"And his name was . . . ?"
"Mr. Clark C. Schoenburg, Sir."
"He was a Sir?"
"No, I was addressing you, Sir."
"Oh. Time of death?"
"Last night, Sir."
"For Christ's sake, stop with all the Sirs."
"I'm sorry, Sir."
"What time last night?"
"The doctor should be able to tell us. He should be here momentarily."
"Okay, you go check with him."
Sheriff Hornby made his way across the lawns toward the road. Deveraux frowned grumpily at his back for a moment, the turned and stumped to the manor wall, where the body lay like a crumpled potato chip bag. He gazed at the body from several different angles, then bent down beside it to examine it more closely.
"You there," he snapped suddenly at me. "I need you to tell me something."
"Me?" I asked, surprised.
"Is there anyone else I could have been referring to?"
Admittedly, there wasn't, as Sheriff Hornby had been the only other company we'd had. I moved forward.
Being a writer for the town newspaper, I was not used to seeing dead bodies. Generally, my reporting encompassed such things as pie baking contests, the weather, or Pope, farmer Crawford's renowned pig with the cross-shaped mark on his flank. This sort of news rolled into our little town perhaps once in a generation, and I wasn't sure I was ready for it.
"I need you to tell me," Deveraux said, completely indifferent to the dead man before him, "have you ever seen this before?"
I looked down and let out a little gasp without meaning to.