013 1;52;10 PMLuke Short was Frederick Dilley Glidden and was also the name of a gunslinger in the old west. It’s unclear whether he knew that when he chose the nmae for his first sale to the pulps in 1936. Like to think it was though.

CORONER CREEK was published in hardcover in 1946. My edition is the fourth printing of the second Bantam edition from December, 1967.

It took Chris Danning eighteen months to even get a hint of who was responsible. The stage had been held up by Indians off the reservation, a strong box full of cash taken, and everyone slaughtered but the young woman. She lived for two days before dying.

She’d been on her way to marry Chris Danning.

It took him further months to follow up on the information the Indian had given him until it led him to the town of Coroner Creek and a man named Younger Miles. Miles was the big dog in town and intent on getting bigger.

And it had all started a couple of years before. A man new in town with plenty of money that bought a ranch and a freight line.

Chris Danning was out to, first, ruin him, then kill him.

Miles was married to the sheriff’s daughter and had the old man in his pocket. The wife was a drunk that Miles wanted kept hidden.

Kate Hardison runs the hotel and looks after her crippled father. Chris and she don’t get along at first. He seems a bitter, hard man with little sympathy. Chris is single-minded to the point of rudeness in his pursuit of Miles.

Of course we know where that’s headed.

It was made into a film in 1948 starring Randolph Scott. The plot pretty much stuck to the book with a few changes. Two characters in the book didn’t make the film, changing the ending, and eliminating the twist Short had in that ending. I know why but will leave that for anyone wishing to read the book.

Excellent western.

For more forgotten books, drop in on PATTINASE on Fridays.

Coroner Creek (1948)_09