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Alafair and Shaw soon discover that all is not well in sunny Arizona. Elizabeth's marriage is in tatters; tensions are high between the Anglo and Latino communities following Pancho Villa's murderous raid on Columbus, New Mexico; and Alafair suspects her sister is involved in an illegal operation to smuggle war refugees out of Mexico and into the United States. And now Bernie Arruda is lying on his back in a ditch, staring into eternity.