Right now, my problem is that I’m in the middle of Empire Falls by Richard Russo, a great book, but a slow read for me for some reason. Anyway, one day I forgot it, but had my Kindle with me  and had picked up Have Gun, Will Play by Camille LaGuire, so I started it, and I’m really getting a kick out of it, but want to finish Empire Falls first. The point is, the LaGuire book is about a couple of gun-slingers in the Old West, Mick and his young wife, Casey, great characters, so when I found “The Hoosegow Strangler” the first story featuring the couple, I had to read it.

At heart, it’s a locked room mystery. Mick and Casey had been hired to guard a witness, Albert Wilkins, who ends up dead. The only way into the room is through a locked door and the hallway and stairs are being guarded by Mick and Casey. They don’t know how he did it, but they are sure the murderer is Cherty Stevens, a bad man who is also in a locked room in the house next door, with a guarded stairwell. It’s winter and the snow on the ground outside of both windows is still fresh without a trace of footprints or markings. And Mick and Casey know that Wilkins had been alive when the snow stopped falling.

The solution to the mystery is not astounding, but clever enough and appropriate to the time period. The story shows how well Mick and Casey work together and how intelligent Casey is. Sadly, their personalities don’t shine through as well as the do in the book I’m reading, but at least we get a taste of them. I’m really starting to love this couple.

You can read the story on-line here for free, or it’s one of the stories in Waiter, There’s a Clue In My Soup!.

Mick and Casey Mystery
4,589 words
First published in Handheld Crime, Issue 36, Jul 2, 2003

3 out of 5 stars

John hosts Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set. Head over there to see what he and others have been reading.

I purchased my copy and the above is my honest opinion.