A second collection, like Morgan's first (The Blue Valleys, 1989), that's set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and ranges from post- Revolutionary times to the present. It deals mostly with poor whites who are faced with death, betrayal, and greed. The best pieces include a historical element or personal quest and rise above mere local color. The title story concerns an old woman in a nursing home who has lost a foot. She's lived through two marriages, but near the end of her life she's drawn to search out the facts surrounding the death of her first fiancÇe in the war. Likewise, in ``Death Croon,'' the narrator visits dying Alice. The female narrator was ``Alice's favorite in the family,'' but now the dying woman smells ``like some electric spark, a warm radio,'' and Morgan again vividly splices together past and present instances until Alice reaches the release of ``beautiful death.'' ``Poinsett's Bridge'' is the saga of a chimney-builder who goes to South Carolina to help build a bridge and stays until it's finished--despite flash floods and the mistreatment of paid help and slaves--because of his pride in workmanship and his sense of historical mission. The other pieces too often make too much of nothing: in ``Frog Level,'' a wife enters a local mall and sees her philandering Vietnam-vet husband with yet another woman; the ensuing chase, far too long, becomes a kind of travelogue. In ``The Bullnoser,'' a mother and her grown unemployed child (the narrator) talk about the debt their Daddy left them; the narrator then tries to recoup the family's loss by taking on the white trash who suckered Daddy out of his home--but the story veers off and never quite finds its center. A collection notable mainly for its vivid regionalism. Some of these pieces appeared originally in Epoch, Pembroke Magazine and Southern Review.