By Harry Neil
When a man finds that he is good at a thing, it is only natural that he should develop a fondness for it. That is probably why Boynton Fenwick developed a fondness for murder. It begs the question, though, of how he discovered that he was good at murder in the first place. For that, we can probably thank Millicent Kerr.
Not that Millicent was anxious to be murdered. To be sure, she had a reputation as a melancholy child, one given to taking long moody walks along the riverbanks, but one could not say that she was morbidly depressed; certainly not that she was suicidal. On the contrary, her teacher would later say that Millicent was bright, competent, and even ambitious. “She dreamed of becoming the mistress of her own school for girls,” Ms. Clancy would say that fateful spring of ‘34, “and she actively pursued that goal in every aspect of her life.”
Every aspect, that is, except for those long solitary walks. Only Millicent’s one close friend and confidante, Maggie McAllister, knew the actual secret of those walks. Millicent had told Maggie that she walked alone to remember, to respect, and to commune with her lost mother. The mother who had cherished and nourished Millicent through her early childhood. The mother who had instructed Millicent that she must never let being a girl stand in the way of her dreams. The mother who had developed a quiet cough, then an aggressive cough. The mother who had gone away to Asheville to take the mountain air, and who had returned to Millicent in a mahogany coffin. The mother whom Millicent must never dishonor and never forget. The mother whose place in the home had been taken by a kind but inadequate stranger.
Millicent was as devoted to her father as to her mother, and his happiness was more important to her than her own. She understood that she must never allow any shrine to her mother’s memory to intrude on the harmonious whole that her home had again become upon her father’s remarriage, so she chose as her shrine the river. The river where she and her mother had walked and talked so often. The riverbanks where they had picnicked and shared their deepest secrets. Where they had thrown wildflowers into the lazy currents to watch them borne downstream, someday to merge their tattered remnants with the sea. Where they had talked of the soul and its inexplicable voyage into the infinite beyond. Millicent’s riverside walks were spiritual exercises, sacraments that she could not share with any other living being.
Boynton Fenwick’s eyes had always followed Millicent. Even as a child, long before he felt any stirrings in his loins, Boynton had understood that, while he knew no reason why he would pursue the fairer sex, that must inevitably change. It was a thing that happened to all boys, whether they wanted it or not, an unavoidable change in the plans for his life as he might see them now. Boynton assumed from an early age that, when that time came, Millicent Kerr would be the object of his attentions.
Perhaps that all began at that Fourth of July celebration in ’26, when all the Rockport families gathered at the old bandshell to picnic, to sing, to give or hear speeches, and in general to socialize. The bandshell stood in a verdant park, with gently rolling knolls covered with green grass and punctuated with flowering shrubs that seemed always in bloom. The knolls formed terraces just made for the spreading of picnic blankets, so that all the picnickers would have a good view of the bandshell.
It happened, in ’26, that the Fenwicks and the Kerrs chose adjacent spots to spread their picnic blankets. Boynton’s father was the town optometrist, respectable but not pretentious, so Boynton, a scrawny little redhead in faded shorts, was allowed to run barefoot about the park. The Reverend Kerr, on the other hand, reigned over the prestigious Covenant Presbyterian Church, as well as a couple of rural congregations unable to afford their own pastors. The Kerrs were prim, proper, and oh, so respectable, so Millicent, arrayed in a stylish drop-waisted frock and patent-leather slippers, sat gravely on the family blanket and watched the proceedings with folded hands.
Everybody sang along as the band struck up a series of patriotic songs. Singing together is a great social lubricant, and as people began to mingle more freely, the band switched to popular songs of the day. It was as they sang Al Jolson’s hit “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” that Boynton, munching his Cracker Jack and nursing his Nehi Orange, was struck by the little girl at his side. She was polished, poised, and pretty. He was rough, clumsy, and socially inept. Nevertheless, at that moment, Boynton set himself a new goal: he would watch over this delicate creature, and when the time came, she would be his.
Narcissism is an original sin of the male of our species, and it masks from its sufferer the fact that others may well have their own plans for their lives. We can probably blame that condition for Boynton’s failure to mention his plans for future affections to the intended object of those affections. It is doubtful whether Millicent shared Boynton’s interest, or even noticed it, but that mattered little to him. In those days of innocence, Boynton’s eyes followed Millicent much as an investor’s eyes follow the daily market reports.
That all changed one bright May afternoon, as Ms. Conklin was preparing to dismiss her class for the last time before the summer vacation. She congratulated all her brood for having passed their final exams and having earned the right to advance to the next grade in the fall. She heaped special praise upon Millicent Kerr. “Because of her hard work and studious habits,” Ms. Conklin said, “Millicent has earned a very special right. Millicent will skip the fifth grade!”
Boynton’s blood ran suddenly cold. His intended had turned on him. Boynton was bright, precocious even, and he knew that he was as nimble with his times tables as Millicent could ever be. He could split a sentence into a subject and predicate with unerring accuracy. He could spell, even the stupid words like “bureau,” and he knew that it was in 1492 that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. What had Millicent done that he had not? Why was she forsaking him? In Garrison Grammar School, each teacher ruled over a closed society, a walled kingdom within which its subjects found all their friends and made all their social contacts. Once Millicent and Boynton did not share a grade, she would be as inaccessible to him as that shiny Western Flyer bicycle that his father would not buy from the Western Auto store.
Boynton’s father, Needham Fenwick, did not believe in bicycles. Back in the nineties, he had broken his arm trying to learn to ride one. The arm had mended crooked, and the doctors had broken it again so that it would grow back straight. To Needham Fenwick, the bicycle was a demonic contraption. No child of Needham Fenwick’s would ever ride a bicycle.
Nothing burns the heart as do intentions thwarted, so while Boynton’s eyes still followed Millicent when possible, it was now with enmity, even hatred. Now hatred, especially secret hatred, is a cancerous thing. It starts as a single cell and grows to dominate its host. The once carefree Boynton Fenwick evolved into a bitter, scheming youth. With puberty, he grew from a scrawny kid into an Ichabod Crane of a teen, tall, sallow, and uncoordinated. His youthful beard grew in patchy and of an indeterminate color. He began to avoid his contemporaries, especially when they gathered to play sandlot baseball or to shoot hoops in the increasingly popular game of basketball. And when the fires of desire did kindle in Boynton’s loins, he directed them not into amorous pursuit, but into revenge.
So it was that when Millicent walked on the riverbank on a particularly blustery day in March, Boynton watched from the concealment of a myrtle copse, his fevered mind seething. How could he bring this false goddess down from her pedestal into the mire where she belonged? Fate intervened in the form of a sudden gust that snatched Millicent’s yellow straw hat and sent it whirling in playful spirals. Boynton’s pulse raced. The goddess had been uncrowned! He fixed his attention on the spiraling hat and with every nerve in his body, he pushed it down, down, onto the water. As if obeying his command, it dropped softly to the surface and settled there, and like a toy boat, it moored itself among the branches of a poplar tree that had toppled from the bank into the lazy stream. Boynton’s body stiffened, his eyes glazed, and a terrible roar in his head resolved itself into a loud, endless loop of “I’m Sitting on Top of the World.”
It all happened so fast, and so easily! Later, Boynton would not quite remember just how it did happen. How could it be that everything arranged itself so perfectly for him? The sudden wind, the fallen poplar, the easy path that tempted Millicent to navigate the fallen trunk to retrieve her property. More unbelievably, the big stick he found in his hand, the forked branch just made for grasping a slender neck and holding it under water, and then for tucking it under a submerged limb to be found later by others.
Nobody ever suspected any foul play. It was obvious that Millicent had tried to retrieve her hat, had slipped, had thrashed in the water, had been foiled by her petticoats, and had been caught by an underwater branch. The family mourned. The village mourned. Even Boynton pretended to mourn, but inside he was ecstatic. He had pulled it off. He had vanquished the evil one.
When circumstances align themselves for a man, when he falls victim to an incredible sequence of coincidences that work to his benefit, it is natural for him to believe that he has skill. Many a fortune has been won through just such accidental circumstances, and many such fortune has then been lost through just such false beliefs. Man is a creature of great ego, and he is not easily swayed by mere facts. Occasionally, very occasionally indeed, the final coincidence is that the incident has in fact exposed genuine talent.
So it was with Boynton Fenwick. After pondering the circumstances of the demise of Millicent Kerr, Boynton came to believe that he had carried off a difficult task, an especially difficult task for a sixteen-year-old, with special ease. He pondered this fact for some weeks, until he came to realize that the important aspect of Millicent’s demise was no longer that it was Millicent, but that it was a demise. Examining his soul from a fresh perspective, Boynton recognized a hitherto unknown gnawing hunger. Like a youth who has stolen his first real kiss, Boynton mused, “I really want to do that again.”
Opportunity does not knock as it did with Millicent every day, so Boynton’s ambition seethed within him for a long period of watchful waiting. When opportunity did next present itself, it leaped upon him with the suddenness and intensity of an earthquake. Boynton was walking along Elm Street, going it doesn’t matter where, and lost in thoughts that no longer matter, when little Billy Barnhouse suddenly swerved into his path on a shiny green Murray Streamline Velocipede. Boynton froze. Images of that unattainable Western Flyer exploded into his mind’s eye, pushing all rational thought aside. This child, this worthless slip of a child, this mere worm upon the face of the earth, had been gifted with one of the finest vehicles that money could buy, at least for his age group. Boynton, on the other hand, Boynton, about whom the sun and moon, about whom the entire universe turned, was denied even a common bicycle.
There was no justice! But there could be revenge! And the strains of “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” began to play in Boynton’s head.
Again, opportunity was quickly followed by means, and again, Boynton would not later recall the exact details. There was no river on Elm Street, but there was, at this particular moment, the Widow Morrison’s old maroon LaSalle sedan, lumbering along towards the A&P down at the corner of Second Street. The good widow was neither keen to observe nor quick to respond, her attention being focused on keeping the LaSalle’s hood ornament, a miniature cavalier, aligned with the curb. The late Doc Morrison, believing women to be simple creatures incapable of complex thought, had taught his wife to drive an automobile using the most fundamental of techniques. “Keep the little man walking on the curb,” he’d instructed her.
The widow was unprepared for the unexpected, so the green three-wheeler was beneath her white walled tires before she could react. When the housewives of Elm Street responded to her frantic horn blasts, they did not think to scan the street for any other persons. May Hudson, being watchful of the rising time of her special pumpernickel loaves, did note that it was exactly ten minutes to four in the afternoon when the cacophony arose.
Again, nobody suspected foul play. It was obvious that little Billy, absorbed in the delight of his new toy, simply pedaled into the path of the LaSalle, and that there was nothing Widow Morrison could have done to avoid the accident. Leticia Barnhouse was chided for not having watched the child more closely, but chided very lightly indeed, she being the grieving mother. The widow was not chided at all, but local citizens did note that the next time the LaSalle sallied forth, it was not Widow Morrison at the wheel, but Lucius Baldwin.
Lucius could neither read nor write, but his driving was legend. Everyone in Rockford, probably everyone in all of Rockfish County, believed Lucius had been driving the big black Lincoln Police Flyer that had led Sheriff Colin Ferguson to his death in ’24. The Lincoln was surely ferrying Rockfish County moonshine to the lucrative military speakeasies of Norfolk and Newport News. Its big V8 engine easily outpaced the sheriff’s Essex, but Ferguson persisted in his pursuit and the Essex wound up upside down and burning in Rockfish Creek.
No one ever saw that Lincoln in Rockfish County again, but a shiny yellow Stutz Bearcat took up residence beside the tarpaper shack that Lucius shared with his ancient grandmother Dorcas. Dorcas was born a slave, and she remembered Reconstruction all too well. Perhaps that’s why it was her policy never to cause trouble of any kind, and perhaps that’s why it was Lucius’s policy to cause as much trouble as possible. Prohibition and youth offered Lucius fertile ground to cultivate that policy. That, and the appearance of the Stutz, was evidence enough to convict him in the public mind.
Repeal, maturity, and a hunting accident quickly mellowed Lucius’s habits and reputation, and by the time of the velocipede incident, the Morrison clan—the widow had been prolific in her productive years—considered him a suitable, even an excellent choice for their mother’s chauffeur.
Reflecting back on the velocipede incident, Boynton marveled again at how easily things had organized themselves in his favor. No one would ever have reason to suspect foul play, but should they, no one would ever have reason to put Boynton at the scene. Even if, in some incomprehensible way, someone did think to question him, he had an ironclad alibi. Maggie Harrison would surely testify that at exactly ten minutes to four on that day, Boynton engaged her in a heated debate about her rigid enforcement of the sign hanging over her lunch counter saying, “baked potato only after 4PM.” Nobody would ever think to question Maggie’s word, she being a fairly simple sort, and Maggie herself would never think of how easily a lone customer could reset the lunch-counter clock while she bent to the task of tending her baking potatoes.
It was all too perfect. Not only had Boynton been the benefactor of another incredible sequence of coincidences, but apparently, he had talent, and talent must not be hidden under a bushel. Talent must be displayed, if only in private and to oneself. Talent must be exercised.
When a man has found his destiny, when he has suddenly stopped spinning like a weathercock and pointed himself resolutely in one direction, he may find hitherto unsuspected powers of concentration. He may suddenly abandon cherished avocations and replace sleep with restless scheming.
So it was with Boynton Fenwick. He was acutely aware that his last victim, a mere child, was beneath his station, and that his fine talents should not be wasted upon the inconsequential. It was time to select a target worthy of his newfound skills, one whose demise would be noticed and appreciated far and wide. It was time for a carefully planned test case that would establish, in his own mind if not publicly, just what Boynton Fenwick, this new Boynton Fenwick, this master of crime, was capable of doing. Abandoning his extensive stamp collection, Boynton brooded and schemed, schemed and brooded, and gradually formulated a plan.
Ms. Ruth Conklin, the hated Ms. Conklin, the very Ms. Conklin who had foolishly promoted Millicent Kerr ahead of Boynton Fenwick, had made something of herself. What her life lacked in romance it compensated for in industry. She had become the first female principal of Garrison Grammar School, and then of Rockfish County Central High. Finally, she had advanced to become Superintendent of Schools for Rockfish County. This despite her female status and a determined letter campaign to the Rockfish County Chronicle, protesting that her well-documented heart condition rendered her unfit. Doc Mebane’s public assurance that the lady’s condition was well controlled by a simple regimen of digitalis must have dispelled most doubts at the time.
Nevertheless, those prior events laid a foundation for Boynton’s new project. The hated Ms. Conklin was now a public figure of some importance and visibility in the county, even beyond. Her achievements as a woman were widely admired, and occasionally she accepted invitations to speak before various important bodies. She would do nicely. Boynton planned and prepared, prepared and planned, and finally the appointed day arrived.
Incredibly, no one was suspicious when Superintendent Ruth Conklin suffered a fatal heart attack, falling from the podium while delivering an inspirational talk to an assembly of school superintendents from across the state. People were certainly distressed, upset, even frantic, but no one was suspicious. Letters to the Chronicle of the “I told you so” sort only reinforced the general idea that this was something that was inevitable and so needed no further explanation. It was obvious what had happened. No one even thought to wonder whether someone might have tampered with the departed’s medical supplies, and no one would ever have thought to watch the cemetery in the wee hours, where a definitely inebriated Boynton Fenwick danced gleefully upon the fresh-made grave, the strains of “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” roaring in his head.
From that day, Boynton became a dedicated schemer. He had a new avocation, one that required a certain cunning and a good bit of planning. He realized that he needed the trust of the community at large. He must be a person above suspicion. He must have power in Rockfish County. He must have friends, important friends, very important friends. He set about to gain them.
In every small city there is a cadre of Men Who Matter, men who, because of wealth, office, or force of personality, cause the wheels of the city to turn. These men form bonds, and they gather to drink whiskey, hunt deer, and play poker. Boynton was, naturally, never a member of this group. Not only was he far too young to matter, but he preferred sherry to whiskey, he abhorred hunting, and he found poker crude and pointless. Nevertheless, he realized that, if he were to pursue his new avocation, he must cultivate these men, even somehow have power over them.
In every small city there is also a cadre of Women Who Matter, formed largely of the wives of the Men Who Matter, and distinguished by their power to exclude any woman not deemed worthy from their society. These women gather to drink tea, breed roses, and play pinochle. Boynton instinctively cultivated these women. He learned the arcane skills associated with the tea service. He planted a rose garden and made certain that at least one plant from the garden of every important woman grew there. He developed skill at pinochle, including the skill of not winning when winning would be impolitic. In short, he learned to fawn, and in so doing, he developed an invisible power of his own. Boynton’s scrawny appearance and bumbling awkwardness set him apart from other men. Ladies rightly recognized in Boynton a soul unstained by carnal lust, which clearly separated him from the throng of menfolk who, according to the age-old “battle of the sexes,” were regarded as the enemy. That made it natural for them to accept Boynton as one of their own number.
They failed, though, to discern within Boynton a soul heavily stained with a much more lethal lust, and when Boynton admired Stella Kelly’s football mums, to her delight, she completely failed to see his private vision of those mums as a spray on her casket.
Among the Women Who Matter of Rockford, Boynton was known as “that nice Boynton Fenwick.” Being a favorite of the Rockford ladies gave Boynton implicit influence over Rockford’s influential men, and that came in handy several times. Perhaps most important, when Pearl Harbor was attacked in ’41, and when most able-bodied young American men went to war, either voluntarily or through the draft, Boynton stayed at home in Rockford. Even though he was scrawny, uncoordinated, and weak, he was still eminently draftable. But for reasons never questioned and never made public, Boynton’s name simply never came up before his draft board.
Boynton spent his free time deep in thought, inventing clever and unusual ways to dispatch his fellows, and he found ways to implement many of these inventions over his fourteen-year career in Rockfish County. Many of these murders were quite trivial, but some were most complex. The one targeting Judge Henry Carter, for instance, required Boynton to travel to Mexico to obtain certain controlled substances. That trip rates special mention for another reason. It was while Boynton was in Mexico, supposedly to celebrate his twenty-first birthday, that Needham and Laura Fenwick died in their sleep, victims of a faulty floor furnace.
Needham Fenwick had dreamed all his life of spending a leisurely retirement traveling the world, and he had planned accordingly. He and Laura had lived frugally, saved aggressively, and invested wisely. Clarence Townsend, the executor of Needham’s will, found a surprisingly robust portfolio. Agreeing with Needham’s contention that his son lacked any concept of managing money or running a business, Clarence followed Needham’s instructions to safely provide for Boynton. He sold Needham’s optometry practice, added those funds to the portfolio, and arranged a steady monthly income for Boynton.
On his return, Boynton made a very public display of mourning. Then he bought a bicycle—and not a simple Western Flyer, but a fully equipped Schwinn Autocycle Deluxe. This even though he had just inherited his father’s ’38 Hudson Terraplane. He also bought a phonograph and several covers of “I’m Sitting on Top of the World.”
Boynton was now his own man, and able to spend his time as he wished. When he was not inventing new crimes, he played those phonograph records and browsed his collection of certain back issues of the Chronicle, those detailing his past crimes, or at least the publicly visible aspects of those crimes. Most were reported as “accidents” or “unexplained events.” Boynton delighted in the fact that not one soul who read the Chronicle had ever noticed that something must be dreadfully wrong in Rockfish County. Compared to his own advanced state the local police seemed gullible or outright incompetent. He never considered that an incredible sequence of coincidences, indeed an incredible sequence of such sequences, might have worked to protect him from detection for all those years. Boynton much preferred the simpler explanation—he was good at murder, and not simply good at doing it, but good at getting away with it.
When a man loves his work, and when that work has the prospect of going on without end, a man’s enthusiasm is bound to grow, perhaps to the point of giddiness. Boynton Fenwick became so engrossed in his murderous avocation that he thought of nothing else. It was fortunate that he had inherited a house and a modest income, and so had no need of employment; else body and soul might not have clung together. Of course, his projects did incur some expenses—witness that trip to Mexico—so Boynton lived simply and frugally, directing his resources where the most pleasure would result.
With the giddiness of success may come carelessness, and with carelessness, danger. The day came when Boynton made his first real mistake. After arranging for an alcoholic itinerant laborer named Leroy leFey to be struck and killed by a speeding midnight freight train, Boynton exercised his usual rite of joyfully but cautiously collecting and removing any evidence before the crime was discovered. On this occasion, joy dominated caution, and he foolishly left the dead man’s legs lashed together. Later, noting that that rope was missing, he realized with some horror that the authorities would know that the victim had not simply wandered, in an alcoholic haze, into the path of the freighter. This time they would call it murder.
True, nothing could link Boynton with the murder, but Rockford was not a big city, and there were only so many local people to suspect. Of course the railroad brought vagrants in and out and through town all the time, but if the perpetrator came that way he was surely long gone and almost untraceable. So Rockfish County Sheriff Lloyd Arthur would probably not waste too many resources investigating that angle. Boynton was bright, brilliant even, but also a bit paranoid, and long before any figure of authority could question him, he imagined those eyes watching his every move. It was time, he decided, to put his special skills on exhibit for the world to see. It was time to take the actions calculated so carefully over recent years. At the age of twenty-nine, Boynton thought it was time for his magnum opus.
Boynton visited the newly reopened Rockford Studebaker franchise— “First by far with a postwar car”—and bought a scarlet 1947 “which way is it going” Starlight Coupe. Rudolph Whitehead, anxious to return his Studebaker dealership to its prewar prosperity, was more than willing to arrange credit, but Boynton chose to pay cash. Rudolph did not find that strange, as Boynton’s modest lifestyle had earned him the reputation of a saver.
The Rockford Ladies’ Pinochle Club met Thursdays for lunch and play, with hostess responsibilities rotating among the members. That Thursday, the ladies were meeting at the home of the widowed Leticia Barnhouse of Elm Street. As Boynton approached the neo-Victorian decked in green and orange shingles, Marla Highsmith happened to glance out the window, and she chortled, “Letty, that nice Boynton Fenwick is coming up your walk.” Ms. Barnhouse beamed as she ushered Boynton into her parlor, crowded with loveseats, armchairs, and service tables, and offered him a seat in a soft, pink-flowered armchair. Boynton admired new frocks and hairdos, accepted tea and a cookie, and engaged in some fawning flattery before he finally announced the reason for his visit. He had typed out his Last Will and Testament, and he needed witnesses to his signature. Would any two of the ladies do him that favor?
Any lady would welcome the opportunity to perform a service so simple, yet so important, for that nice Mr. Fenwick, especially in the presence of her peers, so the competition was keen. Boynton finally selected Leticia Barnhouse and Harriet Arthur, the sheriff’s wife, for the honor, and he appeased the others with the promise that as time passed and situations changed, there would surely be codicils to be signed and witnessed. After the selected ladies had signed, he rose from his chair, bowed slightly, then donned his fedora and said his goodbyes, going forth to meet his destiny with a chorus of “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” ringing in his head.
The 1:27 express did not stop in Rockford. It picked up and deposited mail using the traditional hook and kick technologies, which only required that it slow down a bit. As its whistle sounded the warning for the several Rockford crossings, it was travelling about seventy miles per hour. The streets were deserted—the midday August sun kept most people indoors—so the train could have passed through unnoticed, but that was not to be.
There were few witnesses, but that mattered little, as there was never any question as to what had happened. Scarlet bits of Studebaker and of Boynton Fenwick still clung to the cowcatcher when the engineer finally brought the train to a stop almost a mile beyond the crossing.
The sheriff’s officers found the will Boynton had left prominently displayed on his writing desk. It was signed and witnessed and ever so proper, but the contents were shocking. The authorities deemed it necessary to bypass policy and make the will public, and the Chronicle printed it in its entirety the very next day. Rockfish County was scandalized. Letters poured into the Chronicle’s offices. For a time, the two lady witnesses feared to show their faces anywhere in the county. Sheriff Arthur had no real defense against accusations of gross negligence, and reluctantly submitted his resignation. Within two weeks, the retired sheriff and his witness wife filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Boynton’s will instructed that a court-appointed executor should liquidate his property and portfolio. He listed thirty-seven names and dates, beginning with Millicent Kerr in ‘34 and ending with LeRoy LeFey in ‘47, each with details of the true manner of death and a proud claim of Boynton’s role in those events. The will instructed that the executor divide the estate equally among the survivors of these thirty-seven murder victims “in recognition of the great personal joy that these persons afforded me during my life.” Since Boynton had no other family, he had omitted Needham and Laura Fenwick from the list.
Several of the families refused this bequest outright, but most considered it no more than their due—and a small compensation indeed for their loss. The Chronicle and its letter writers debated for some time whether Boynton’s will be about remorse or about braggadocio. Few recognized the truth: that it was just the simple gratitude of a complex man who had unfortunate skills and a fondness for murder.
(“A Fondness for Murder” was previously published
in Screaming and Other Tales, December 2020, Donella Press,)
Bio: Harry Neil is a gay retired computer programmer who gets much of his material from his birthplace in North Carolina’s Cape Fear Basin. He is now a permanent California desert transplant – preferring sidewinders to moccasins and cactus to kudzu – where he lives without the need for clothing or social media. His first collection of short fiction was recently published by Donella Press as “Screaming and Other Tales.” His short stories have been published in Carmina Magazine, Pink Disco, and in the“Revenge” collection from Free Spirit Press. He has also previously published his short story “The Diamond” on The Yard: Crime Blog.
His book “Screaming and Other Tales” can be purchased at Donella Press, or found in our Bookstore.