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River Bank Mystery (Part 3/3)

River Bank Mystery (Part 3/3)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grade 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.28

     challenging words:    plat, shadowy, death, slim, foundation, circuit, shotgun, killing, yonder, murder, layer, rocks, clearly, length, tragic, rough
     content words:    Adam Pope, Jackson Shaw, Joe Harris, Eben Tull

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River Bank Mystery (Part 3/3)
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Adam Pope is investigating the death of Jackson Shaw. Joe Harris, Eben Tull, and he have returned to the place where Shaw's body was found.
2     Pope looked at the rocks scattered in a thick layer along the bank. He knew that one of them was likely the murder weapon, but who could tell for sure? He stared into the deeper pool of water nearby. Hardly a ripple stirred the surface of the stream. Deep in its shadowy depths lay the long slim bodies of trout as they hid from the sun. It was easy to see why Shaw had come to fish.
3     "What was the disagreement between your families about?" Pope asked Joe.
4     "He moved some of the property markers between our farms before we moved in. It moved a sweet water spring from our side of the line to his. Thankfully, the spring was clearly marked on the county map for our farm. It wasn't until the circuit judge came through and made Shaw give it back that the problem was solved. My father hasn't trusted him since."
5     "I can understand why that would lead to hard feelings, but not to murder," said Pope thoughtfully. "There had to be some reason for killing him." He turned to Eben. "How did you come to be involved in all of this, Tull?"
6     "I was minding my own business, working in the field just up yonder. When I started plowing this year, I had a lot of trouble with stones. I'd just cleared the trees right along there last fall. I'd started putting the stones in heaps at the edge of the field. Today, I started loading them into the wagon. I will use some rocks for foundations to build my chicken house and smoke house."
7     Pope nodded absently. There was plenty of opportunity to find a suitable weapon here, but no way to prove who had used it, even if it was found. The river rocks were all rounded and smooth. His eyes fixed on an oblong rock. The edges were rough. It was about the size of a child's head and looked out of place.
8     Pope bent down and turned it over. Moss and dirt still clung to it in places, but there was no sign of blood. He studied the other rocks more carefully. Was it possible that the murder weapon had come from Tull's field and not the river bank?

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

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