VALLEY OF THE SUN [The Arizona Quartet, Book 2] by Clarence Budington Kelland

A rip-rousing western, not only authentic but stirringly effective." —Des Moines Tribune

The book that inspired the classic RKO Pictures western with Lucille Ball, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Dean Jagger—based on a true story.

In the aftermath of the brutal Civil War, Gamaliel Ware, newly discharged from the Northern Army, who had been reared among the cramped farms and highly-structured society of New England, rode into the blazing inferno of deserts and mountains that was the mining country of Arizona's Salt Valley. Gamaliel was consumed by an unquenchable hunger for land of his own, and the freedom land represented. Wandering the valley's vastness he discovered tens of thousands of acres of parched, desolate land that, to his trained eye, needed but water to become fertile and abundant. Then, inscribed in the valley's floor he discovered a tracery of ancient canals or acequias, dug with what tools he did not know, by a great people who had flourished and vanished centuries ago. It required only that he and others who shared his dream dig new canals to produce a future where a prosperous and happy civilization arose from the ashes of a civilization long dead—like a Phoenix!

Folks said of Gamaliel that he loved land the way other men loved women. Then he met Christine, the strong, resolute daughter of a local farmer, and bargained for her. Gamaliel told Christine he would give her everything he owned if she would become his wife. But a cold, reserved New Englander like Gamaliel couldn't tell her the one thing she wanted to hear—those three words were locked in his heart. It was only when he lost her forever that the words pent deep inside broke loose and flooded his being—for of what use are words to a dead woman?

And in loving Christine he made his bitterest enemy, Aaron Cottrell, a man who chose to obtain everything he wanted by murder instead of work—and preferred to shoot a man in the back rather than meet him face to face. Cottrell was determined to loot Arizona, not to help build it—and committed the most sinister deeds in its history. And at the end was determined to murder Gamaliel Ware—even at the price of his own life!

"Against a background of the old Southwest, Kelland has written a tender and powerful love story of a struggle between a young man and a young woman—a tender and powerful love story whose continuing drive has seldom been equaled. But in addition, Kelland has given is a new and vivid chapter in the great story of young America." —Abilene Reporter-News

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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.