A greenhorn deputy is put in charge of a tough frontier town when the rugged sheriff goes on a three day fishing trip in Lee Leighton's Hanging at Pulpit Rock.
Leighton was actually Wayne Overholser, a well-regarded western writer whose books I see everywhere, though I had never knowingly dipped into one. I actually started reading this for the odd cover, which features an angry man slipping a hangman's noose around another man who is smiling enigmatically. There is a hanging, as per the title, but there isn't any smiling.
Leighton's plot is a cut above, with interesting characters and situations. Almost right away a murder and alleged rape happens, and the greenhorn deputy proves out to be the fastest gun anyone has seen, tested by any number of owlhoots. The crooked town leadership doesn't help as a rampaging lynch mob leads to a trial by fire for some of the more upstanding citizens.
I enjoyed this western quite a bit, and would look for more from Overholser/Leighton. I got this as part of a big lot of western books I was more interested in from eBay but read this one first. A good find for western fans.