The Bret King Mystery Series

The Bret King Mystery Series
by Dan Scott

The summaries for volumes four through nine have been adapted from the publisher's summaries.
  #1 The Mystery of Ghost Canyon
It's serious business when Rimrock Ranch loses cattle to rustlers.  Bret King and his pals Ace Tallchief, Andy Buxton, and Benny Ortega saddle up to trail the culprits.  A few tire tracks and a steer hide are the only clues.

Meanwhile, Benny's parents earn some extra money by renting their property to Professor Colfax and Dr. Dudley, who plan to search for artifacts in nearby Oro Perdido Canyon.  The scientists act mighty peculiar, warning the cowboys to stay away—or else!  Why do the scientists act like desperate outlaws?

A mysterious plane is spotted in the area and lands near Oro Perdido Canyon.  Strangely, the occupants refuse to speak to the boys and seem to be affiliated with the hostile scientists.  Could these events have any connection to the cattle rustling?

The Mystery of Ghost Canyon
Readers will enjoy learning the ways of the West as the Rimrock cowboys get to the bottom of this dangerous mystery.
  #2 The Secret of Hermit's Peak
Nothing upsets Rusty King more than the loss of one of his prized colts.  A rogue mountain lion is believed to be the culprit, and the Rimrockers attempt to track the lion to its lair on Desolation Peak.  The journey proves to be too perilous for them to complete on their first attempt.  Even worse, the hermit, Ol' Whiskers, threatens to shoot them if they continue searching near the peak.

As the story goes, Ol' Whiskers has a hidden mine full of gold, and he guards it with his life.  A couple of unsavory men ride onto the scene, camping out near the peak.  Each time the boys try to track the lion, they must contend with the men who use potentially deadly force to keep them away.  The men are searching for Ol' Whiskers' gold, and they will stop at nothing to find it.

The Secret of Hermit's Peak
Too late, the boys realize the grave danger that threatens both Ol' Whiskers and them.  How the Rimrockers face their foes and help Ol' Whiskers makes for a thrilling adventure.
  #3 The Range Rodeo Mystery
The Range Rodeo is back!  The Tovar Chamber of Commerce plans to revive the annual rodeo, but a location must be found.  Rimrock Ranch has an ideal location, except that the ranch has been badly impacted by drought.  Meanwhile, Mr. Carrington, a rich dude who recently bought a nearby ranch, offers up an excellent rival location—a location not impacted by drought.  Carrington uses smooth talk and bribery to convince the committee to choose his location.

When Carrington's bribes fail, unfortunate accidents begin to befall Rimrock Ranch.  The Rimrockers lay down pipe to bring water to their proposed location, but the pipe is blown up!  Each time the Rimrockers make progress, an act of sabotage sets them back.  It appears that Rimrock Ranch is destined to lose the bid for the location of the rodeo.

The Range Rodeo Mystery
Bret and his pals find themselves facing a dangerous foe and must use all their wits to defeat their enemy.
  #4 The Mystery of Rawhide Gap
Man-tall and cowboy-lean, eighteen-year-old Bret King, his father's mainstay on Rimrock Ranch, befriends a proud Frenchman determined to prove the innocence of his great-great-great uncle, who, a century ago, was accused of a stagecoach robbery and killed while resisting arrest.

The Frenchman, Jacques Dulion, joins Bret and his cowboy friends on a camping expedition to the old ghost town of Rawhide Gap.  Here they encounter a terrifying ghost from the past and a very-much-alive, gun-totin' eccentric.  The situation is further complicated when Bret's plane and the Frenchman mysteriously disappear.

During the search for clues, the boys become involved in a hunt for a giant bear and in a wild chase to capture two buffaloes that have escaped from a nearby private game preserve.

The Mystery of Rawhide Gap
The most unexpected development of all occurs when the FBI suspects Bret of espionage.  In a climax that packs the wallop of a .30-30, the young cowboy and his trailwise companions uncover a sabotage plot aimed at the United States.
  #5 The Mystery at Blizzard Mesa
The Navajo reservation is snowbound and there is only one way to get food to the Indians and hay to their flocks of sheep—an emergency airlift.  In the Rimrock Ranger, Bret King and his friend Andy Buxton respond to a call for civilian volunteers.

But there is more than hunger and cold threatening the victims of the fierce Rocky Mountain blizzard.  The uncle of Ace Tallchief, Bret's Indian friend, is being framed by a gang of jewel thieves, and the youthful owner of a recently opened ski lodge is suddenly beset by a series of strange events designed to thwart his flourishing new business.

Other mysterious happenings plague the flying cowboy, but first he must fulfill his original mission.  As he pilots the Rimrock Ranger low over the reservation, dropping food and hay, Bret sights a deserted dwelling, called a "dead man's hogan" by the Indians, and strictly taboo.

The Mystery at Blizzard Mesa
When a bearded white man emerges from the forbidden hut, the mystery deepens.  Did Wolf Wilkins, Bret's hostile guide, deliberately lead him off course to drop food to the trespasser?  Is the white man using the hut as a hide-out?  Join Bret King and the rangewise Rimrock Ranch cowboys as they uncover the motives behind the treacherous skulduggery.
  #6 The Secret of Fort Pioneer
Bret King and the high-spirited Rimrock Ranch cowboys are no strangers to the excitement and adventure of New Mexico ranch life.  But when they become interested in a Hollywood motion-picture company that is filming a Western movie near the ranch, even Bret, who has proved himself as skilled a detective as he is a horseman, is mystified by the strange events that occur.

Westpix Productions has come to Tovar to capture the historic flavor of Fort Pioneer and the unique customs of the neighboring Terra Pueblo Indians.  Hampered by bad weather, bad tempers, and odd mishaps, the movie people begin to wonder if Westpix is jinxed.

When a deadly steel-tipped arrow flies over the ramparts of the old fort—missing Bret and the movie director by an inch—and proves to be just the first in a series of alarming incidents, Bret suspects that the mysterious devilry is all part of a sinister plan to ruin Westpix Productions.

The Secret of Fort Pioneer
The theft of a diary dating back to Wild West days and the suspicious actions of an eccentric camper further challenge the sleuthing abilities of Bret, his Navajo friend Ace Tallchief, and Andy Buxton.  Follow Bret King and his trailwise pals as they unearth one surprising clue after another and discover the baffling secret of Fort Pioneer.
  #7 The Mystery of the Comanche Caves
Bret King, Andy Buxton, and their Rimrock Ranch cowboy pals react to danger with hair-trigger precision.  Consequently, no one at the ranch is surprised when the boys volunteer to help Andy's uncle, a Texas sheriff, track down a ring of elusive smugglers trafficking contraband across the Rio Grande.

As the young cowboys ride toward the Big Bend country, a rugged region of tortuous canyons and thorn thickets, danger follows them like a storm cloud.  An eccentric peddler brings them nothing but trouble, and a race with a vicious tornado almost costs the boys their lives.

Despite the urgency of their mission, Bret and his friends manage to find time to take part in a challenging hunt for wild boar—an animal known to tear a man apart out of sheer malice.

The Mystery of the Comanche Caves
All during the Rimrockers' trek to the Mexican border, peril and the menace of the sinister Totache—The Buzzard—dog their every move.  Who is Totache?  Is he legend or fact?  In a surprising climax, Bret and his trailwise companions learn—the hard way—just where legend ends and reality begins.
  #8 The Phantom of Wolf Creek
Horse thieves!  A ghostly night rider!  A bitter feud over water rights!

Bret King and his Rimrock Ranch cowboy pals volunteer to help Carl and Rick Conrad track down the horse thieves who have been plaguing their father's Colorado ranch.  But the Rimrockers do not anticipate that they will be confronted with solving the mystery of a phantom wolf-man and a centuries-old riddle of a lost Spanish land grant.

Clues to the horse thefts point to the Bar B Ranch, which controls the water of Wolf Creek, although the long-lost Spanish grant supposedly awards it to the Rancho Conrado.  But Bret thinks blaming the neighboring ranch owner is too pat a solution.

The Phantom of Wolf Creek
Why would Burkhart cut his own fences, poison and shoot his own cattle, then pretend the villains are from the Rancho Conrado?  And what does the wolf phantom—seemingly half-man, half-wolf—have to do with the nefarious events?

To find the answers Bret and the Rimrockers take to the trail, braving bullets, a flash flood, and countless other perils of the rugged country.  The spine-tingling climax will be as much of a surprise to the reader as it was to America's favorite cowboy detective and his friends.

  #9 The Mystery of Bandit Gulch
A treasure cache hidden since Territorial days, a mail pouch stolen in an old-time train robbery, and the ruins of a once-famous hacienda—all play important roles in the mystery confronting Bret King and his pals when trespassers invade Rimrock Ranch.

The real trouble starts with a motel holdup, and events move fast when a jetliner, with a notorious criminal and two of his henchmen aboard, is hijacked and forced down in New Mexico cattle country.  The Rimrockers take to the trail to round up the outlaws, but the escape plan was ingeniously devised and the clues peter out.

So Bret and the posse return to Tovar to celebrate the Frontier Days Fiesta, hooting it up with a ceremonial run in an antique train.  Then, suddenly, history repeats itself, and all the bizarre elements of the mystery begin to make sense.

The Mystery of Bandit Gulch
In an exciting climax that will keep the reader breathless with suspense, Bret and pals face entrapment and capture while uncovering the sinister secrets of Bandit Gulch.
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