ARIZONA [The Arizona Quartet, Book 1] by Clarence Budington Kelland

Kelland's most astonishing, touching, and personally revealing work—with a hard-headed heroine who conquers a state—filled with enough mystery, romance, and gunplay for ten average westerns, plus pie!

"Kelland has done a masterful job weaving fact and fiction together. An ambitious undertaking." —The Arizona Republic

The epic story of the first European settlements in Arizona, and the woman who led the way, as only Kelland could have told it.

"Kelland's Phoebe Titus stays true to her name (Phoebe was the moon titan in Greek mythology). This Phoebe is a titan in the early days of Tucson. Although she does slowly fall in love with Peter Muncie (there is always an element of romance in Kelland's books), she does not turn into a girlie-girl just to win his affections. In fact, he respects and loves her for her strength and stubbornness. There's a scene right about the middle of the novel where bandits break into Phoebe's ranch, tie her up, threaten her life and rob her life's savings of $15,000. I cringed, expecting this to be the chance for Peter Muncie to return and rescue his now damsel in distress girlfriend. But he doesn't! He arrives late. She has to survive on her own wits and strength. Does this robbery change her mind from being a rancher in lawless Tucson? No. She changes her tactics slightly but she continues pressing on to make a living in a city she loves. Phoebe manages to stay true to herself and still find love and start a family (because she wants to, not because she feels she has to). Once again Kelland has delighted me with a novel full of realistic and interesting characters." —5-star Goodreads review

Arizona is one of Clarence Budington Kelland's best and most important novels, replete with mystery, thrills, historical accuracy—and in the romance of the two lead characters a touching and charming portrait of the passionate, amusing, and completely offbeat relationship of his own mother, herself a hardheaded businesswoman, and father, an easy-going geek who worshiped her with all his heart.

"Arizona is an exciting and rapid action yarn of life around Tucson in the early days of that settlement. Quite against the rule for such tales Mr. Kelland makes a woman his central figure. She is a true Kelland heroine who combines comeliness and a strong, resourceful nature. When Phoebe Titus and her old father reach Arizona on their way to California they are held up there by the sickness of Mr. Titus and are practically without funds. Phoebe makes pies and sells them for a dollar per pie; when enough dollars have accumulated she branches out into freighting and mining on the side and proves herself to be one of the best men of the lot. Mr. Kelland has placed his central story against a background of Indian fighting, scouting, double dealing, and all the other accessories of Western life in the 1860s when the Civil War was adding to the general involvements and handsome Government officers were crossing the plains and so furnishing heroes for Western romances. Phoebe marries one of them but it is her career of business conquest rather than love which gives Arizona its briskly individual quality." —The Saturday Review of Literature

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland was author of nearly 100 novels of mystery and romantic suspense, had enough careers for several men: attorney, reporter, manufacturer of clothespins, director of a major newspaper group, and more. Kelland became best known as a fiction writer, penning some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Colliers, and Cosmopolitan. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar-winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. The New York Times described Kelland’s novels as “lively stories, designed to prick the jaded palate, that keep readers pleasantly entertained” and noted that “Kelland demonstrates the emotions of his lovers with a psychological penetration.” Kirkus Reviews called his novels “Bright and breezy, with plus appeal for murder-mystery addicts.” His magazine publishers kept besieging him for more novels because every time they serialized one of them (typically in 6-8 installments), circulation shot upward. Kelland obliged, and produced far more each year than his publisher (Harper and Row) could keep up with, leaving more than three dozen unpublished in book form when he died. His inimitable characters, trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories, according to Harper, “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland, as ever self-depreciating, simply described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans, old and new, would likely disagree. There was nothing second-rate about his work.