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All of Them Dead

I was still curious ______ the Fitches. "Did Fitch marry the woman who was looking after his daughter?"

Mrs. Johnson laughed as if I had asked her if there really was a man ______ the moon.

"Well, not married as you mean 'married'. Nothing official in the church or city hall, you under­stand. But I don't know. I only know what they tell me. And they don't know much what goes on ______ that big house ______ the mountain."

"Well, who was the second Mrs. Fitch?"

"She was a wonderful woman; she loved children and took them for rides ______ her horses into the hills. It was just after one ______ those rides that she died. Yes, she was really thirsty and Mrs. Munsing brought her out some nice lemonade. Well, she drank that lemonade and never got up ______ her chair. I tell you, no one felt like having lemonade ______ a while."

"Did no one think that the drink may have been poison?"

"Well, of course we did. But Mr. Fitch and the police chief determined it was some food poison­ing ______ the little sandwiches that she had taken on the trip ______ her. You know they get really bad ______ the heat."

"And Fitch inherited her money, too?"

"Yes, indeed. She had lots of money. She owned practically the whole town. There wasn't any­one growing up who wasn't paying rent ______ her family. And since she was the only child, her husband got it all. The same thing with the third wife who fell ______ her death.

"Clever, isn't he? Always marrying these rich women who have no other relations. Seems kind of strange that they all died, but I guess stranger things have happened. Well, you sit ______ a spell; I'm going in to watch TV. Come in when you want."

The next day ______ noon, I went back ______ the newspaper office and asked to see

the newspapers ______ the time ______ the deaths ______ the three Fitch wives.

That afternoon I was called into the chief's office.

Questions about the Story

1. What did the second Mrs. Fitch die of?

2. What did Fitch inherit from his second wife?

3. How did the third Mrs. Fitch die?

4. Where did Dwight go the next day?

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Looking for Clues

Directions: Read the passage and note the prepositions.

Rule Number One

When I walked into the chief's office, I saw from the look on his face that he was not going to give me good news.

"You like working here?" he asked without expecting an answer. "Well, you got to learn the rules. We all have rules and maybe here we have more rules than you did in New York. Rules keep us honest, you know what I mean?"

I said I didn't.

"Don't get smart with me. You know what I mean. Our rules keep us from getting in one another's way. You know what I mean."

I still didn't understand his point, but I nodded my head.

"That's good. Now, Rule Number One is we don't bother with the Fitch family." He looked straight into my eyes and I stared back into his. I didn't understand how the rule of avoiding someone would keep us honest. He slowed down his speech and raised his voice to make sure I would under­stand. "The Fitch family has been good to this town. They built this building we are sitting in and they built the courthouse. They built the school we all send our children to and they have given almost all of the police officers loans to buy homes. So we don't like to bother them unnecessarily. You know what I mean?"



I was beginning to understand. "Of course. Chief. There's no need to bother any citizen unnecessarily."

"Then why in heaven's name were you reading old newspapers about the accidental deaths of the Fitch women?" He stressed accidental to make sure that I knew that there was no doubt about the cause of the deaths. I wondered about how he knew I had been reading the old clippings. He answered my unvoiced question.

"My brother told me you have been in twice asking for stories on the Fitches. You want to tell me why?"

I replied that a new person in town must be familiar with all the major happenings of the town that formed the town's history.

"I'll tell you all you need to know. And what you need to know is that the deaths were accidental. The first Mrs. Fitch was flying her own small plane which got lost and was never found again. The second woman died of food poisoning."

"What kind of food poisoning?"

"FOOD! FOOD! FOOD poisoning. What more do you need to know?"

Nothing. I knew the third and last Mrs. Fitch had fallen off a cliff while walking with her step­daughter. There didn't seem to be any pattern to the deaths except that they all happened to wives of Mr. Fitch.

"Now, if I hear you're messing around in the Fitches' business again, you'll be on the first bus back to that city you came from."


Questions about the Story

1. How did Dwight know the chief did not have good news?

2. What didn't Dwight understand?

3. What had the Fitches done for the people of Flagstaff?

4. What excuse did Dwight give the chief for reading the newspaper clippings?

5. How did the chief threaten Dwight?

Directions: Read the passage and fill in each blank with an appropriate preposition. (Not all of the prepositions have been deleted.)

On the Case

__ that moment the intercom buzzed and the chief answered it. "Yeah? Sure, put him __. Good morning, Mr. Fitch...How are you this morning? Well, we couldn't be better __ here... nothing more serious than a few parking violations.... Yes, she was __ here, but you know how old people get times...yes, I didn't pay much attention __ her story, you know what an imagination your cook has... every one knows her family and her father being crazy and all; well, they just say she takes after her father.. .You DO?"

The chief turned __ me with a look __ astonishment __ his face. "Well, if you want, but I don't really see the need. Yes, sir. I'll be glad to help you settle the issue once and __ all. I'll send up Rodriguez to check __ it immediately.. .Who, sir? Why, sir? But he's just new, sir. He doesn't know anything __ the town, sir. Oh, I see. OK, sir. Yes, he's right here, if you would like to talk __ him."

The chief put his hand __ the receiver and said, "It's Fitch; he wants you to come and investi­gate the death of his last wife."

Fitch seemed very concerned when I talked __ him __ the phone. He said he had heard his cook was worried that there was some mystery connected __ the death __ his wife, and he would like the air cleared once and __ all. He thought I would be a good one to be put __ the case, because I would bring a fresh approach __ the problem. I think what he wanted to say was that he didn't trust any __ these small-town cops to do an efficient job. But I thanked him __ his confidence and told him I would be out __ his house soon.

I handed the telephone back __ the chief. "Is there anything else you wanted to say __ me, Chief?"

Questions about the Story

1. Why did the chief not want Dwight to visit the Fitches?

2. What woman were the chief and Fitch talking about?

3. Why was the cook worried?

4. What did Fitch want Dwight to do?

5. Why did Fitch want Dwight and not another investigator?

 

CHAPTER FIVE

At the Scene of the Crime

Directions: Read the passage and note the prepositions.

A View of the House

The Fitch house was thirty miles outside of Flagstaff. It was set back into the mountains with a steep, narrow road as the only access to the property. The chief said that all the police cars had been assigned to senior officers, so I would have to take a bus. The bus turned off the main road before we reached the road to the Fitch home, so I had to walk the last two miles. The air was cool in the moun­tains, unlike the still heat of the city. But I was hot from the walk, and I stopped at the gate to the private road leading up to the Fitch home. I sat on a rock and surveyed the peaceful surroundings and knew that the Fitch cook must be wrong. This place was too quiet, too peaceful, to be the site of a murder, let alone three murders. On the other hand, the motive was classic: husband marries rich women, kills them and inherits their fortunes. But that would be too obvious. Nothing like that hap­pens now in the twentieth century.

My watch told me it was time to get along. I turned up the drive and slowly climbed what I hoped would be the last mile to the house. I kept telling myself it would be easier returning.

As I turned a comer, I saw a figure move quickly through the trees and out of my sight. The forest was dark, so I couldn't really see if the figure was a man or a woman. It seemed to be a large figure, and he or she wore a straw hat that covered the head. Usually I would have called out to the stranger, but there was something about the forest that made me timid. I hurried to the house and kept looking to the right and left for another glimpse of the figure. I came into a clearing and could see the house across a broad expanse of lawn. It was an unusual house for the area. Instead of being one story high and spread out across the lawn, this one was compact and rose like a tower on the hill. From the win­dows you must have a view of the entire valley.

Questions about the Story

1. Describe the weather.

2. How did Dwight get to the Fitches?

3. How was the figure Dwight saw dressed?

4. Where did Dwight see the figure?

5. What is the view from the windows of the house?

Directions: Read the passage and fill in each blank with an appropriate preposition. (Not all of the prepositions have been deleted.)

An Inhospitable Welcome

I started toward the house but stopped when I heard a noise behind me. I turned around and saw a man dressed ______ a straw hat and a long cape like those worn by the Navaho shepherds

______ the region. He also had a rifle ______ his left hand.

"State your business, stranger."

"I'm _______ the police. I..."

"Police don't walk; they drive," he said raising the rifle level with his shoulder. "Doesn't seem right you being* ______ this land. Looking ______ things you ain't* supposed to be

seeing."

"I'm here at the invitation___Mr. Fitch. He called the police station and asked someone to come up."

"He didn't tell me nothing* ______ it."

"Couldn't we just go up to the main house and ask if Mr. Fitch is expecting me?"

"Visitors come ______ Sunday...Today ain't* but Thursday. I don't like changes. It's not

good." He motioned for me to precede him ______ the path.

At least he had lowered his rifle. I'm glad he didn't check me and find the small pistol I keep ______ my shoulder holster. By the time we reached the porch ______ the house, the

whole household had assembled. They were obviously curious ______ who was being led to

their house ______ gunpoint.

"Darjo, is that any way to treat a guest?" said an older man ______ a face that tried to look

friendly and welcoming, but somehow did not succeed.

"He didn't come ___ a car," replied Darjo as if that was a suitable reason to question someone at gunpoint. I began to wonder if Darjo wasn't a retired member ______ the Flagstaff Police Force .Darjo moved to the other end ______ the porch and sat ______ a step wiping the barrel ______ his rifle ______ a rag he had pulled ____ his pocket.

"My apologies again ______ your inhospitable welcome. We are very glad you were able to

come ______ such short notice. I presume you will be able to spend the evening ______us

here. That might facilitate your investigation. Let me introduce you ''____ the household.

This is Ms. Ryan, my personal secretary; she has been ______ the family for 15 years ever since my first wife was killed ______ the airplane accident. But we will talk of that later. Mrs. Munsing, please show our guest ______ his room." He took me by the elbow and led me toward this woman, white ______ fear. It was the same woman who had dropped her groceries ______front ______ my house last week.

"We will talk when you are settled. Just ask if we can do anything to make your stay more com­fortable. We should even have some casual clothes your size. You needn't dress so formally in the mountains."

I had no chance to express my gratitude or regret. It seemed I had no choice ______ the mat­ter. Mr. Fitch's businesslike manner had seen to everything and I was led away to my room without having properly accepted this unexpected invitation.

Mrs. Munsing did not say a word as she led me down the long hallway and _____ the nar­row flight of stairs _______ my room. '

"Here you are, sir," she said, opening the door onto a small, clean room ______ a balcony.

Questions about the Story

1. How was Darjo dressed?

2. How did Darjo act toward Dwight?

3. Where does Dwight keep his pistol?

4. How long has Ms. Ryan been with Mr. Fitch?

5. Where was Dwight's room?

____________

*non-standard English

CHAPTER SIX

Introduction to Sonia

Directions: Read the passage and note the prepositions.

Like Weeds in a Garden

I looked at the room briefly and turned to ask her if most visitors usually spent the night, but she had disappeared. Maybe they were right. Maybe she was just a crazy old woman. I walked to the balcony and looked out over the garden. Darjo had left the porch and was moving back into the woods. I wondered if it had been he that I had seen in the woods. The sun was beginning to set. It was just as well that I was staying the night. I don't think I would have found a bus back to town at this late hour. The sky was clear, and in the distance I heard the sound of a small plane. How could a murder happen in this tranquil setting? Mrs. Munsing must have a very active imagination.

My balcony looked directly into the garden, and I saw a young woman I hadn't seen before on the porch. She was tending the plants and carefully and slowly touching each one. That must be the daughter, I thought; at the same time, I made my decision to start my investigation with her.

The house was quiet as I passed through the halls and found the door that opened onto the garden. As I approached the garden, the girl looked up quickly and said in a frightened voice, "Who's there? Who's there?"

She looked right at me, or I should say right through me.

"My name is Dwight. Dwight Smith. I'm a guest of your father".

"You must be from the police," she said. "My father said someone was coming to investigate." She turned back to her plants. "I didn't recognize your step and you frightened me. But now I will know it, and you won't be able to surprise me anymore. Nothing surprises me here on the hill. Nothing changes here without my sensing it immediately." She said this directly at me, like a chal­lenge, then she moved to another plant and began feeling the soil at the base of the plant. "You may ask me questions if you want. I know all about police investigations. I have listened to a lot of stories about famous detectives. Dwight Smith is such a common name though. It won't sound very romantic in the newspapers when they write about all the famous crimes that you solve."

I laughed and said I didn't expect to find many crimes in Flagstaff.

"Then why are you here? You don't believe that these women whom my father married really died an accidental death, do you?" She didn't wait for an answer. I think she had already lost any faith she had in me.

"Nothing on earth is an accident. My blindness is not an accident. These plants are not an acci­dent. Those women my father married were not part of this hill. They were not part of the scheme of things; it was obvious they had to be taken away, like weeds in a garden."

Questions about the Story

1. Why was Dwight glad he was staying the night?

2. What was the view from Dwight's balcony?

3. Why did Dwight want to talk to Sonia?

4. Where did Dwight talk to Sonia?

Directions: Read the passage and fill in each blank with an appropriate preposition. (Not all of the prepositions have been deleted.) Some blanks may use more than one word.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 2067


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