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Pringle, Hattie. Hattie Pringle was created by Joe Archibald (Dizzy Duo, Elmer and Pokey, Alvin Hinkey, Ambrose Hooley, Kid Tarzan, Willie Klump, Windy Knight, Phineas Pinkham, Walrus & Wishbone, Jonathan Wise) and appeared in thirty-one stories in Thrilling Ranch Stories and Ten Detective Aces from 1936 to 1949, beginning with “Objection–Matrimony” (Thrilling Ranch Stories, Feb. 1936).

Hattie Pringle is the widow of “Poison Pete” Pringle, “the toughest old coot who had ever worn a sheriff’s badge, three boothills having been filled to overflowing by him singlehandedly.” When Poison Pete died, he left Hattie everything, which in this case amounted to a nest egg which allowed her to accumulate “one-eighth of the State of Montana.” She now lives in the town of Mildew, and does as she pleases: “Hattie had stopped counting birthdays after she reached the half-century mark. She was as rugged as the edge of a butte and could still throw a steer and rope it if anybody would bet enough legal tender to make it worth her while. Being the sheriff’s widow, she was the self-appointed guardian angel of every living thing within a radius of sixty miles and the law in the county was kept mostly in her reticule.”

She’s waspish, fierce, sharp-tongued, smart, and the criminal hasn’t been born that can intimidate or outwit her.

* I'm including the Hattie Pringle stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because they're a lot of fun. Joe Archibald was a dab hand at pulp comedy and Westerns, and the Hattie Pringle stories are able combinations of those with the addition of one of the great pulp characters of them all in the person of Hattie Pringle. Archibald's style in the Pringle stories is a bit over-the-top, but fittingly so for these stories, and Pringle herself is pleasingly dominant in the stories, so that they're usually all-Hattie all the time--which is to the good, since Pringle is such a pleasure to see in action. Recommended. 

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