Book: The Sheriff and Branding Iron Murders (The Sheriff Charles Matthews Mysteries) by D.R. Meredithcategories: Book, Texas Panhandle, Cattle Ranches, El Llondo Estacado, Humorous Mystery, Regional Mystery, Sheriff Charles Matthews, Texas County Sheriffs, Cattle Rustling, Texas Rangers, Texas Mystery
D.R. Meredithabout this book: My original goal in writing the Sheriff Charles Matthews Series was to explain and describe a little-known part of the country: the Texas Panhandle, called the High Plains or El Llando Estacado by those interested in a more technical description. Larger than several eastern states, the El Llando Estacado portion of the Panhandle covers some 50,000 square miles. It is a land of myth and legend and mirages, where in the words of an early Spanish explorer, one may be lonely without feeling despair. In the 1980s, when all past and future Sheriff Charles Matthews books are set, the population of the northern most portion of El Llando Estacado, from Plainview, Texas, to the Oklahoma border north and east, and the New Mexico border to the west, was less than a half-million stubborn, eccentric, independent, generous at heart, frank-speaking souls. Livestock, including chickens, pigs, goats, horses, and cattle, outnumbered the human population by perhaps a factor of three. Its economy depends on agriculture, mainly wheat, oil and gas, and cattle. It is of cattle that I write, more specifically, cattle ranching, in THE SHERIFF AND THE BRANDING IRON RANCH. In doing so I encompass both an aspect of the economy, a description of that lonely region, and incorporate a Panhandle legion or two. Sadly, the legend of the golden crucifix is imaginary, but like many legends made up out of whole cloth, if it isn't true, it ought to be.
Sheriff Charles Matthews of Crawford County, Texas, is really a city boy. He and horses and wide open spaces are not naturally compatible, so when cowboy Willie Russell is brutally murdered on the Branding Iron Ranch, Charles finds himself at a disadvantage. With little knowledge of cattle ranching, horseback riding, and tally books, Charles feels helpless and hopeless. But what the Sheriff does know is that cowboy artist Willie Russell found a long-lost treasure and was murdered for it. Willie left behind a series of sketches illustrating the history of the treasure, its loss, and the people involved--only Willie used real people from the Branding Iron Ranch as models. What was Willie trying to say about the connection between past and present and the Branding Iron?
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