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CALAMITY JANE by J.T. EDSON

Calamity (Martha Jane Canary) is acknowledged by the author not to be the historical character of that name. As presented in the books, she is a young woman in her late teens or early twenties who fled a convent school to join a freight-driving crew led by Dobe Killem. Initially she made herself useful by stepping in for their drunken cook, but soon learned how to manage a team of heavy horses, fight with a whip, and shoot competently with either a .36-calibre Navy Colt or a Winchester carbine (both chosen to suit her smaller, less muscular frame). She has several adventures of her own in addition to intermittently associating with the Floating Outfit. While enjoying an on-off physical relationship with Mark Counter, it is mutually understood that they are only what a later century would call "Friends with benefits", and she enjoys other male company routinely, including on one occasion the Ysabel Kid (in White Stallion, Red Mare). In addition to her freight-driving skills, Calamity is a tough fist-fighter who is almost never beaten by a woman - not even a trained prize-fighter billed as the World Champion - and makes good use of Indian-style medicine learned from a Pawnee wise-woman (including an effective contraceptive method also known by Belle Starr, mentioned in Guns in the Night). Although hot-headed and prone to both speak and act without thinking, Calamity is brave and determined, and regarded with affection by the Floating Outfit even as they wait for the trouble to start.*
* According to Wikipedia
On what would have been her birthday (1st May), Piccadilly Publishing is proud to welcome back Calamity Jane with stunning covers by Tony Masero.

In putting this series together, we were initially confused about some of the titles out there. When UK publisher Transworld "lost interest" in J.T. the author was then published in the US with Berkley. They retitled some of his books. The list below clears up any confusion with the UK title followed by the US title:

  • WHITE STALLION, RED MARE / RANCH WAR
  • THE COW THIEVES / RUNNING IRONS
  • CALAMITY SPELLS TROUBLE / THE ROAD TO RATCHET CREEK
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    Published May 01, 2018
       
    1: CALAMITY, MARK AND BELLE

    Mark Counter had an eye for a beautiful woman—and he was always willing to go to the assistance of a lady in distress. But whilst handling a chore for his boss, Ole Devil Hardin, he met two ladies who came close to making him change his ways…
    The first's name was Martha Jane Canary. Her problem was comparatively simple—she needed help to raise the wheel of her wagon. The second lady's difficulties were of a more dangerous nature—she was the lady outlaw, Belle Starr. There were ruthless bounty hunters on her trail who aimed to collect the reward for her dead body…
    Mark wanted to help but thought he would keep the ladies apart. But Belle and Calamity had different ideas. When they met, the fur began to fly—and Mark was caught up in the middle of the battle!


    Published July 01, 2018
       
    2: COLD DECK, HOT LEAD

    A cardsharp with a conscience, Frank Derringer comes to the crooked town of Tribune, Kansas, looking to even a score or two. But after cheating the cheaters who robbed a good friend blind in a fixed game, Frank's escape doesn't go exactly as planned—especially after he hooks up with a sharp-shooting lady named Martha Jane Canary, better known as "Calamity." True to her moniker, Calamity Jane's soon leading Frank into a hail of gunfire that's surrounding a dead man's dying words and a fortune in stolen gems. Now, stripped of the one edge they've both always had—the advantage of working alone—Frank and Jane are riding hell for leather into a deadly free-for-all and a killer's ingenious trap. And it'll take a sharp eye, a quick gun, and a strong dose of gambler's luck to keep them alive long enough to rake in the pot.


    Published October 01, 2018
       
    3: THE BULLWHIP BREED

    They met in a New Orleans alleyway in the dark days following the Civil War. His name was Philippe St Andre—a peace officer—and he was in the process of being beaten up by a gang of hardcases. Her name was Martha Jane Canary, and with a few unladylike tricks she dispersed the thugs with an ease that belied her boyish appearance.
    That meeting proved providential for the good citizens of New Orleans and fatal for the maniacal killer who had been terrorising the streets of the city. Already seven girls had fallen into the clutches of the notorious “Strangler”. What the police needed was a girl with courage enough to act as bait for the killer, and who better, thought St Andre, than the slim girl who had saved his life and who was known throughout the West as Calamity Jane.


    Published January 01, 2019
       
    4: TROUBLE TRAIL

    While underneath for the third time, Hack gripped the lash of the whip in both hands and on surfacing gave it a savage jerk which shot the girl towards him. As he saw her coming, Hack's mind worked with its usual speed. Once he laid hands on her, he would half drown her, maybe give her a damned good licking to boot as an added lesson not to resist the honorable intentions of Milo Hack in future.
    At that point his day-dreams ended. Using a trick taught her by whip-fighting freighters, the girl permitted Hack to believe he was dragging her helplessly forward into his clutches, then when she came into range brought up a kick under his jaw to show him the error of his ways.
    Milo Hack reckoned to be a smart man, but he never made a worse mistake than when he tried to rough-handle Martha Jane Canary. Not that anybody in the West would know her by that name. They called her Calamity Jane.


    Published May 01, 2019, 2017
       
    5: THE COW THIEVES

    Danny Fog was big&emdash;even for a Texan. He stood a head taller than his brother, Dusty, the legendary gun wizard from the Rio Hondo. Despite his youth, a watchful eye and a low-slung gun belt showed him as a man to be reckoned with.
    Danny Fog had a mission—to break up the cow-thieving outfit that was terrorizing Caspar County, Texas. Ahead of him lay danger—gun-crazy outlaws and cut-throat Mexicans who would kill a man for his boots. But when Danny learned that the boss of the cow thieves was a woman, he needed help bad. And what better help could a man ask for than that of Martha Jane Canary—or, as folks called her, Calamity Jane.


    Published August 01, 2019
       
    6: THE HIDE AND HORN SALOON

    Tennyson, Texas, was as nice a little town as you'd ever hope to see. The residents were God-fearing folks — every last one of them. And if some of the menfolk quenched their thirst for whiskey at the Hide and Horn Saloon, well, that was okay too. Because the new owner was a fast-shooting, hard-punching lady who knew just where a good time ended and trouble began. But then the family of the old owner rode into town, looking to claim the Hide and Horn as theirs. And suddenly everyone in town knew the truth — that soon there would be more blood than beer spilled on the sawdust floor of that illustrious drinking establishment.


    Published November 01, 2019
       
    7: CUT ONE, THEY ALL BLEED

    Cut one, they all bleed.

    That's what they said about the Cousins family. They might not have been much in the way of law-abiding citizens. But they were loyal when it came to kin. So loyal that folks said, if one hurt they all felt it — and then went gunning for vengeance. And now that Marshal Collier shot one in a bank raid, it's just a crying shame that they all didn't die. 'Cause the Marshal caught some lead too, and he's in no condition to tangle with a bunch as mean as the Cousins clan.


    Published February 01, 2020
       
    8: CALAMITY SPELLS TROUBLE

    There are six passengers on the stagecoach from Promontory to Ratchet Creek — among them a beautiful singer with bad intentions, a lawman dressed in deacon's garb — and a red-headed hellion named Martha Jane Canary, who's hell with a whip and quicker on the draw than most male gun artists. But Calamity Jane has met her match in Marshal Solly Cole, which is just as well, since they're both rolling into more bad news than ever. Because Ratchet Creek's home to a lot more than the lowlife swindler that Cole's been trailing; it's a hotbed of mystery and death that abandoned the law long ago. And for Cole, Calamity, and a kid named John Browning — who, if he lives, could become the greatest gunsmith there ever was — this snake pit in the Utah Territories might be a hard place to get to — and a whole lot harder to get out of.


    Published May 01, 2020
       
    9: WHITE STALLION, RED MARE

    It seems when a lady's called "Calamity," chaos follows wherever she goes — even to the mostly peaceful railroad town of Mulrooney, Kansas. Martha Jane Canary's always been free as the prairie wind, tied to no place or person, so she never expected to inherit a hardscrabble ranch that other folks have been working. She might have even ignored the legal summons to claim her property–if someone hadn't tried to kill her first.
    Now, whether she wants the spread or not, Jane's going to fight for what's hers — taking on bushwackers, crooked lawyers — and a woman with a cold and greedy heart, and a plan to steal Jane's land with bullets and brutality. But Calamity's got an ally — a baby-faced Texas gun called the Ysabel Kid — not to mention stony courage, a strong and sure whip hand — and a mule-stubborn willingness to lay down her life for what's right.


    Published August 01, 2020
       
    10: THE REMITTANCE KID

    There was a lot of bad feeling left over from the War between the States, and not only between the North and South. Britain had allowed Confederate navy ships to use her ports, and after that, there wasn't much trust between them. Belle Boyd, the Rebel Spy, now with the U.S. secret service, had discovered an anarchist plot to attack Canada from U.S. soil, and she knew it had to be stopped. She soon found an ally in the Remittance Kid — but the Kid was working for the British — could Belle really trust him?


    Published November 01, 2020
       
    11: THE WHIP AND THE WARLANCE

    Having thwarted one scheme to invade Canada from the USA, Belle Boyd, the Rebel Spy, and the Remittance Kid were plotting another attempt. To help them, they called upon a young lady called Miss Martha-Jane Canary — better known as Calamity Jane. Belle, Calamity and the Kid made a good team, but they knew they would need all their fighting skills when the showdown came. For they faced le Loup-Garou and the Jan-Dark, the legendary warrior maid with the warlance who, it had long been promised, would come to rally all the Indian nations and drive the white man from Canada.


    Published February 01, 2021
       
    12: THE BIG HUNT

    No man walks away . . .
    For years, there have been none better at the trade than buffalo-skin hunter Kerry Barran. But he's taken part in too much killing — of beast and man alike — and now he wants to lay down his gun for good. But the hunter's got powerful enemies in Otley Creek — and a "partner" who's unhappy about Kerry's refusal to finish one more job. If teaching the stubborn loner a lesson means breaking his bones, then so be it. In a town owned by his adversaries — with a ruthless gang of toughs on his tail — Kerry Barran's going to need all the help he can muster. And he's found it in the most unlikely quarters: with a dapper English dude and his sister . . .with a Texas gunslinger . . . and with a whip-wielding hellcat who goes by the name "Calamity."

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