SHERLOCK OF THE SAGELAND
The first four stories featuring Henry Harrison Conroy, vaudeville comedian turned sheriff. Set in the early 20th Century, these tales were published in Argosy Magazine beginning in 1935. They are hilarious.
In the first tale, Henry (aging, fat and balding) is no longer getting as many theater bookings. But his luck seems to turn when he inherits a ranch in Arizona from an uncle he had never met.
Henry knows nothing about ranching, but what has he to lose? He travels to Tonto City, AR and is soon embroiled in a murder case. Henry is drunk more often than sober, unable to ride a horse and unable to even come close to a target when he tries to shoot a gun. But he has two things going for him--he has a sense of right and wrong buried in him somewhere and he has a talent for Sherlock Holmesian-level deductions. By the end of the first story, he's solved the murder. At the beginning of the second story, he's been elected sheriff of Tonto County.
The stories work on two levels. First, as I said, they are hilariously funny. Both Henry and the supporting cast provide slapstick humor and witty dialogue. Second, the mysteries that Henry must solve are solid--even while leavening the stories with absurdist humor, the author builds strong plots and brings them to satisfying conclusions.
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