Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wolf Creek Day @paladin_68 #western

Hello the camp!

This is the first of a regular series we're going to be having here at the Western Fictioneers blogsite, wherein we take a closer look at the characters and writers of our collaborative novel series, Wolf Creek. We'll be doing this the first Tuesday of each month.

We're going to start off with our town doctor...

Clay More

 Logan Munro is a Scottish doctor. Shortly after graduating from Edinburgh University he served with the British Army Hospital in Scutari in Constantinople during the Crimean War. In 1856, at the end of the war he had the opportunity to go to India. While there he married Helen, a young governess. A year later The Indian Mutiny took place and he was involved in the siege. Sadly, Helen died from malaria. Disillusioned with life, and bereft at losing Helen, Logan sailed for America. Along came the Civil War, during which he served as a surgeon in the Union Army. When the guns ceased and the smoke cleared he settled down in Wolf Creek. He has seen a lot of action in the three wars he served in and he has honed his surgical skills on the battlefields. He is tired of all the killing and he just wants to settle down as a family doctor in a sleepy town.

CLAY MORE is also a Scottish physician -Dr. Keith Souter. In addition to being a medical writer, Keith publishes fiction in four different genres.

"I am a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, International Thriller Writers, the Society of Authors, Western Fictioneers and the Western Writers of America. With my medical hat on, I am a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and of various other professional bodies.
I live with my wife Rachel in Wakefield in West Yorkshire within arrowshot of historic Sandal Castle."
We asked Clay More a few questions about Doc Munro...

1) What is your favorite scene among those you've written for Logan Munro?
In his daily work as the town doctor Logan Munro strives to put folk at their ease. Practising medicine in a town like Wolf Creek requires him to be confident in his manner, both in his treatment of anxious patients and in his dealings with some hard-headed types who are used to riding roughshod over their fellow citizens. He is also aware that he has a very limited armamentarium of drugs, which is why he is so appreciative of the traditional remedies that Charley Blackfeather keeps introducing him to. 

In the first chapter Logan is going about his work, enjoying some banter with Charley Blackfeather, then boom - he sheds the doctor's mantle for a while and he is a British officer taking up arms to repel the enemy. He is happy to back Charley's play. I like this scene, because it shows that he is a man of action as well as a medical man.

Charley Blackfeather pulled the door open and he and Logan rushed out. They saw a blazing wagon belching thick black smoke skewed across halfway up the street. A dead mule lay collapsed before it.
            ‘What in blazes?’ Logan began.
            Then a gun fired and a bullet sent them dashing back into the office. From all over town came startled voices and cries. The noise of horses’ hooves pounding could be heard and then the noise of more gunfire. Lots of it.
            ‘It is a raid!’ said Logan, rushing into his consulting room and grabbing his bag.
            ‘Where are you going?’ Charley asked him as he tried to go back into the waiting room.
            ‘If there is shooting, people might get hurt. I’ll be needed.’
            ‘You won’t be needed dead, doctor. Go the back way.’
            And together they left Logan’s place via a back window and gingerly skirted round the back of the office.
‘You there, lay down that gun!’ they heard a voice cry from Second Street. ‘I am Deputy Marshal Baker and I order you…’
There was a gun shot then a scream.
As they went round the side of the office they saw Frank Baker’s body lying in the dirt, blood gushing from a chest wound.
‘You mangy dog!’ cried Marshal Sam Gardner, running towards the blazing wagon, firing both guns through the smoke.
Another shot rang out and the Marshal was hit. Blood spurted from his left leg and he collapsed on his side. More bullets dug up clouds of earth around him and he crawled sidewinder fashion to the cover of a horse trough.
‘Have you a gun, Munro?’ Charley Blackfeather asked.
Logan opened his bag and drew out his Beaumont-Adams revolver. ‘And I can use it.’
‘We need to get past this gunman. If you pin him down, I will see if I can get round the back.’
Logan obliged.  Intermittently, he peered round the corner of the office and discharged a shot. With each one a returned shot gouged out part of the wall. Whoever was firing from the other side of the grisly barricade knew how to shoot.
Suddenly, there was a dull thud and a harrowing scream that went on and on, as if someone was in mortal agony. Then abruptly the noise stopped.
‘Munro!’ Charley Blackfeather called.
Logan peered round the corner and through the smoke saw Charley Blackfeather gesturing to him. In one hand he held his metal tomahawk and in the other his big Bowie knife. Both were dripping with blood.
‘Maybe you should take care of the marshal,’ he cried. And without another word he turned and disappeared into the smoke.

 2)  What is Logan's biggest strong point?
Honour (sorry, honor) is Logan's greatest strength. He is bound by his Hippocratic oath and he will do anything to help a patient, even if that patient is an enemy. He asserts this himself in a later scene when 

He started filling his meerschaum pipe. ‘I took the Hippocratic Oath and it is my duty to tend to the sick. I think I need to go, just in case any more of my friends here get hurt. And if we shoot any of that gang it will be my solemn duty to treat and keep them alive.’
He lit his pipe and his eyes narrowed as he blew out a stream of smoke. ‘Until we can hang the bastards, that is!’

His greatest weakness is his difficulty to form another relationship. He lost his wife during the Indian mutiny and he feels guilty that he couldn't save her. It shook his confidence in himself as a doctor and as a result he finds it difficult to let anyone get too close to him.

3) What can you tell us about what is coming up next for the good doctor?
In Book 4: The Taylor County War there is more about the disease and hardships that folk faced and the sort of cases that Logan has to confront in his daily life. An emergency to see and treat the victims of an atrocity takes him right into the centre of a desperate situation that could so easily turn into another massacre. 

In Book 6: Hell on the Prairie, which is composed of individual stories, Logan really finds himself in deep water, faced with a life or death decision, an ethical dilemma and one of the hardest operations that he has ever been called to perform in his life. Another aspect of his character  is revealed. 

(Here is a photo of the author, in character as Dr. Logan Munro  -for a gig at a pub in Newcastle, demonstrating how to use fire to burn syphilis!)


  1. Of course, when I say "the first Tuesday each month", I mean starting next month -lest ye think I am calendar-challenged! There was an open spot today that needed filling, so we launched this series a little early.

  2. Troy, great post as always. Loved that pic of Keith in character. Fire to burn syphilis...EWWW. LOL I love these Wolf Creek books and the characters that are coming from them. So many interesting "people" that populate the town, and boy do they get into a lot of hot water. As western series go, it doesn't get any better than WOLF CREEK!

  3. Hey Cheryl,

    Syphilis was a very real threat to the pleasure-seekers of the old West - and to many unwary folk who were infected by pleasure-seeking partners.

    The thing is that syphilis has four distinct phases. Primary and secondary syphilis produce a lot of very distinctive clinical signs and symptoms, but the latent phase, which can last anything up to thirty years, lulled people into thinking that it had gone, or that it had been cured. All sorts of ineffective treatments (like fire and burning) were used and doctors often thought that they had succeeded in treating it, when it was just the condition's way of going underground. Then it would eventually resurface as the dire 'tertiary' syphilis, with the most profound effects.

    I'll be considering this and other pleasure-seeker's ailments in The Doctor's Bag blog at some stage.


  4. Oh, wow, Keith. I had no idea. This is just fascinating! I am really looking forward to your The Doctor's Bag posts. And I loved your character, Dr. Logan Munro, in Wolf Creek Book 1--Bloody Trail. Boy, if anyone needs a good doctor, it's the town of Wolf Creek--I can see him needing an assistant before it's all said and done. LOL He's very interesting!


    Didn't they have "sheaths" made out of animal skins to use as protection? You'd think they would.

    Great post!!

  6. They had sheathes made from sheep skin. Sponges soaked in alcohol were also used as a barrier, but the actual causation of syphilis was not known. The spirochaete that caused it, Treponema pallidum, was not discovered until 1905.

  7. What an interesting post. I am getting behind on this series. I have the first book in this series, thanks to a friend, but I haven't gotten to the next 2 yet. I need to catch up.
    Great post.

  8. Dr. Munro is a fabulous character--loved him in Bloody Trail. He's definitely a man of action but has his code as well.

    Interesting about the tertiary effects of syphilis. It's easy to see how they thought they were curing it but actually not. Venereal disease is why you rarely see a hero who haunts houses of ill-repute in western historical romance. We don't want any disease-ridden heroes!