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This is a novel of small-town life. The town where roses are difficult is Shelby, in the Alberta foothills, and the time is the 1950s. Matt Stanley, the editor of the local paper, relishes the range of people he meets, from Willie MacCrimmon, the local shoemaker and demon curler, to the oldest resident, Daddy Sherry, all the way to the disreputable Rory Napoleon and his wife, Mame, who once conceived at the top of a ferris wheel "because there was nothing else to do." But when a sociologist arrives to study the town, Matt takes her under his wing, which produces unexpected results. From scenes of high comedy (as when Santa comes to Shelby, or when Rory Napoleon's goats invade the town) to gentle sadness, this 1990 novel shows W.O Mitchell at his traditional best.