Horror on the Ruby X

St. Swithin Press
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“The glamor of a luxury ranch house, a bejewelled and gifted Indian, a poisonous lady of the manor, two sons, worshipful and mysterious, a Puritanical spinster, an alluring secretary, and a succession of violent deaths and threats of death. Jeanie (naturally) accumulates evidence and trouble.”—Kirkus

Pat and Jean Abbott find it impossible to obtain information from the people at the ranch; their host’s vengeful mother, Georgina Mackenzie, resents intrusion into the lives of her eccentric protégés. It soon becomes clear to the Abbotts that Mrs. Mackenzie’s handsome Navajo chauffeur and bodyguard actively resents their presence at the Ruby X.

As they drive away in low gear, Pat attempts to negotiate the treacherous hill from the ranch to the Rio Grande. The gorge below seems like a gruesome black gash. Then, without warning, their car plummets madly toward the river’s brink, crashing to a dizzy, roaring halt.

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St. Swithin Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1956
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Fiction / Crime
Fiction / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
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Frances Crane
Frances Crane

“The Hollywood-cum-Santa Fe artists, both screwy and sensible, in
the desert are all neatly caught in the lively style given to Mrs. Pat to
narrate. Grade: A”—The Saturday Review

“Plenty of excitement.”—Kirkus

From the jacket: “Time was,” said the sheriff of Santa Maria, “when
murder was murder in this country. ... But now we got artists and writers and
therefore psychology. It's enough to ruin the country.”

It was lucky for Sheriff Trask that Pat Abbott and his lively wife,
Jeanie, were vacationing in the little New Mexican artists’ colony the day a psychotic
war veteran and a gangster's widow arrived on the Plaza. By an unlikely
coincidence they were the former spouses of friends of the Abbotts who had just
announced their engagement. Gilbert Mason, a Hollywood writer with a penchant
for seeing the worst, pointed out to Jeanie that it looked as if there would be
no marriage, for the widow packed a gun.

The first day of tension exploded into murder and kidnapping, both
crimes committed almost simultaneously, as if they had been masterminded to
confuse pursuit. Immediately everyone began to act out of character. Competent
Vanessa Wells, a writer who had lived alone and liked it for years, turned
nervous and absent-minded. Gilbert Mason, a confirmed gossip, acted as if he
knew more than he told. The gangster's widow and her apelike retainer became
good Samaritans. And the handsome war veteran, who'd always looked after
himself, began to plot his own downfall.

Through the exciting adventure Mrs. Crane conveys the many aspects
of the New Mexican landscape, using the charm of Spanish-Indian culture, the
backbiting of bohemia, and the terrifying, cruel loneliness of the desert to
enhance the suspense.

Frances Crane
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