Frank Strenlich, the Chief of Detectives at the 101st Precinct, stepped out of the green Corvair convertible into thick, glutinous brown mud that rose above the stitching in his leather shoes.
Moisture seeped in and soaked his black socks. The former Marine took pride in his neat dress, and cursed the man who had brought him so far out into the countryside on a Saturday afternoon.
Detective Kermit Griffin got out of the convertible, which he had been driving with the top down, despite the threatening sky. He stared at the cabin set amid the barren trees.
The crest of the hill rose behind them. Small pines, tangled bushes and briars covered the landscape. It looked wild and unkempt.
The cabin was small and square, rising to a peaked roof that probably meant it had an upper level inside, or a loft.
A porch ran around three-quarters of the building, sometimes a foot above the muddy ground, at other times an inch above.
Paint had peeled off the wooden walls, leaving streaks of stained, weathered wood. The rusty screen door had holes.
One of the two windows had a broken pane, imperfectly repaired with a piece of cardboard. On the left side of the house was a stone chimney.
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