does mrs. clare's attitude toward the news of the murders surprise you?
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It is hard to tell how someone is going to react to news that someone hears about a murder. Mrs. Clare is skeptical; as the postmistress, she probably knows a bit about everyone's business and has probably "seen it all and heard it all." Nevertheless, she is shocked, as one would be; her reaction may also be that of a woman who does not want to believe something so awful could happen just down the way.