In Cold Blood

What did the landlady tell Agent Nye about Perry, and what did Nye find in Perry’s box?


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From the text:

"Registered October thirtieth," the landlady said. "Pulled out November eleventh." Nye glanced at Smith's signature. The ornateness of it, the mannered swoops and swirls, surprised him - a reaction that the landlady apparently divined, for she said, "Uh-huh. And you oughta hear him talk. Big, long words coming at you in this kinda lispy, whispery voice. Quite a personality. What you got against him - a nice little punk like that?"

"Whatever it is, it ain't nothing big-big. Couldn't be. I never saw the man yet I couldn't gauge his shoe size. This one, be only a punk. Little punk tried to sweet-talk me out of paying rent the last week he was here."

Inside the Box:

"Hey!" she said as he carefully extracted and slowly examined Smith's possessions. "The sneak. That's my towel." In addition to the towel, the meticulous Nye listed in his notebook: "One dirty pillow, 'Souvenir of Honolulu'; one pink baby blanket; one pair khaki trousers; one aluminum pan with pancake turner." Other oddments included a scrapbook thick with photographs clipped from physical-culture magazines (sweaty studies of weight-lifting weightlifters) and, inside a shoebox, a collection of medicines: rinses and powders employed to combat trench mouth, and also a mystifying amount of aspirin - at least a dozen containers, several of them empty. "Junk," the landlady said. "Nothing but trash." True, it was valueless stuff even to a clue-hungry detective. Still, Nye was glad to have seen it; each item - the palliatives for sore gums, the greasy Honolulu pillow - gave him a clearer impression of the owner and his lonely, mean life.


In Cold Blood