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Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Half Wakened Wife

Cassell 1946
Cover art by Heade

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AT five minutes before three in the afternoon Jane Keller IXentered the bank and took her place at the end of the line in front of the window marked PAYING AND RECEIVING J-M. As though her entrance had been an anticipated signal, the man in the dark blue pin-stripe, single-breasted suit took from his breast pocket a leather wallet, worn shiny from much use. Slowly he walked toward the line where Jane was standing. Jane Keller frowned abstractedly at the clock on the far wall. It was easier for her pinched face to adjust itself to an expression of worried futility than into a smile. The line before the teller's window shuffled slowly forward. Jane Keller kept pace with it, from time to time looking up at the clock in the manner of one who must necessarily devote an increasing amount of mental energy to rearranging the pattern of life, and finds the responsibility too great a strain. The man in the blue pin-stripe moved up. He was a shrewd-faced chap in the early forties, nervously wide-awake. A keen student of character would have classified the man as a savage, vicious little fighter who would never stand up in an aggressive, toe-to-toe slugging match

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