Another excursion into America's middle past, this is the technicolored story of Cripple Creek, Colorado -- the characters who invaded the rich gold strike and made it a roaring boom town and the beautiful setting of the whole Colorado Springs area. It was the era of the restless foot in the U. S., and many of the Creek's ""leading"" citizens drifted there from the East, the defeated South and even from abroad -- one was a bankrupt Prussian nobleman. And with them, came the floridly named con men, madams and ""girls"" who formed the inevitable underworld of every Western boom area. The strike was a late one of the '90's -- more than 40 years after Sutter's, but it brought a decade of furious activity and ostentatious wealth before the usual petering out of the lode. Written in a folksy, ""hi there, podner"" style, this may prove a hit in the Western market, though there's an oversupply of coyness in some of the writing and a number of unimportant stories are stretched to almost unendurable length just for their anecdotal value.