By Gary McCarthy
Bantam, January 1981
A man could mine fabulous wealth on the Comstock but Darby Buckingham strikes only a mother lode of trouble. With his sledgehammer fists and sharply honed wits, Darby sets out to expose a spellbinding stock manipulator. Rigging a boxing match that becomes a nightmare of punishment, sabotaging a mine shaft into a pit of death – Darby’s rattlesnake of an opponent baits him ruthlessly. Yet, like an enraged bear, The Derby Man always comes roaring back into action.
Once more Gary McCarthy has written a very entertaining story that sees the usual mix of action, tight plotting, and humour, that I’ve come to expect from this series. For those who’ve read the previous books in order, and seen how Darby’s relationship with Dolly Beavers has progressed, this story also offers a threat to their love for one another – jealousy that could lead to its end. Seeing the frustrations in Darby’s failed attempts to get it back on track makes for some great reading and adds a further complication to the plot of exposing the stock swindler.
Conrad Trent makes for an excellent adversary for Darby, as no matter how Darby tries to bring the swindler down, Trent always seems to be one step ahead of him; his swift mind and silver tongue getting him out of trouble and making Darby look foolish in the progress. Even when it seems Darby finds the answer of how to expose Trent’s wrongdoings Gary McCarthy comes up with a neat twist to seemingly foil Darby’s plan. All this makes for some fascinating and gripping storytelling that will leave the reader wondering just how Darby can finally bring about an end to Trent’s crimes.
At the close of this book Gary McCarthy adds an authors note, which fills the reader in on some of the history of the Comstock, explains how Trent is based on real stock manipulators. He also tells of what happened to one of the real people he used in his story, Julia Bulette.