Monday, February 17, 2014

Murder on the White Sands

The weather has been the pits for the 2 weeks since I got home from New Mexico.  Ended up spending lots of time reading.  While on the trip I picked up this book at the White Sands National Monument Visitor Center.  Their copies are even autographed by the author (Corey Recko) - a bonus.

The book is a historical look at the disappearance of prominent New Mexican citizen Albert Fountain and his youngest son Henry.  The disappearance happened in the Winter of 1896.

My interest in the book stemmed from a visit at White Sands and friends that now live in the area.

The book goes into great detail into the disappearance, investigation, and trial of those believed responsible.  Albert and Henry Fountain were never found. 

This is not an easy read.  The first thing I was looking was a good map of the area and the locations mentioned in the book.  There is a rudimentary map in the book, but many of the key locations in the book are not noted on the map.  It may make more sense for someone familiar with the area, but I had problems.

The author is writing a factual (as he and his sources know them) accounting.  The book reads as a technical book, rather a murder mystery.  As such, I found it tedious.  Also, I had problems with all of the names of those mentioned in the book. 

One thing I got from the book was a flavor of the times.  At that time, New Mexico was still a territory.  The area was certainly the "Wild West".  Patronage abounded - seems like everyone that was anyone owed their position to a political figure. 

The investigation into the disappearance was hampered by political cronyism.

If you are looking for a typical murder mystery, Murder on the White Sands in not for you.  On the other side - if you are interested in history of New Mexico around the turn of the century, you will find it a good read.

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