Book 45 is “Green Timber Thoroughbreds” by Theodore Goodridge Roberts, with cover illustration by Lynn Bogue Hunt. The pulp tale was originally featured in the 10 November 1923 edition of Short Stories magazine.
The tale opens with Robert Vane walking into a wilderness north town and a house is on fire. He rescues an old man and then proceeds up a ladder to carry out another body that is unconscious from smoke inhalation. Then he departs the scene and seeks shelter at the village hotel.
The next day, the town is a-buzz over the whole ordeal, and Vane is thanked profusely for saving Joe. When he is greeted and thanked in person by “Joe” he is nonplussed to learn that “Joe” is a girl, short for Josephine.
He confesses to the hotelier that he is interested in horses, and seeking a specific breed locally that has good blood in it. The tale is more convoluted, in that the horses’ pedigrees all dial back a century when Vane’s grandparents brought over a horse of fine-standing, but was stolen. Stories of great horse races in this region and markings lead Vane to the quiet remote town to investigate if these are descendants of the original.
So he seeks to buy one horse but the locals that own the breeds are a nefarious, murderous bunch of scoundrels, and, illegally brewing during prohibition. So, thinking he is a government man, they go out of their way to capture and kill him, but fail.
Finally, they do capture him, drag him far out into the woods and leave him to do. Unfortunately for them, Joe trails the villains, frees Vane, and they, overnight, through a snowstorm, find their way to a cabin and collapse.
They recover overnight with the cabin’s tenants, and two weeks later, marry.
The villains are all arrested by the sheriff.
It’s not really the author’s best work, by a long-shot, but, I am happy to have had the pleasure to read this novel, since it is a damn hard one to obtain. The story falls flat with me since I have zero interest in horse racing and the background of the pedigrees, etc, which was used more as “padding” then necessary to the overall story.