Knight's Gambit (Vintage International)
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Gavin Stevens, the wise and forbearing student of crime and of the folk ways of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, plays the major role in these six stories of violence. In each, Stevens’sharp insights and ingenious detection uncover the underlying motives.
On Wednesday night he received a telephone message from the Mottstown agent that Tyler Ballenbaugh had filed his claim. ‘All right,’ Stevens said. ‘Send him the message Monday, to come in Tuesday. And let me know when you know he has gotten it.’ He put the phone down. I am playing stud poker with a man who has proved himself a gambler, which I have not, he thought. But at least I have forced him to draw a card. And he knows who is in the pot with him. So when the second message came, on the
and the bailiff went out and returned and whispered to the judge, and the judge rose and banged his gavel and recessed the court. I hurried home and ate my dinner and hurried back to town. The office was empty. Even grandfather, who took his nap after dinner, regardless of who hung and who didn’t, returned first; after three o’clock then, and the whole town knew now that Uncle Gavin’s jury was hung by one man, eleven to one for acquittal; then Uncle Gavin came in fast, and grandfather said,
lent not only a perspicacity but a sort of solid reasonableness to the most fantastic inconsequence. ‘Oh,’ she said. She looked at his uncle. ‘Lock him up how?’ she said. ‘I know that much about law, myself: that you cant keep anybody locked up just because of what they are planning to do. Besides, he’d just give some Memphis lawyer two or three hundred dollars and be out again the next day. Isn’t that true?’ ‘Isn’t it?’ his uncle said. ‘Remarkable how hard a lawyer will work for three hundred
matching the white pawn. ‘And watch what you are doing this time.’ He thought he did, was, had, always had every time. But all watching what he was doing seemed to accomplish was to show him a little sooner than ordinary that this one too was going to end just like the other did: until suddenly his uncle swept the board clean and set up a single problem with the horses and rooks and two pawns. ‘It stops being a game then,’ he said. ‘Nothing by which all human passion and hope and folly can be
door. And he lost.’ ‘Lost?’ his uncle said. ‘A princess and half a castle, against some of his bones and maybe his brains too? Lost?’ ‘He lost the queen,’ he said. ‘The queen?’ his uncle said. ‘What queen? Oh, you mean Mrs Harriss. Maybe he realised that queen had been moved the same instant he realised he would have to call the bet. Maybe he realised that queen and the castle both had been gone ever since the moment he disarmed the prince with that hearth-broom. If he ever wanted her.’ ‘Then