Reviews of Murder on the Middle Fork

A wonderful and bittersweet read

Murder on the Middle Fork is told through the eyes of a 30-year-old woman married to a brutal man who keeps her as a prisoner in canyon long stripped of any mining possibilities. When a German immigrant’s neat little home and farm come to his attention, he tried to use his wife to murder the German, figuring that it is war time and he will be absolved of his crimes. His wife moves in on the German and falls in love for the first time in her sad life:

“I tell you, Frieda, vhy I haff dis gun mit.” He slapped the holster. “I tell you da truth, as I hope you tell me dat truth. Animals mit two legs be da most dangerous kind. Not you, Frieda. You be a goot person. But maybe some person come to hurt you. I see you looking around mit fear in your eyes. I haff my gun here so dat not happen. I protect you. I protect you mit my rifle also.”

Suddenly she couldn’t talk any more. Whisking up the plates, she turned to the house before he could see the tears in her eyes. He was protecting her! A man who came to America to find peace! A man she would help to kill.

More of an historical fiction story than an actual murder mystery, Murder on the Middle Fork deals with a true-life murder that occurred in 1917. The authors include many themes to instruct the reader, such as spousal abuse, wartime bigotry, social isolation, hunting, guilt and redemption. Murder on the Middle Fork is not for the faint of heart, but this little book is a wonderful and bittersweet read.
— Shelley Glodowski, Senior Reviewer
Midwest Book Review, December 7, 2009

Rare gem

“This is one of those rare gems . . . a small but powerful work. It captures the roughness of life and the people, and the awesome lands in which they struggled . . . The writing is finely balanced, the tale both universal and yet specific to its time and place . . . up there with Conrad Richter’s Sea of Grass.
— Persia Woolley, author of three Book of the Month Club novels

Murder on the Middle Fork
by Don Ian Smith and Naida West
ISBN: 0965348768
192 pages; trade paper

Updated May 14, 2010