If These Walls Could Talk

Written by James D. Crownover
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1918, the great influenza epidemic is sweeping the world. Young ranch hands Silent Cooper and Dempsey Nealy are sent to an abandoned ranch house to avoid contracting the disease. Hanging on the walls of the house are old newspaper clippings that go back to the murder of a man named Riley Giddens by Tucker Beaver in 1886, on the steps of the Tularosa Courthouse in New Mexico. It soon becomes evident to the two boys that Tucker may have been innocent. Upon returning to civilization, they begin asking questions about the crime of those who lived in the area when it occurred. Many are reluctant to provide answers.

This Western moves at a very slow pace. The concept is interesting—the story told through the unraveling of the wallpaper—but I soon lost interest in the mystery surrounding the murder of Riley Giddens several years earlier. The author is a fine writer. His knowledge of cattle ranching is excellent. However, I didn’t find the storyline and characters very interesting. If you enjoy stories that show little emotional depth but like a slow-developing mystery, you may find this novel appealing.