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by Arthur Vidro

About the Author: Arthur Vidro is a freelance mystery editor. He edited (and wrote the introduction for) "Dr. Poggioli: Criminologist" (Crippen & Landru, 2004). His short mysteries have sold to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and to Women's World. His non-fiction has appeared in Mystery Scene Magazine. He self-publishes "Old-Time Detection," a thrice yearly journal that explores mystery fiction of the past. He has served as an Edgars judge three times. Oh, yeah, he once worked as a court stenographer.


I am the invisible trial participant.

Sit in the corner, mouth shut and ears open. That’s my job.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

“We have.”

I raise my head and hold my breath—along with everyone else in the courtroom.

“How do you find the defendant?”

The verdict. Will my crime be punishable?

I didn’t want to work on this trial. But when my name—Ms. Meredith Monterd—was called, what could I say to get out of it? “Select someone else; I have a conflict because I committed the crime”? Far safer not to admit I knew the parties involved. So I kept my mouth shut and persevered.

But I knew what had really happened. It started almost twenty years ago, when I was a young red-headed widow with a small child and the determination to make do. Found myself a semi-decent job and thought I was on my way. All I lacked was a man. So I went to church and prayed for one.

In church that day was the most gorgeous, charming man imaginable. Woody Scotlock was 6’3, trim but muscular, with movie-star looks and the gait of a stud. It was exciting just to watch him walk. He was one of the most successful businessmen in our small town. He owned two laundromats, plus an old-age home. Educated, too. Still in his thirties and determined one day to run for mayor of Lanobby.

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