She said irritatedly.
1. The Pearl Lagoon by Charles Nordhoff
I took my knife and opened the oyster he had handed me. It was very old and diseased; the shells seemed half rotten, pierced with the holes of borers, and the flesh of the creature inside had a sickly, greenish look. My forefinger went under the mantle — felt something hard and smooth, which moved loosely at the touch. Next moment I laid in Marama’s hand a magnificent pearl, the size of a marble, round, flawless, and glimmering with the sheen of perfect orient.
2. Recollection Creek by Fred Gipson (Yes, same guy who wrote Old Yeller, but this book will make you bust a gut laughing.)
…Grandma Elfie was a practical woman. She reasoned that a man could have worse faults than a fondness for turkey hunting. As I heard her explain it to Mama one time, turkey hunting wouldn’t keep a man away from his home of a night, but it would keep him out from underfoot during the day. So Grandma went to work and trapped herself a turkey hunter and a wild-horse rider and never lived to regret it…But there did develop one little rift between her and Grandpa to mar what otherwise might have been a perfect marriage. Grandpa persisted in shooting turkeys around the old Scallon burial lot.
3. Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram
Lord William’s hangman’s scowl loomed over them. “He attempted your life, Lord Adam? A priest and a rope, with all dispatch!”
“Why so much trouble?” he asked. He caught Ivar by the neckband and hauled him, oddly unresisting, to his knees. His head jolted forward, and a groan escaped him. His torn tunic pulled away, and the victor’s grin vanished. Julitta also saw the bloody, half-scabbed stripes across his shoulders, and caught her breath. For a moment Red Adam hesitated; then the knife point pricked under Ivar’s ear, and one eyebrow lifted at her. “It’s for you to say, my lady.”
“I will marry you.” There had been no hope from the first, she had only deluded herself.
4. Candlemas Bay by Ruth Moore
Guy liked to make out that the reason Grampie never went near the new dragger was because he liked his own old-fashioned gear, but Jeb knew better. Grampie’s boat was a little double-ender, a model not built nowadays. She was narrow, so that she pitched and rolled something wicked in almost any sea. He could handle her, but he said she was probably the boat Christ got out of and walked away from on the water. If Grampie stayed off the dragger, it was for the same reason Jeb himself did, because Guy didn’t want him aboard. And if he didn’t have a new boat of his own, it was because he had laid out so much money on Guy’s.
5. Star Rebel by F.M. Busby
The man looked around, saw nobody paying heed to him, and said, “Pig in the Parlor.”
Puzzled, Bran said, “I beg your pardon?”
“Pig in the Parlor! When I take my ship, that’s it’s name.”
Bran thought, then said, “You mean Escape?”
Then Malloy’s hand was to Bran’s throat, and the man said, “You and I know what I said. Anyone else does, you’re a dead cadet.”
6. Way Station by Clifford Simak
“Take your time,” the alien said. “I know it is not easy. And I do not know of a thing that I can do to make it easier. There is, after all, no way for me to prove I am from the stars.”
7. The Junkyard Dog by Robert Campbell
Let me explain a little something about how I fit into the organization of the Democratic party in the city of Chicago, County of Cook, State of Illinois. I’m not going to tell you everything about it. Who’s got a lifetime? That’s how long it take to learn the pecking order or what the late warlord of the Fourteenth, Eddie Lurgan — God rest his soul — sometimes called the “pecker order.”
8. The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
The divorce thing got started on Christmas Day. Daddy always said that Christmas is a joyous season when suicides and holdups and shoplifting and like that reach a new high and that the best place to spend the whole thing is a Moslem country. Mom says he’s right about that, if about nothing else. After last Christmas, I guess I kind of agree.
9. The Night of the Twelfth by Michael Gilbert (Any and all of Gilbert’s books, really.)
“They’re a bunch of stupid kids,” said Sacher. “It was only that Mr. Mollison was such an ass. I’m sorry, sir. But he was. You know what started the rot? It was in Scripture. One of them asked him what a harlot was. Well, really! That’s been a standing joke for years. All he had to say was, ‘It’s the biblical name for a tart,’ and they’d have known where they were.”
“What did he say?”
“According to those that were present, he blushed and said, ‘Well, Paine, it’s — um — a girl who has — er — lost her way.’ After that they pulled his leg until it nearly came off. When anyone on one of his walks took a wrong turning, they used to shout in unison, ‘Come back, you harlots.'”
10. Drink to Yesterday by Manning Coles (At least Rue Morgue Press has managed to get a few of them back in print editions, but again, the entire Manning Coles oeuvre should be available in e.)
“I mean there was no one else lived there, but judging by the glasses and sometimes plates that was to be washed up, he wasn’t much alone.”
“More glasses than plates, I imagine,” said the Lime grocer, who was on the jury.
“Order please,” said the coroner.”
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.