The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave: A Western Mystery by Bill Pronzini
English | 2019 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 5.2 Mb
The Peaceful Valley : Bill Pronzini’s riveting western mystery, The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave, takes on the modern world with old-fashioned violence—and his Peaceful Valley is anything but…
Nothing much happens in Peaceful Valley, Montana. And that’s just how Sheriff Lucas Monk likes it.
Aside from the occasional drunken brawl or minor disturbance out on the reservation, he hasn’t had to resort to his fists or sidearm in years.
That is, until mid-October, 1914, when the theft of a wooden cigar store Indian sets off a crime wave like nothing Lucas has ever seen. Teenager Charity Axthelm goes missing, Reba Purvis’s housekeeper is poisoned with cyanide Reba is sure was meant for her, and Lucas’s gut tells him that this is only the beginning.
It’s not long before the first corpse shows up, bringing the peace in the valley to a thundering end.
“I’d just come into the sheriff’s office on this Friday morning and was about to start a fire in the woodstove when Henry Bandelier burst in. The courthouse has an oil furnace in the basement, but my office and the jail are at the back end and the furnace doesn’t put out enough heat to suit me once the temperature starts dropping. So I’d convinced the county commissioners to have the old Vogelzang potbelly installed to warm me and my deputies, and such prisoners as we might have in the lockup, through the winter months.
Bandelier, who owns the tobacco shop on Main Street, is the excitable sort, and this morning he was in a real dither. So flappable, in fact, with his feet dancing and his arms sawing up and down, he put me in mind of a pint-sized, red-faced albino magpie about to take flight.
“Sheriff, I been robbed!”
That brought me to attention. I didn’t much care for Bandelier—he was a loudmouthed, opinionated little booger, and no more honest than he had to be—and the feeling was mutual. He’d backed my opponent in the last two elections and made critical remarks in public about me and my methods. But you don’t have to care for a man to do your duty by him.
“The hell you say. When did it happen?”
“Middle of the night,” he said.
“How much is missing?”
“How much? All of it, of course!”
“All the money in your cashbox?”
“Money? Who said anything about money?”
“Well, you did … didn’t you?”
“No! Wasn’t money that was stolen. It was my Indian.”
“You heard me, Sheriff. My prize wooden Indian’s been pilfered.”