Murder in Cross: December 22, 1931


Mary Beth McKay was a dark-haired, attractive young woman with an infant son by a married man. Not an unusual situation, but one that most women would rather not find themselves in. Mary Beth was not an average woman. She did not care if the father was an active part of the child’s life or not. She was pleased to have the baby and quite capable of raising him on her own.

I knew Mary Beth in passing, enough to pause and say hello, to sit and have a cup of coffee with on the rare occasion that I saw her in a restaurant or at the train station.

This afternoon, I found her on the edge of my property, half-hidden in a culvert and stripped bare. She was close to death in the snow, her eyes wide as blood frothed up from the holes in her chest. When I bent down to see if I could help her, she managed to fix her attention on me and speak a single word.


Mary Beth had a sister named Kathryn, who had married a man named Daniel Skein. They lived, as far as I knew, in Boston, where Daniel worked as a lawyer for a small firm.

I held Mary Beth’s hand until she died, and then I rose and made my way into town. I found Kathryn in Mary Beth’s apartment, the door ajar as she hummed and packed a bag for the child, who lay asleep in his bassinet.

I had no desire to cause a scene for a growing boy needs his sleep.

I slipped into the room and choked Kathryn Skein to death, the soft kicking of her heels no louder than a hard rain.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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