Fifth in a series featuring Oregon's Conan Flagg, one of those fortunate fictional P.I.'s with independent means--so they can take cases of special interest only. This one starts with a letter from Delia Starbuck, an elderly widow in the near-ghost-town of Silver City, Idaho; she tells Conan about her late husband Tom--who, though dead 25 years, has now been found guilty of murdering his long-ago mining partner Leland Langtry (who disappeared 40 years ago with $200,000 and a mistress but has recently turned up as a skeleton in an abandoned mine). Will Flagg clear Tom Starbuck's name? Yes, he will--despite little cooperation from Delia's neighbors, local prospectors, and the murdered man's widow. . . and only after longwinded interviews, brushes with death, and red herrings galore. No surprise in the solution, and the characters lack vitality--but some readers will ride along for the evocative descriptions of locale and landscape.