“Return to Laurel” is a somewhat long short story that appears in the anthology Hobnail and Other Frontier Stories, released by Five Star Publishing in December 2019. In this story, a private investigator named Henry Tresh agrees to look for an older couple’s son who disappeared some twenty years earlier. The parents insist that their son, Arthur, fell under the bad influence or a girl named Bella. They also tell the investigator that they did not know until very recently that the son was last known to be in the town of Laurel, Wyoming.
The sleuth in this story, who is also the narrator, makes his way to Laurel and begins his investigation. He meets a cast of interesting characters, including Bella, who after twenty years is not so pristine, and a long-standing citizen known as the old bachelor. He also finds out what happened to the not-so-innocent Arthur. In addition, he finds out that the parents did not tell him everything they could have.
This story has some continuity with others I have written. It is a crossover western/mystery, with value placed on justice coming around after a passage of time. I am always satisfied with reading about or watching a true crime story in which an old crime is solved and a perpetrator is brought to account, and I am glad to strive for that effect in a fictional work. Another feature that this story shares with some of my other work is that it is about twice as long as the standard five-thousand-word story, and I am glad to be able to work in fiction of variable length.
This is the fourth story I have had published in an anthology by Five Star, and I feel very honored to be included in each lineup. I would like to express my thanks to Five Star Publishing, and I express my appreciation to those people who work on old cases and bring the truth to light.
“Return to Laurel” can be found in Hobnail and Other Frontier Stories at Amazon.
John’s short story contributions to Five Star anthologies can be found in: