Murder on the Middle Fork
This short novel accurately depicts the hardscrabble and desperate lives of those who preyed on the fortunes of others. The story unfolds alongside the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho just before America’s involvement in the First World War. The gold mines are played out, and the miners have moved on to better fortunes, leaving their shacks and caves to be inhabited by wildlife and human scavengers. Frieda and her abusive husband, Jack, take up residence in an abandoned cabin that extends from a damp, isolated cave. They try to mine for gold, but there is little profit in it. The two are desperate, and the husband begins to covet the farm of a German neighbor. Even in this isolated area of the American West, war propaganda and the growing hatred of the German people are as prevalent as in other parts of America. Here, they become justification for murder. Frieda is used a bait to lure the German; it was his death or hers. The outcome of his true tale is shocking, but the final resolution is uplifting. Murder on the Middle Fork is a page-turner that’s well worth reading.