Something So Divine – John Lindermuth
This week I’m hosting author, John Lindermuth.
A native of Pennsylvania, J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor. He has published 14 novels and a regional history. His articles and short stories appear regularly in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is currently vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Something So Divine
When a young girl is found murdered in a Pennsylvania rye field in the autumn of 1897, Ned Gebhardt, a feeble-minded youth known to have stalked the victim, is the prime suspect. Incidents involving another girl and gossip stir emotions to a frenzy, nearly leading to a lynching.
Evidence against Ned is circumstantial and there are other suspects. Influenced by the opinions of Ned’s stepsister and Ellen, a woman who has attracted his interest, Simon Roth, the investigator, is inclined to give Ned benefit of the doubt. Then he discovers damaging evidence.
Still unwilling to view Ned as a cold-blooded killer, Roth puts his job and reputation in jeopardy as he seeks to assure a fair trial for the accused.
Here is an excerpt from, Something So Divine
The sound startled Jane Felty. The woman rose from the table where she’d been sorting clothes to iron and went to the door. She stepped out on the porch and looked down the lot to where her husband was chopping a fallen tree into kindling. The tree had toppled weeks earlier in a storm, and Elwood wanted to get the yard cleared of the debris and the wood stored before bad weather. He noticed her now, halted his work, and came up to the porch, ax held loosely at his side. “Something wrong?”
“I thought I heard a shot.”
Elwood shrugged. “Nothing unusual about that. Especially not at this time of year.”
She nodded. “I know. It just startled me is all.”
He gazed fondly at her swollen belly and smiled. The baby was due in another month. They had other children (though this one was an unexpected blessing), and he knew pregnancy did things to women’s emotions. “Nothin’ to worry about.”
Jane returned his smile. “I know. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Didn’t. I was due for a break.”
She jerked her chin in the direction of the tree. “How’s it coming?”
“Slowly. It’s a big tree. Should last us a good ways into the winter.”
“Would you like something to drink?”
“A cold tumbler of buttermilk would be nice.”
“I’ll bring it. Some fresh-baked cookies, too.” Jane turned and went back in the house.
Elwood started back to his project. A drink, a snack, and maybe a smoke before he went back to work. I’m a fortunate man to have such a good wife. The thought brought a smile to his lips. A peripheral movement caught his attention then. He looked up the hillside to his right as a twig snapped. Something moved through fallen leaves. Elwood stared but couldn’t make out what it might be for the thickness of the foliage. A deer, he surmised, swinging the ax over his shoulder and seating himself on the tree trunk to await Jane and his refreshments.
Minutes later, George Wynn, another neighbor, saw lanky, stoop-shouldered Ned Gebhardt come out of the woods and stalk across his pasture toward the town road. The boy carried a shotgun in one hand and was accompanied by his old cur dog. Wynn shook his head. Boy is bound to get in trouble and too dumb to know it. How many times has Schaeffer warned him about hunting on his land? Well, none of my business, George told himself and went back to digging potatoes in his yard.
Something So Divine can be purchased here:
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