In a classic western adventure, Mary Hamilton finds herself torn between two very different men, Lew Carney and Jack Doyle.
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Like the four Brand tales in The Black Rider and Other Stories (which features an identical foreword and is reviewed above), the four short novels in this anthology are now appearing outside of pulp publication for the first time. Brand's stories are theme-driven; these four are all mysteries, each offering just the right balance of tension, suspense and believability. "The Ghost Wagon" (1921) is a haunting tale of murder, deception and conspiracy that sets gambler and gunman Lew Carney on a chilling and dangerous quest for truth. A horse racing story, "A Matter of Honor" (also 1921), reveals that pride and honor have many different meanings for a generous but unlucky cowboy. "Rodeo Ranch" (1923), a short novel of murder and redemption, presents some intriguing plotting as a wealthy and fearful landowner hires a gunslinger as a bodyguard, with unexpected results. "Slip Liddell" (1938), meanwhile, is a taut story of friendship and courage that sees the eponymous gambler take on danger, scorn and humiliation in order to clear the name of a friend. Brand's stories are enchanting for their simplicity, truth and relevance; perhaps that is why they have endured for more than half a century.
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