A Purple Place for Dying

A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald Read Free Book Online

Book: A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald Read Free Book Online
Authors: John D. MacDonald
Tags: Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Hard-Boiled
wondering if that rock slide blocking the road was all accident. So I climbed up there and found that somebody had blasted that rock down. They wanted Mona to walk to the cabin. Why? I don't have any idea. If she had somebody with her, it gave somebody else a chance to run off with the car, so there would be a lot of time before it could be reported. They'd need time to clean up the area and lug the body away."
    "He didn't say anything about that before, Jass," Buckelberry said.
    "I can think of a lot of things a good cop would do," I said. "We were conspicuous in that little white car with the top down. Somebody would have had to see us and remember us between Carson and the cabin. And I think it wouldn't hurt to get a lab crew up to that cabin. I think that slug must have made a hole as big as your fist in her wishbone on the way out. All they would need is one little bit of blood or tissue that was overlooked."
    I stood up. "I get pretty goddam tired of this routine. I saw a woman killed. I knew her about two and a half hours. I didn't like her particularly. You can sit around and dream up your little fairy stories about where she is now, but she is damned well dead, and somebody wanted a lot of confusion about this, and I have the hunch John Webb is dead too. Was his old car checked for prints? You can chase me out of the county. I think it would be a favor. Because if I stay around here, I'll be sticking my nose in where it doesn't belong. Maybe that lab crew has a good polygraph operator. Why not check my story out? Hell, that would be too easy."
    The fried-meat muscles bunched at the corners of Buckelberry's jaw. He had good control. He waited it out and looked at Yeoman and said, "I can do a little more checking, Jass."
    "You do that."
    "How about this fellow?"
    Yeoman stood up and moved toward me and looked me up and down. "Hooo-eee," he said. "Now isn't he a big one. Fred, why don't you keep him around a spell?"
    "Locked up?"
    "Maybe he'll stay anyways."
    "I plan to stay, Mr. Yeoman."
    Without taking his eyes from me, Yeoman said, "Fred, pick up the jug and get on out to your car and wait there a minute. I want a word with you before I drive on home."
    The Sheriff hesitated, picked up the bottle and left.
    As the door closed, Yeoman said, "Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is figuring out mean tricks to play on Jass Yeoman. You stand on top of the little hill, they can see you from all sides. Fast as you spin, your back has to be toward somebody. They could not care about her one way or another, but they could try to use her to gut me. Do you know what I'm talking about?"
    "I think so."
    "Give an old dog too many hot trails, he might just set and howl instead of moving out. You ever see one of those clowns that has all the dishes spinning on top of the sticks, and he has to run like hell, from one end of the line to the other, keeping them spinning?"
    "Yes."
    "I've got a lot of crockery up in the air right now, son. Running back and forth so fast, anybody puts a stick between my legs, by the time I could scramble up there could be money spilled all over the place. And someone there to catch it. Some might even slop over onto Fred, just incidentally like."
    "So?"
    "I like a man first thing, or I don't like him and never will. I don't know where you stand. You look like you could turn mean as a soretooth snake. If you come up with anything you think worth selling to me, I'll buy it."
    "Such as?"
    "If you can't figure that out, you won't ever have anything worth selling."
    He winked and ambled to the door, winked again and went out into the night. Drunk or sober, he was a man who would make sense as long as he was conscious. But he had lost me. He gave the impression of being aware of conspiracy. It had occurred to him I might be playing some more devious role in this matter, whatever it was.
    I gave up. When I knew more, maybe I would understand it. So I went to bed. He still didn't believe his wife was dead.

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