Friday, December 8, 2017

"In a Game Like the One I’m Playin’, Kid, Yuh Don’t Forget Things Like That, If Yuh Want to Live"

"Ranger Santa Claus."
By Johnston McCulley (1883-1958).
Genre: Western.
First appearance: Texas Rangers, December 1947.
Short story (12 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).

"Christmas finds Ranger Renbolt following the tricky trail of a tricky killer, in order to rescue young Harry Burley!"
If he's going to make it back to Gray Mesa in time for the Yuletide festivities, Jim Renbolt will have to collar or kill one of the orneriest varmints ever to plague those sleepy little towns that hug the Border . . .

Comment: The author makes the mistake of having his characters talk out their motivations too much; understatement would have been more effective.

Nice instance of personification: "A gun flamed and cracked, and two bullets sang and struck rocks and whined away in spiteful ricochet."

Typo: "Billy's voice" ["Bully's"].

- Just the other day we were talking about another of Johnston McCulley's saddle-sore Santas: "Merry Christmas, Ranger!" (HERE). You might remember that we noted how McCulley reused titles; in "Ranger Santa Claus" he also recycles a few plot elements,
as a comparative reading of the two stories will show.

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