The Perfect Victim
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It was Monday morning when Al Jackson drove into Willow Creek, a hot, dusty little Midwest farm town. Twenty-four hours later, Grace Amons, a local waitress—unmarried and pregnant—was found murdered; Al Jackson, who had inflicted nothing worse on her than a few old jokes, was accused of rape and murder; and an ingenious young killer was stirring up the townspeople to make sure that the accused man never reached a courtroom alive.
while Roger, relieved that they had managed the length of the hall undetected, watched, smiling happily. He started to open the door to return to Grace’s room, but Grace put a hand over his. “I’m not in such a hurry, are you, Roger?” “Me?” Roger said. “Oh, I’m not in any hurry. Not me.” Grace uncapped the bottle. “Do you mind a girl who’d drink from the bottle, Roger?” Roger motioned his hands. “Holy smoke. Not me, Grace.” He watched Grace lift the bottle and drink from it in an abandon that
she?” Buggie asked. “That little girl, just coming down the block.” Roger frowned, then said, “Clyde Brown’s little girl, I guess. Why?” Without answering, Buggie watched the little girl come down the sidewalk, bouncing up, with a quick kick, then strolling almost aimlessly, wandering over the sidewalk in childish abandon. Buggie looked across the street at the row of frame houses. At the far end of the block, a woman was sweeping the walk leading up to her front porch. Buggie looked back
George and rubbed his chin slowly with his knuckles. “I’m getting experienced,” George said. “I’ve talked to at least twenty people today, and I’ve poured my guts out to every one of them. I still haven’t got anywhere, but at least I’m learning how to get to the point fast.” “Okay, George. Give it to me bluntly.” “This town is about ready to explode.” “George, how can you be sure of a thing like that? How do you know you’re not—” “Go out, John. Look. Listen. There’re people on every comer
“Sit down over there,, Buggie. How are your grades?” “I’ve been very lucky, sir,” Buggie said. “I have a ninety-five per cent average.” George whistled. “That’s fine, son!” Buggie smiled modestly. “I don’t know. I’m taking a purely liberal arts program. I sometimes feel that if I’d approached something more scientific, the challenge would have been greater and consequently more satisfying.” “It all depends on what you want to be. What are you shooting for, Buggie?” Buggie spread his hands.
groomed black hair. Yet it was something else, too, a sort of comfortable relaxed feeling when they were together. “Just thought I’d check with you about that ad I’ll be running. I’m putting it on page one with the bank ad.” “I leave it up to you, George.” Amanda had never married, George knew, and yet there was nothing particularly old-maidish about her. She was, he guessed, about thirty-seven or thirty-eight; but he could not imagine that anyone ever had or ever would molest Amanda. “How