MYSTERY OF THE COWBOY SUMMIT
A Hollywood Cowboy Detectives Adventure
By Darryle Purcell
A Buckskins Edition
Okay, so right up front, we love this series by Arizona writer Darryle
Purcell. The concept is a fun one and the action revolves around Republic
Studios in the early 1940s. At that time they were pumping out B westerns super
fast. Folks like Tom Mix, Gene Autry, and Tim McCoy were the childhood heroes
of boys and girls across the country. Curly Woods is the studio’s flack, i.e.
marketing rep with the task of promoting these horse operas and their stars via
newsprint, radio and the popular newsreels. Curly’s boss is Rick Danby, an
Executive Producer at the studio while his brother, Nick Danby, works as a
chauffeur for the company. Curly and Nick are beer drinking buddies who regular
chum around with silent film cowboy Hoot Gibson. The three of them are the
principal protagonists in the series of which “The Mystery of the Cowboy Summit”
is the tenth.
In each new book, Purcell often features cameos by other
popular stars of the time. In this story, Federal Agents working for President
Franklin Roosevelt have come to recruit the trio to be his “goodwill”
ambassadors at a South American political summit to be held in Brazil. The
affair will be attended by dozens of foreign business men from the surrounding
countries and Roosevelt hopes to assure their allegiance should the war in Europe ultimately reach our shores. Knowing these cowboy
personalities are recognized and admired throughout South America, Roosevelt believes they are the perfect envoys to win
over these powerful financiers.
Tagging along this time is Buck Jones and Crash Corrigan. Of
course like all previous capers, once in the Amazon jungles of Brazil, en-route
to the fancy hacienda where the summit will be held, our guys soon learn there
are other aspects of their mission the G-Men failed to mention. They find a
field of giant corn inhabited by giant bugs, scorpions, worms and spiders. They
are told this is all due to a super growth chemical invented by one Dr. Anita
Lafond, a guest on the ranch. The idea is to supposedly perfect this potion and
sell it to American farmers; the giant insects are a by-product not yet
resolved. This is all well and good until they discover the ranch’s owners, Dom
Sebastian and his sister Maria, may be German agents in cahoots with opium
growing Arabs also in bed with Third Reich.
As ever it doesn’t take long for the action to ramp up and
pretty soon our Cowboy envoys are in the battle of their lives attempting to
stop thwart an insidious Nazis’ plan while at the same time having to rescue
the innocent diplomats caught in the crossfire. Purcell, as in all his previous
books, knows his history and depicts the characters with as much authenticity
as his wild tale will allow. Himself an Army veteran of Vietnam, he’s familiar
with weaponry and combat. He’s also proud patriot unashamed to cheer the old
red, white and blue.
The Hollywood Cowboy Detectives series is one of the finest in New Pulp today. “The Mystery of the Cowboy Summit” is an excellent addition to it and now we can’t wait for the next one.