Oakalla, Wisconsin, newspaper editor Garth Ryland (One Man's Poison, etc.), who lobbied against the election of the new sheriff, Whitey Huffer, is now at odds with him over the accidental death--or murder?--of deaf trashman Amel Pilkin, who seemed awfully excited about some good news just before he died. But what was it? As Garth goes searching, he collides with lost-love Claire (now married to Whitey); her best friend (and Whitey's mistress) Carolyn; Carolyn's drug-addicted brother Ray; and his own housekeeper, the crotchety, geriatric Ruth. The resolution involves a letter that was pocketed to deny one inheritance and protect another; a spot of unintentional voyeurism; several runs to various dumps; a last-resort suicide, and a promise not to shoot--that's broken. A slow, measured appraisal of rural America and its idiosyncratic citizenry. Riggs's cast of eccentrics are edgy, despairing, and believable--particularly Clark, the sheriffs deputy. Overall, though, the plot is less interesting than the people who frequent it.