Bull by the Tale John Duncklee, University of New Mexico Press, $17.95, Softcover; 800-249-7737.

bullby-thetaleThese wryly provocative tales of southwestern Arizona range from the derring-do of yesterday’s Spanish Frontiersmen to the Happy Hour Gringos of today. Several tell of the search for elusive riches that lead to disappointment and death.

Other short but eloquent chronicles deal with travel. “Two Gold Coins” has two young fishermen sailing to New Spain where one finds love while his compadre dies. “Antonio Sings His Song” might have been penned  yesterday as a teenager desperately eludes the Border Police to find work in the States. Duncklee’s sardonic art is somewhat softened in the anecdote of lovelorn “Padre Mirandi,” daring Cupid’s arrows, but it soars into hilarious fantasy when “The Last Breakfast” is served to a Baker’s Dozen of tough hombres such as Butch Cassidy and Jesse James when they return from Hades to visit the Tombstone that never was. —William Garwood

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