It’s a mystery story. But it’s not a “detective” story, there’s no detective involved, and there’s no resolution – no scene in the library of the country house (or courtroom) where some brilliant Sherlock rolls out the clues and what they mean and finalizes the whole thing by wheeling on the culprit and shrieking “But it was YOU….”
The only available spoiler is that in The Colorado Kid you will not only not find out whodunit, you won’t find out what there was to be done, nor why.
King very cleverly sets up a frame story around a completely “told” mystery plot – we never meet ANY of the characters involved in the actual mystery – that whole story is “told” by two old downeast geezers, to their young midwestern associate. The true cleverness King displays is in getting us fascinated by the “mystery” that the old farts relate to the young woman, as a means of grabbing & holding our interest in the three “real time” characters, whom he portrays very cleanly & economically.
King’s handling of “voice” is brilliant, especially in his handling of downeast dialect. Dialect, as most writers will tell you, is very dangerous territory (in fact I think SK mentions it himself in “On Writing”) – an attempt to render any extended passage in accurate representation of any regional or ethnic accent practically dooms the dialog thus attempted. But King manages to suggest to the reader how these folks sound, then judiciously (and sparingly) reinforces it with occasional phonetic renderings, and the magic is done – every time Vince and Dave speak, I hear the down Maine twang as clearly (cle-ah-ly) as if I was listening to the geezers myself, somewhere up (down?) the coast, perhaps in the vicinity of Wiscasset.
I enjoyed The Colorado Kid immensely, and I recommend it for anyone who likes a tale well told, but who doesn’t require resolutions to their mysteries (like real life).