Photographer and former Army brat Nicky Titus, wife of Sam, the Catlin County, Oklahoma, sheriff, narrates this tale of modern- day cattle-rustling--which begins with the hit-and-run death of hard-pressed rancher Joe Pilkington. Accident? Or murder? Sam suspects foul play, but is nonplussed when the evidence points to Johnny Garcia--his friend and the only full-time employee at the Hereford ranch owned by his dad, Big Sam. Clues suggest that Johnny was romancing Pilkington's unhappy wife; meanwhile, neighboring ranch foreman Buck Houston is courting Brenda, Sam's brother's widow, and Buck's helper, aspiring country-singer Daniel Bibb, frequently turns up with too-helpful suggestions. Then a fairground employee is murdered, Pilkington's widow disappears, and cow patties mysteriously appear in sheep barns. There'll be another death and abduction--and an important visit to a laundromat--before the final showdown at a livestock show. Artful clues, but savvy readers will deduce whodunit long before the close. Fine background detail, however, and endearing characters in this third adventure for Sam and Nicky (The Devil Down Home, Death Down Home).