Rebust novel of the boom and collapse of a mining town in the late 19th century, of the gamblere and prospectors and owners and prostitutes and ""decent women"" and reformers -- and of the misfits -- that formed the scrambled inconsistencies of Beulah City. Around an incident a ballad grew -- as ex-prostitute ""Bird"" took her life and her friends as she found them, regardless of the cost. She could be big-hearted or foul mouthed, bitter or generous -- and she loved only once, and that was Garnett Cannon, who could not understand, and to whom she would not explain. Garnett was the Kansas Kid of the ballad. Naive and a boy in years and experience, he thought ""working in a house in Memphis"" meant being a hired girl. When he found out the truth, he walked out on love -- and faith and hope; he killed a man and ran away. And at the end, he found -- too late -- that ""Bird"" had something to offer bigger than the gospel he tried to teach. It is not a pretty story, nor one that stops even on the border line of reserve; but it is told with sincerity and a ring of truth. An interesting ""comeback"" for a writer who has been too long silent.