This book is the first Fergal O'Brien adventure since 2014's The Ballad of Dayton Hyde. As with the previous books in the series, this tale includes several elements that don't often get featured in westerns: in this case, a Walter Mitty type bartender, a spiritualist who can talk to the dead, and match fixing in cricket.
The last element let me carry out a long-time desire to write a western featuring a cricket match, as cricket is the only sport I've ever followed. I've tried to do it several times before, but each time the plot idea was nothing more than some cowboys decide to play cricket. As there was no logical reason why they should do that, the story always fizzled out quickly.
In this case though I didn't set out to include a cricket match. The working title was Bunty the Bounty Hunter and involved a bartender who dreams about having an exciting life and who gets it into her head that Fergal is an outlaw who needs bringing to justice. Meanwhile Fergal is trying to rebuild his fortunes after losing everything in the previous book and sees an opportunity when he discovers the town of Paradise is staging a horse racing competition.
I completed the first draft, but I didn't like the horse racing scenes as all the dashing around soon became tiresome. I decided I needed a different contest and so for a while I toyed with lacrosse, which is something that the townsfolk might have played, but then finally I realized that this was my chance to use cricket.
When completed, I struggled with a title as I did so want to publish a book called Bunty the Bounty Hunter, but mindful that such a title was probably too silly even for a Fergal O'Brien novel I tried to find a cricket pun that Brian Johnson might have enjoyed. I finally settled on Take the Money and Run, a title which sums up Fergal's whole philosophy of life...
The book is now available from amazon.
Fergal O’Brien and Randolph McDougal have suffered bad times before, but when they walk into Paradise they are at their worst. Footsore and hungry, they don’t have a cent to their names, but when Fergal hears about a contest between the old and new parts of town, he sees an opportunity to rebuild their fortunes. The only trouble is, the contest is a cricket match and Fergal has no idea what cricket is.
Worse is to follow when Fergal and Randolph are victims of mistaken identity leading to Sheriff Merryweather suspecting they are outlaws. Then the fearsome gunslinger Tex Porter sets out to raid Paradise’s bank, which claims to be unbreakable.
If Fergal is going to complete his plan to make a lot of money quickly and then leave town, he’ll have to find a way to appease Sheriff Merryweather, defeat Tex Porter and, hardest of all, learn the laws of cricket.