Hobert Skidmore has had an uneven record to date. His first novel, Valley of The Sky, was a moving psychological novel of a flier, a story that hovered on the margin of the supernatural. Disturb Not Our Dreams almost slipped into the sentimental class, with a story of a child with a birthmark, loved and protected by her self-appointed guardians in an old ladies' home. (Both published by Houghton). Now comes this oddly unreal story of Emily Hewlett, to whom the ""oldest profession"" seemed her only role, but not for commercial reasons, rather because she had so much love to give. She couldn't seem to get started. She was booted out of one community; her story went before her and in her next stop, Felicity, she spent her first night in jail- an odd sort of jail where the constable's wife prepared a gala meal for her to share with them, and shopped for curtains to make the cell more homey. In the course of her brief stay in Felicity she proved a catalyst; she brought lovers together, she released inhibitions and untangled misunderstandings; she made the men uncomfortable and- oddly enough- had most of the women on her side. And she fell in love herself and knew she couldn't offer it for sale. There's a faint suggestion of the subtle social commentary of The Respectful Prostitute with an aura of naivete as overlay. An odd bit- for a rather off-the-beaten track market.