Gunfight at Grace Gulch
by Darlene Franklin
Gunfight at Grace Gulch
(Christian Cozy Mystery)
(A Dressed For Death Mystery Book 1)
Forget Me Not Romances
A Division of Winged Publications (February 28, 2015)
Paperback: 216 pages
The feud between the Graces and the Gaynors is still going strong more than a century after its inception in the 1891 Oklahoma land run. Newspaper editor Penn Hardy is murdered during the reenactment of the most famous gunfight in the history of Grace Gulch, Oklahoma. Cici Wilde, owner of a vintage clothing store, feels compelled to investigate when police suspect people close to her. She soon discovers her talent for sleuthing equals her flare for wearing period clothing. Theater director Audie Howe never expected the reenactment to end in a real murder. He cares too much for the future of the Magda Grace Mallory Theater – and the charming Cici Wilde – to let her face danger alone. Cici and Audie take a dangerous gamble to nail the killer – and lay their lives on the line.
Most people that live in Grace Gulch, Oklahoma, are either a Grace or a Gaynor, or are related to one of the families, or side with only one of the families. The Grace/Gaylord Feud dates back to the late 1800’s as two men fought over the same piece of land. There are 2 churches and 2 newspapers in town still today.
During the Land Rush Days celebration one of the newspaper editors is killed during a reenactment of the Grace/Gaylord gunfight. Vintage clothing store owner, Cici Wilde, along with everyone else watched it happen but no one saw who fired the shot. She find herself in the middle of the investigation when the police start questioning people close to her as suspects.
What I truly liked about this story was that we were treated to letters from Robert Grace to his fiancee, Mary, while trying secure land west to homestead. We hear his words as the town of Grace Gulch today reenacts his story today. History passed down from generation to generation is not always that accurate and each side tends to have their own version of the story.
We meet like Cici Wilde and Audie Howe, theater director at Magda Grace Mallory Theater, as they find themselves quite drawn to each other, much to Cord Grace’s dismay. He and Cici have been friends for a long time but he wishes they were closer. Cici thinks she wants to keep him as her friend and treads lightly to not ruin the relationship they do have. Truthfully either man seems to be a great catch. I don’t envy having to decide between the two.
As far as the shooting, there are quite a few people that could have pulled the trigger. Everyone is hoping it is tourist and not someone they know.
Darlene Franklin takes us to a quaint small town and introduces us to some wonderful characters that are very strong in their faith. She mixes romance and mystery together in a most enjoyable way. Cici’s family dynamic was very interesting. I would love to shop at her store. As someone that loves to sew and create Cici’s talents were delightful. The Christian tone is very balanced and natural. The mystery was so well written. The pace was pleasant and I was surprised at fast I read this book.
I hope we get to visit Grace Gulch again soon.
OKLAHOMA LAND RUNS
Once you’ve seen it, you can’t forget it. Thousands of people lined up, held at bay by marshals and guns. People on horseback, on foot, on bicycles, in wagons. All ready for the moment the guns are fired and the thousands of hopefuls rush to find the hundreds of plots. Only one out of every four hopeful will win his chance for a 160-acre plot of land.
The scenes from Cimarron (1960) and Far and Away (1992) give us a hint of the excitement on that day. People made the run from trains, on feet and horseback, by bicycle and wagon. By the time 47 states and territories filled the United States map, more and more people hungered for the lush grasslands at the crossroads of the nation, in Indian Territory.
With the passage of the Dawes Severalty Act, pressure was placed on the Indian tribes to make settlements with the United States government. The 1889 land run only made the nation hungry for more: the experience was repeated in 1891, 1892, 1893 and 1895. The 1893 land run was actually the largest, known as “Cherokee Strip.”
The land run behind the history of Gunfight at Grace Gulch opened the Sac and Fox, Potawatomi and Shawnee “unassigned lands” in 1891. The lands later became Potawatomi and Lincoln counties. Grace Gulch is located in Lincoln County, near Route 66. It’s a fictional town, in case you were wondering.
Grace Gulch founder, Bob Grace, is tempted to be a Sooner—that is, to camp out on the lot he wants to claim instead of making the run. He already tried and failed in 1889 and desperately wants to claim land and wed his precious Mary. His struggles with the decision, revealed through letters to Mary at the beginning of each chapter, lie at the heart of the Grace Gulch legacy.
About the Author
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.
Your can find more Books by Darlene Franklin here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”