Both of these short vels take place in the sun-baked, rattle-naked American Southwest of the 1870s. A small town called Paco serves as their common setting; and both stories are told in the first person by a Paco townsman, Sam McCallum. A number of the town's characters appear in both tales, and the struggle to achieve some viable sense of community justice underlies the action of each. The first vel deals with a capital crime and its effects on the people of Paco. The second tells of a peace officer whose rough but efficient ways incur the hatred of the town he serves. Here, in a milieu usually thought to be dominated by men, each vel features a distinct female character who, in her own way, could teach the angels (if t the men around her) a lesson in love and courage. NED CONQUEST obtained his B.A. from Princeton and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for two years' study at Oxford where he received the degrees of B.A. and M.A. in English Language and Literature. He attended Harvard Law School, from which he received the LL.B. degree, and practiced law in New York City for three years before returning to Princeton, where he earned his Ph.D. in English Literature. Later he taught English at Georgetown University, specializing in Victorian fiction. He presently lives in Washington, D.C.