Mitch Bushyhead is chief of the Bucksin, Oklahoma, police force, consisting mostly of deputies Virgil Rabbit, Harold Duckworth, Charles Stephens, and dispatcher Helen Hendricks. Mitch, a half-breed widower raising teen-aged daughter Emily, is trying to solve the murder of Joe Pigeon, a Cherokee whose widow Mary is white. The marriage and Joe's years at college learning to paint had alienated him from his family, especially blustery brother Kingfisher, member of a secret tribal society whose elder is Crying Wolf. Mitch is being pressured by town-council members like banker George Turnbull and lawyer Jack Derring, who's engaged to George's spoiled rotten daughter Valerie. Then a lead from town outcast/drug-addict Jeeter Rheeves helps in recovering the murder weapon and the two fingers chopped from Pigeon's body. Jeeter will pay dearly for his cooperation; but not until Mitch ferrets out Pigeon's rumored extramarital affair--as well as the reason behind some strange happenings in the wilderness outside of town--will all the pieces come together. The author has found a stronger individual niche here than in previous work (Yellow-Flower Moon, etc.), with a mildly intriguing plot, some colorful characters, a likable lawman, a counterpoint of ancient Cherokee rituals and the well-drawn daily life of a mixed-race small town. Amiable entertainment.