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Bed Bugs

by Taylor Mccafferty

THREE CLIENTS IN TWO DAYS. THE P.I. BUSINESS IN PIGEON FORK, KENTUCKY, SURE WAS PICKING UP. ... First came Ruta Lippton, owner of the Curl Crazee hair salon, who said her house was "broken-and-entered." Winslow Reed, an ex-nerd who was now married to ex- cheerleader June Jacoby, told the same story. Both Winslow and Ruta lived in the fancy new subdivision called Twelve Oaks, and both claimed the sheriff wasn't taking them seriously, on account of how nothing had actually been stolen. Last came nasal-voiced, horse-faced Phyllis Carver. Nothing was missing from her place either, but then poor Phyllis didn't have much to take. I was shocked when June and Ruta suddenly called me off the case. But shock didn't begin to describe how I felt when I headed back out to Phyllis's and found her shot dead. Near her body was a scrap of paper with a single number seven scrawled on it, which, as clues went, was pretty pitiful. Then, while I was waiting for the sheriff, I found the three tape recorders. One still had a tape in it-a recording of Phyllis's husband Orval and a woman who definitely was not Phyllis. In bed. Having a real good time. That made Orval a prime suspect, but I still didn't know what them other two tape recorders were doing in Phyllis's kitchen cupboard, and what the heck Phyllis meant by that number seven. ...

Pet Peeves

by Taylor Mccafferty

In Pigeon Fork, Kentucky, it's not easy to be a hard-boiled detective... Bein's as how my office is over my brother Elmo's drug store, it's kind of tough getting the right private-eye atmosphere. Fact is, since I'd left Louisville homicide four months ago, my biggest case was the mystery of the stolen feed sacks. But things sure got interesting quick when Cordelia Turley sashayed up my stairs and hired me to find out who killed her old Grammy. Not to mention Grammy's cat and a parakeet named Sweety-bird. For one thing, Cordelia was real pretty-a Pigeon Fork 10, which was maybe a 7 or 8 anywhere else. And she was willing to pay my standard rates. Then came the slashed tires. The threatening letters. The folks who said Cordelia's dear old Grammy was a looney, and the ones who said she was a brazen, shameless hussy. It was a real interesting case all right. But nothing Haskell Blevins, P.I., couldn't handle...

Ruffled Feathers

by Taylor Mccafferty

STRICTLY SPEAKING, BODYGUARDING'S NOT MY LINE. BUT IN PIGEON FORK, KENTUCKY, A DETECTIVES GOT TO BE A TAD FLEXIBLE... Back in high school, Priscilla Vandeventer once decked a guy for calling her "Skinny." Well Priss wasn't skinny anymore-she was downright curvy-but she was as hot-tempered as ever. She made it perfectly clear she didn't want a bodyguard-not even me, Haskell Blevins, Pigeon Fork's one and only private eye. Her father, old Jacob Vandeventer-the poultry millionaire-had hired me after receiving a note demanding $100,000 in return for Priscilla's safety. Trouble was, no one had actually kidnapped Priss-yet. Matter of fact, I was beginning to think Priss herself had sent the note to make Jacob sit up and take notice. It was plain to see that Priss was overworked and underappreciated at Vandeventer Poultry, all on account of being a woman. Then someone bashed Jacob in the head with his prized bronze chicken statue, and stuck a knife in his chest, and I didn't know whether Priss was my client or my number one suspect. ...

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