With tears streaming, Maggie Sullivan rushed into the night leaving the
Mary Francis Tavern behind her. She hoped the winter darkness would
conceal the shame she felt caused by the abrupt rejection received
moments before by the father of her three children. The young woman
sensed her stomach revolt and gasped for air fearing she might have to
stop and vomit on her hurried trip home.
She had been so sure of herself!
Drunk with love, she was absolutely certain that everyone who counseled
her over the years regarding her relationship with David was incorrect
in their analysis of the situation, and most likely jealous. Not
surprisingly, more than one friendship ended poorly because of her
association with him, David Evnowith, the father of her children. It
even cost her the one connection that hurt the most, that with her
A widower, the city policeman raised his only daughter by himself from
age seven. However, the teen years brought raging hormones and
rebellion. His little girl, who once worshiped him and whom he loved
deeply, was becoming a woman. He was at a loss to know what to do with
her. His approach was a blunt military style of parenting unfamiliar to
both; and the more he attempted to control the harder she fought against
She was besieged with the desire to leap out into life while completely
unprepared for the journey. On the other side, he stood strongly opposed
to her involvement with any person or thing that might affect her future
negatively. In the end, he blamed himself for her mistakes, taking
responsibility for her actions, feeling he had somehow let her down.
When she became pregnant at sixteen, he stepped in and convinced her to
give the baby up for adoption. They were fortunate in that his childless
sister, Monica Besanto, was desperate for a child and gladly accepted
the tiny bundle of life as if she were her own daughter naming her,
Maggie fought him at first, but soon saw the wisdom of the decision and
allowed the adoption. The father, David Evnowith, never said a word. He
traded his silence for the release of being required to pay support.
Everything seemed to be coming together; and then, Driscoll made the
He ordered Maggie to stop seeing David Evnowith.
A torrid screaming match erupted that swept from one side of their home
to the other. It ended with Maggie packing her belongings.
Here mind ablaze in a blind fever, she ripped through her closets and
dresser throwing her belongings into paper sacks, a beat-up suitcase,
and anything else that she could find that would hold more than a few
items. That day, in an uncontrollable rage, Maggie moved out of her
childhood home and left behind the one person in her world who would
gladly have surrendered his life for her safety. As the car drove her
away from all she knew, carrying her into an uncertain future, she
glanced back only once to where her father stood in the open doorway
still begging her not to leave.
His fists were clenched in anger, but more than one tear left a moist
trail on his red tinged cheeks as the Lincoln carrying his daughter sped
away with David Evnowith at the wheel. David, who gutlessly had stayed
with the car as Maggie drug everything out of the house that she was
taking with her, and piled it in the trunk and backseat with her father
following pleading with her to stop and reconsider her decision.
A gust of cold penetrated Maggie’s thin dress chilling her. With teeth
chattering, she wrapped her arms tightly about herself. In her hurry
to escape into the night, she left behind her winter coat. The theater
costume offered no protection.
It was the very dress she wore for six nights of production at the
Player’s Theater (a small local amateur playhouse) of the play The
Crucible. She played the part of one of the women wrongly accused of
being a witch and put to death. Maggie loved theater, and she loved to
dress up. Like many, her favorite day of the year was Halloween. She
would often sneak up on friends and say, “”trick or treat” then
gave them a big hug before they could say anything in reply.
Earlier that day, she told a friend, the theater’s seamstress and
wardrobe manager, that she was going to wear the dress to meet David
that evening because she felt “wicked,” or so the older woman later
recalled. The two shared a laugh. Then, Maggie rushed away to meet David
and to misfortune with the seamstress calling over her shoulder a
reminder to make sure the young mother took a warm coat with her to wear
and to not stay out too late.
Unbeknownst to Maggie, while she was excitedly preparing to meet David,
he was being pressured by his parents to end the relationship. It was
not the first time they spoke to him about his liaison with Maggie.
However, it was the bluntest.
He was told this time coldly that if he did not break it off that
evening, his parents would not only end it for him in a very ugly and
public way, but then there was the family financial chest he must
consider, which could always be left to some charity, if not to a maid
or butler to add insult for his failure to comply. It did not matter
that their son was the father of three daughters by Maggie. They wanted
her gone from his life ….
Tears blurred her vision as she started to cross the street forgetting
the danger of the hidden ice lying beneath a layer of freshly fallen
snow. She slipped once, stumbling over frozen ruts left where tires had
earlier turned snow into slush, which then froze when evening came and
the traffic reduced to a trickle, and the temperature dropped. The slush
had turned into traps where dark ice lay beneath a light coating of
freshly fallen show.
Maggie managed to catch herself and was able to regain her balance just
as she saw the not too distant headlights of an oncoming bus. It was the
last one on that route for the day; and, it was being driven by a
snow-blind driver who was barely functioning.
Maggie stood in the middle of the street wiping her tears away staring
blankly at the oncoming lights when she suddenly felt the presence of
another just off to her side. “Bitch” a female voice said with a
Maggie turned to look. “Mayleen?”
“Bitch. What are you doing sneaking around with my man, David?”
“Your man? David is MY man, Mayleen. He’s the father of my three
The headlights from the bus bounced off the snow and ice illuminating
the quarreling women as the vehicle drew closer. Then, David was
suddenly there, attempting to intervene. But, he was not fast enough,
and with a snarl and glint in her eye revealing complete hatred for
Maggie, Mayleen pushed her backwards into the path of the bus.
Maggie’s scream was short-lived as she fell and was struck by the bus.
The vehicle passed over her, crushing her.
Later, the passengers all reported to the police of seeing a man forcing
a tall woman from the scene. She stopped several times, turning back and
shouting obscenities in the direction of the bus, while the man pushed
and pulled her away from the scene. No one who witnessed the accident
saw either of the couple’s faces or could provide any clues as to
Excerpted from "The Pelman Murders" by Gordon L Kuhn. Copyright © 2012 by Gordon L Kuhn. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.