Valley of Silent Men lovely place for absurd novel

On his death bed, James Grenfell Kent, 36, sergeant in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, confesses to a murder he didn’t commit. From his deathbed, he also  falls in love with the mysterious raven-haired beauty, Maretta, who tells him she knows who really committed the murder.

Instead of dying, Kent recovers, which means he’ll be hanged for the murder, unless someone else is found guilty, in which case he’ll do 10-20 for deathbed perjury.

Finding either of those outcomes undesirable, Kent plots his escape.

The plan misfires.

Kent finds the Mounties Inspector Kedsty dead, strangled with black hair, and Maretta standing over the body.

Kent and Maretta flee, becoming separated when their boat breaks apart in river rapids. Desolate, Kent wanders for almost two years before heading toward Maretta’s home in the Valley of Silent Men.

There he learns how Maretta knew he had not  killed Barkley and discovers how she was involved with Kedsty.

There’s a happy ending, all mysteries solved except why the legalistic Mounties decide not to place those perjury charges.

James Oliver Curwood’s plot is absurd and his characters utterly  implausible, but his description of the Canadian scenery is breathtaking. This is one novel that you’ll enjoy most by ignoring the story and focusing on the descriptive passages.

Thee Valley of Silent Men: A Story of the Three River Company
By Janes Oliver Curwood
1921 bestseller #5
Project Gutenberg EBook-No. 29407
© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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