Boles' ear for melting Southern description is as enviable as ever--but his plots! They're like watching Thomas Wolfe write Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Haunted House over and over. He insists on farfetched 19th-century mellers about mistaken murderers, derringers hidden in newel posts, and creaking climaxes exposited by wise old duffers. Fortunately he's also funny, sexy, great with animals, creates likable heroes, and keeps up a tireless charge of lyricism filled with ""rotted leaf and mist and secret deeps and easy shallows."" The story: young Tom Broome, bringing his incredible stallion from Alabama to a great race in Mississippi, finds a corpse that almost certainly was dispatched by beautiful Francia Chantry. Nonetheless, they run off together to the big race and hide out with a band of gypsies, the murder hanging over their heads for 400 pages. The set-piece is the race, hurtling and brainless, which is followed by the anticlimactic mystery nonsense. Just read it with your heart in your mouth and your head in your saddlebag.