The Tamarack Murders

The Tamarack Murders by Patrick F. McManus Read Free Book Online

Book: The Tamarack Murders by Patrick F. McManus Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick F. McManus
Tags: Mystery
smart. He’s read every one of them. Every supper he lectures me about philosophy and history and literature, and I don’t know what all. I tell you, Sheriff, if you want to be bored stiff you should come over for supper sometime.”
    â€œI may take you up on that, Sil. I’m kind of a book person myself. You mind if I take a look at Gridley’s library?”
    â€œLook all you want. You can even take some home with you, if you find something you like.”
    Tully walked over and checked the books. A lot of philosophy, science, and literature. He squatted down so he could see the bottom shelf. “Wow!” he said, glancing over at Sil. “What a collection of bird books! One of you must be quite the birder.”
    â€œOh, my goodness, yes! Grid got into bird watching a few years ago and became fascinated with it. He had to drag me along on his outings to look for birds, and pretty soon I got interested in them myself. We’ve gone all over the country, working on our life lists. I think Grid knows every kind of bird in the whole country by sight. I get a little bored with it at times, but it gives us a wonderful excuse to travel. Are either of you a birder?”
    Angie shook her head. “Not me, Sil. “Maybe someday, though.”
    â€œI kind of am,” Tully said. “For the first time in my life I saw a mountain bluebird a few weeks ago, after looking for half my life. The mountain bluebird in Idaho almost got wiped out fifty or so years ago when some government agency sprayed its nesting area from a plane, but I think it must be coming back. Mostly now when it comes to birds I’m partial to fried grouse.”
    Sil laughed. “I’m with you there, Sheriff! But I’m afraid Grid has got me excited about birding. Maybe it’s the travel. I’m one of those people who need an excuse to travel.”
    Angie finished her slice of banana bread and smiled. “Sil, that is the best banana bread I’ve ever eaten!”
    â€œWhy, thank you, Angie. We eat lots of it. Here’s the strange thing. Whenever the bananas turn slightly brown, Riker’s Grocery dumps them out back to be picked up by the garbage man. Grid swings by at five o’clock every Tuesday morning and picks up enough fruit and vegetables to last an army for a month. He drops most of it off for poor families he knows. Grid does the same thing with Helman’s Bakery. They sell day-old bread for twenty-five cents a loaf. Any bread you buy from a store is almost a day old anyway, at least that’s what Grid claims.”
    Angie, undeterred by learning the source of the bananas, munched a second slice appreciatively. “How many children do you have, Sil?”
    â€œNone, I’m sorry to say. Grid has two from another marriage, both of them smart as whips. They live with Grid’s ex and her husband, both of them nice people. That’s where Grid is right now. Little Grid just started first grade. He already knows how to read, but him and his teacher haven’t been getting along. So Grid went over to the school to get everything straightened out.”
    Tully walked back to the table. He had just sat down and bitten into his second piece of banana bread when he heard a car pull up outside. He wasn’t sure how Shanks would respond to a sheriff sitting at his table munching his wife’s banana bread. The door burst open. If Genghis Khan had ever been recreated and stood well over six feet tall and been shaped like a steel splitting wedge, he might have looked a good deal like Gridley Shanks. Tully imagined little Grid at three feet tall but the same shape. The image made him smile. He stood up and stuck out his hand. “Mr. Shanks, I’m Sheriff Bo Tully.”
    Shanks shook his hand. “I know who you are, Sheriff. Everybody in Blight County knows Sheriff Tully. When I saw the sheriff’s car out front, I figured I was in big trouble.”

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