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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
When the small rural town of Clover, Texas loses the one man who maintained law and order, the town seeks a replacement. The only problem is they don’t want to have to pay a salary. Darlene Nightingale points this out quite clearly. Their only recourse is to appoint her as sheriff and judge. There’s little argument and a minister steps forward to swear her in. Darlene is determined to clean up the town; she will not tolerate any dissent. But, then she becomes too heavy-handed and dons a black cap she fashions herself, something that becomes her trademark.
Robert E. Kearns’s short story, The Black Cap of Darlene Nightingale, has all that a good old western yarn requires - a fascinating plot, a battle between good and evil, the struggles to tame the wild west, and so much more. The story is told in narrative form, much like the storytellers of old. It’s a legend that will have the reader captivated from beginning to end, with its compelling plot and distinctively thorough descriptive passages. There is little dialogue, but the story evolves well without a conversation between characters. This is a work of storytelling art and the author has indeed captured the adventure and spirit of the old west with his depiction of the ever-vigilant law enforcer, in this case, a woman, and the gun-slinging, bar-brawling brigands. Creating a female in the role of law enforcer in the old west is a legend in itself. A story well told.