Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. Tecklenburg

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. Tecklenburg. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. TecklenburgBuy from Amazon.com

Chasing Pancho Villa by
Non-series

PublishAmerica (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-60474-710-2 (1604747102)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60474-710-2 (9781604747102)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $21.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): In the fall of 1917, Harrison James arrives in New Mexico to investigate the mysterious death of his brother. There he meets the beautiful Maria Washington, notorious gunrunner and revolutionary. Their romance sizzles while his list of suspects grows. James is engulfed in subterfuge and quickly drawn into a seamy underworld of gunrunning and sedition. To unravel the mystery of his brother’s death, he must outshoot bandits and outwit the Army. Traveling deep into Mexico to arm the popular revolutionary and folk hero Pancho Villa, James and Washington are betrayed by enemy agents and must fight their way back to the Rio Grande. Finally, armed with new information on his brother’s death, James risks all to unmask his killer.

Review: Chasing Pancho Villa, R. L. Tecklenburg's second novel, is subtitled "a story of mystery, romance, and adventure" and it is indeed each of these. It is a fictional account of an actual event, the raid by Mexican revolutionary general Francisco "Pancho" Villa into the new state of New Mexico and the unsuccessful attempt by US General John Pershing to capture him.

Europe is at war and the US, though officially neutral, is facing an armed conflict of its own with its neighbor to the south. The trade in arms and ammunition is extensive and ruthless. When Mexican General Villa accepts an arms shipment that he believes is worthless (or nearly so), he plans an attack inside the United States. US General Pershing's army vastly outnumbers their Mexican counterparts, yet he cannot seem to defeat them. Pershing orders Captain Bartlett R. James to find out who in the Army may be a spy for the enemy, and to recommend who might be recruited in the Mexican Army to spy for the US. Before he could complete his assignment, he was killed. Following an inquest by the Army, his death is ruled a suicide. His brother, Harrison James, a businessman from Chicago, doesn't believe it and makes the journey to New Mexico to do his own investigation. Harrison discovers that the desk clerk at his hotel, Maria Washington, had helped his brother and she is now willing to help him as well. With her help, and that of her brother, Harrison begins a dangerous journey that ultimately includes a brush with a German national who supports Mexico and a surprising link to his company in Chicago that may be involved with stolen arms.

Chasing Pancho Villa is a fast reading, truly interesting story. The combination of history with the fictional story is done very well and is reminiscent of movies from the 1930s through the 1960s featuring this very colorful character.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Chasing Pancho Villa and to the author for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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