For two years now he had drifted from one sibling to

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Unformatted text preview: e to sell or fight over. He hadn't seen Malcolm in a month, he said as he looked for a file among the landfill that covered his desk. The divorce had never been filed. His efforts to work out an agreement with Lydia's lawyer had Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, gone nowhere. "She flew the coop," he said. "Beg your pardon?" "She's gone. Packed up after the trial over there and hit the road. Took the kid, vanished." I really didn't care what happened to Lydia. I was much more concerned with who shot Malcolm. Pud offered a couple of vague theories, but they broke down after a few basic questions. He reminded me of Baggy—a local courthouse gossipmonger who'd make up a rumor if he doesn't hear a new one within an hour. Lydia had no boyfriends or brothers or anyone else who might want to shoot Malcolm in the heat of a bad divorce. And, of course, there was no divorce. The bad blood hadn't even begun! Mr. Perryman gave the impression of one who preferred to prattle and tell lies all day, as opposed to tending to his files. I was in his office for almost an hour, and when I finally managed to leave I ran outside for fresh air. I drove thirty minutes to Iuka, the Tishomingo County seat, where I found Sheriff Spinner just in time to buy him lunch. Over barbecued chicken in a crowded cafe, he brought me up to date on the murder. It was a clean hit by someone who knew the area well. They had found nothing—no footprints, no shell casings, nothing. The weapon had been a .44 magnum, and the two shots had practically blown off Malcolm's head. For drama, he unholstered his service revolver and passed it over. "This is a forty-four," he said. It was twice as heavy as my meager weapon. I lost what little appetite I had. They had talked to every acquaintance they could find. Malcolm had lived in the area for about five months. He had no criminal record, no arrests, no reports of fistfights, no dice shooting, disturbances, or drunken brawls. H...
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