Yes, it's Oscar Wilde in the unlikely role of detective, as a trail of dead redheaded prostitutes along his 1882 tour route of the Old West makes it clear that someone in his company (black valet Henry Villiers? shrewd business manager Jack Vail? Countess Mathilde de la Mìle? her escort, stolid Prussian Colonel Wolfgang von Hesse? Wilde's poetic disciple Wilbur Ruddick? newspaperman Dave O'Conner?) is a killer. The plot--Wilde steals a few moments from his passionate liaison with titian-haired Elizabeth McCourt Doe (whose powerful fiancÇ Horace Tabor has an unusual attitude toward romantic interlopers) to join besotted federal marshal Bob Grigsby in beating loutish Denver police chief William Greaves to the culprit--isn't up to much, but Wilde sparkles, and Satterthwait's way with historical figures (as in Miss Lizzie, 1989) is easy to take. More like an extended--and marvelously relaxed--dinner party than a detective story, though Doc Holliday, who's been hovering around Wilde since the beginning of the book, provides a lovely last-minute surprise.