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A new girl arrives at the Sugarhouse, Belle Saint Marie, “a dusky Cajun princess with snapping black eyes and a body no man could ever forget once he'd seen it.” A lovers’ triangle develops, with tragic consequences for local hayshaker Paul Greenfield. The villagers elect a new mayor who fires Bill Rassmussen and hires a real cop. The new mayor and the new cop close down the Sugarhouse and Ma Rudledge and her girls leave town in a brand new robin’s egg blue Cadillac convertible. The author leaves Cooperstown. Twenty years go by. He has never returned to his hometown and has lost touch with his four childhood friends. In New York City, just back from Europe, he has a sudden urge to recapture the past. Has Cooperstown changed? What about Turk, Wes, Frank and Willy One-Nut? What has become of them? And the Sugarhouse? Is it still standing? He gets on a bus. “Supposing the whole town had been bulldozed away to make room for a strip mall, what one thing would I want to remain, to remain forever? Immediately I thought of the Sugarhouse. Yes, the Sugarhouse. Smash everything if you must, but don't destroy the Sugarhouse. That was my prayer.”

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