From: Mystery Street, ed. Robert J. Randisi. Signet, 2001.
Interviewed by an attractive reporter from Detective Digest, Miami P.I. and horseracing aficionado Joe Standard is asked about his most bizarre case. He recounts the story of Abel Dexter, a manure hauler's helper who hired Standard to look into the disappearance of his wife Janie.
It turns out Janie's only been missing thirteen hours. Either kidnappers entered the house and took Janie without Abel's notice or she decided to leave him while she was washing the dishes and he stepped away to the bedroom. Standard decides either Abel is really shaken by Janie's disappearance or he is lying.
It's not until later that night, conferring with one friend who was a bank robber and another who's a reporter, that Standard begins to learn the truth of an intricate case that takes on more madcap charm when told as an anecdote to a pretty woman.
Robert J. Randisi recently passed along news that Dan A. Sproul died two years ago after a long illness. I regret Sproul won't be producing more stories with engaging prose and sharp local color.