I reckon Caroline Lawrence’s second Western Mystery may well be better even than her first P K Pinkerton case. I enjoyed myself tremendously from the start. It could simply be that I like returning to something I know, but it could also be that now Caroline has warmed up, there will be no stopping her murderous path through Virginia City.
The Case of the Good-Looking Corpse begins mere hours after the first case for Pinky ended, leaving at least the reader out of breath, and I suspect poor P K as well. Because getting out of that first very tight corner, has not prevented him/her from getting into another equally tight place. And as before, our private eye is writing down everything that has happened, in order to convince the law that the detective isn’t the bad guy.
Someone else is. And it turns out P K’s new hobby will help narrow down the suspects. And this time Pinky has friends to help, although Sam Clemens (aka the future Mark Twain) isn’t always as helpful as you’d want him to be. There is also the constant danger of Pinky getting kissed.
A former Soiled Dove has been murdered and her servant girl wants the killer found before he finds her as well. She gives Pinky a description of the murderer, but Virginia City appears to be full of men looking just like that. It takes all P K’s skills at reading people’s behaviour (mainly their feet) to work out who did it.
P K’s Thorn (Asperger Syndrome) keeps getting in the way, but as with many great detectives it will ultimately be of help to him/her. (I know I keep writing him/her. I feel we are getting much closer to knowing whether or not P K is a boy or a girl.)
I love the Western feel to these stories! And I love the fact that 45 years after I saw myself as a Western character, I now have a child character in the Wild West to read about. (I always fancied being an Indian, too.)
Besides, who wouldn’t want to live on their own and decide where and when to eat breakfast, even when you’re just twelve? Especially when you are twelve, I meant.