By Cornell Woolrich (as George Hopley)
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Extra resources for Angels of Darkness
She thumbed through it rapidly. At first glance it seemed in perfect condition; it was hard to tell anything was the matter with it. If the borrower hadn't given her the exact page number--but Pages 41 and 42 were missing, as she had said. A telltale scalloping of torn paper ran down the seam between Pages 40 and 43. The leaf had been plucked out bodily, torn out like a sheet in a notebook, not just become loosened and fallen out. Moreover, the condition of the book's spine showed that this could not have happened from wear and tear; it was still too new and firm.
The underscorings weren't flush with some of the words. Sometimes they only took in half a word, carried across the intervening space, and then took in half of the next. One of them even fell where there was absolutely no word at all over it, in the blank space between two paragraphs. That gave her the answer; she saw in a flash what her mistake was. She'd been wasting her time on the wrong page. It was the leaf before, the missing Page 41, that had held the real meaning of the slashed words. The sharp instrument used on it had simply carried through to the leaf under it, and even, very lightly, to the third one following.
Indeed," she said forbiddingly. "I'm going off duty now. Could I... uh... " She would have preferred not to have to accept the offer, but those shadows down the street looked awfully deep and the light posts awfully far apart. "I am a little nervous about being out alone so late," she admitted, starting out beside him. " he asked cryptically. "No. " He just nodded knowingly, as though that explained everything. When they got to her door, he said: "Well, I'll do some more digging through the files on that thing, just to make sure.