The classic Saturday Evening Post romantic mystery—for the first time ever in book form!
“[Kelland is] a writer of distinction.” —The Detroit News
“His mysteries are on the ball.” —Criminal Record
Before he began writing, Post editor Ben Hibbs warned Kelland, "don't have too many cockeyed characters."
"Whereupon," said Kelland, "I turned out seven installments about a good guy surrounded by cockeyed characters."
What happens when a Korean War vet recovering from serious injuries wins a ghost town in a contest, meets a hard-riding, gun-toting cowgirl, and is threatened by three dangerous people all in a few short days? Answer: Cockeyed characters, pixilated dialogue, zany romance and heart-stopping suspense. In short, everything Kelland fans love about Kelland novels. Based in part on real events—and set in a real ghost town that was actually given away (by The Saturday Evening Post) in a real contest, a place you can still visit today.
Waldo Emerson Whitelaw was pleasantly surprised when he won a supposedly worthless Arizona ghost town named Sidewinder Gulch in a "write a jingle" contest. He was less pleasantly surprised when the glowering Hugo Pung offered him six thousand dollars for the deed—and threatened his life if he refused. Was Sidewinder Gulch somehow more valuable than Whitelaw believed? So he took laconic, plain-spoken New Englanders Habakkuk Ware and his wife Melinna, who had raised him after his parents' death, and set off for Arizona.
When they arrived, Whitelaw met the rear end of a cow backing toward him in a clear state of hysteria, with ranchwoman Gwendolin Carver attached to a rope at its head. "You underfed, skinny-legged dude," she said to Whitelaw, "grab hold of this rope and help!" Everything he said and did after that only seemed to irritate her more. That night, self-styled land speculator Miles Winter and his seductive gal-friend, Mona Avery, showed up and made him an even bigger offer for the deed to Sidewinder Gulch. A few hours later a shot rang out.
Thus begins one of Clarence Budington Kelland's finest, and rarest, novels, previously published only as a seven-part serial in the legendary and bestselling magazine of its era, The Saturday Evening Post. Now in book form for the first time.
Reader bonus: How The Puzzle of Sidewinder Gulch came to be written; photos of the real Sidewinder Gulch, yesterday and today; sample chapters from three of Kelland's most famous mysteries: Miss Drugget Rides the Train, The Cardiff Giant Affair, and Murder and the Key Man.