colloquial for 'not a' or 'not one' or 'never a'
He wished “folks would stop yappin’ and try to understand” why he and his wife, though they lived scarcely a hundred yards from the Clutter home, had heard “
nary a nothin’”—not the slightest echo of gun thunder—of the violence taking place.
disturbing the public peace; loud and rough
Nowadays, Garden City, which was once a rather
raucous frontier town, is quite subdued.
a sum of money paid in compensation for loss or injury
Then, responding to questions, he said no, neither of the women had been “sexually molested,” and no, as far as was presently known, nothing had been stolen from the house, and yes, he did think it a “queer coincidence” that Mr. Clutter should have taken out a forty-thousand-dollar life-insurance policy, with double
indemnity, within eight hours of his death.
show the form or outline of
The prints, not noticeable to the naked eye, registered on film; indeed, the
delineating glare of a flashbulb had revealed their presence with superb exactness.
a situation in which no progress can be made
But the diary notation that most tantalized Dewey was unrelated to the Clutter-Rupp, Methodist-Catholic
invulnerable to fear or intimidation
Holcomb’s widowed postmistress, the intrepid Mrs. Myrtle Clare, who scorned her fellow townsmen as “a lily-livered lot, shaking in their boots afraid to shut their eyes,” and said of herself, “This old girl, she’s sleeping good as ever.
in an imperfect or faulty way
Left nothing in the house
amiss, left no indication they had searched for anything with the possible exception of [Clutter’s] billfold.
failing to accomplish an intended result
Acted without a motive, if you care to discount an
abortive robbery attempt, which the investigators are wont to do.
diffusing warmth and friendliness
Here, it said, wearing a kid grin, was a very personable character, clean-cut,
affable, a fellow any man might trust to shave him.
make a groove in
He could not help noticing that Dick, busy
gouging under his fingernails with a fork prong, was uninterested in his dream.
a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum
But he told the joke well, and Perry, though he was in some measure a
prude, could not help laughing, as always.
make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
The four coffins, which quite filled the small, flower-crowded parlor, were to be sealed at the funeral services—very understandably, for despite the care taken with the appearance of the victims, the effect achieved was
a feeling of righteous anger
“Oh, no, you don’t,” said the man, his voice thick with inebriated
away from the correct or expected course
Second, accompanied by a K.B.I. agent, Mrs. Helm had explored every room at River Valley Farm, toured the house in the expectation that she might notice something
awry or absent, and she had.
contemptibly small in amount or size
All the same, Dewey could not accept the theory that the family had been slaughtered for
paltry profit—“a few dollars and a radio.”
beyond reasonable limits
The expert execution of the crimes was proof enough that at least one of the pair commanded an
immoderate amount of cool-headed slyness, and was—must be—a person too clever to have done such a deed without calculated motive.
a natural elevation
The car was parked on a
promontory where Perry and Dick had stopped to picnic.
indicate by signs
Unlike Perry, he was not convinced that a broken mirror meant seven years’ misfortune, or that a young moon if glimpsed through glass
Perry was not a gifted liar, or a
prolific one; however, once he had told a fiction he usually stuck by it.
be a regular customer or client of
But the case was by no means closed for the people of Finney County, and least of all for those who
patronized Holcomb’s favorite meeting place, Hartman’s Cafe.
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
Actually, Eve never known such
bedlam. It’s noisier than a bomb raid. Train whistles. Coyotes. Monsters howling the bloody night long. A horrid racket.
a means of communication between groups
The Cowboy found for the tattooed drifters a room in the house of an uncle, undertook to improve Perry’s Spanish, and shared the benefits of his
liaison with the holidaymaker from Hamburg, in whose company and at whose expense they drank and ate and bought women.
lacking zest or vivacity
The Cowboy skippered the boat; Otto sketched and fished; Perry baited hooks, daydreamed, sang, and sometimes fished; Dick did nothing—only moaned, complained of the motion, lay about sun-drugged and
listless, like a lizard at siesta.
approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
Inez was a prostitute who had
accosted Dick on the steps of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City (the visit was part of a sightseeing tour taken to please Perry).
a state of supreme happiness
Still, they were remarkable photographs, and what made them so was Perry’s expression, his look of unflawed fulfillment, of
beatitude, as though at last, and as in one of his dreams, a tall yellow bird had hauled him to heaven.
hostile or warlike attitude or nature
Then, too, the severity of Dick’s “wake-up” speech, the
belligerence with which he’d proclaimed his theretofore concealed opinion of Perry’s dreams and hopes—all this, perversity being what it is, appealed to Perry, hurt and shocked him but charmed him, almost revived his former faith in the tough, the “totally masculine,” the pragmatic, the decisive Dick he’d once allowed to boss him.
run away, often taking something or somebody along
On their last night in Acapulco, a thief had stolen the Gibson guitar—
absconded with it from a waterfront cafe where he, Otto, Dick, and the Cowboy had been bidding one another a highly alcoholic goodbye.
make off with belongings of others
But while the
purloined guitar presented no ownership problem, his remaining property did.
a bold outlaw
(And Perry could remember many another rodeo spectacle—see again his father skipping about inside a circle of spinning lassos, or his mother, with silver and turquoise bangles jangling on her wrists, trick-riding at a
desperado speed that thrilled her youngest child and caused crowds in towns from Texas to Oregon to “stand up and clap.”)
a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
Whole sections of me Dad was ignorant of. Didn’t understand an
mild and pleasant
Wearing considerably more, Perry, one
balmy evening in wartime 1945, found himself inside a Honolulu tattoo parlor having a snake-and-dagger design applied to his left forearm.
the act of taking something from someone unlawfully
They nailed me to the cross—
larceny, jailbreak, car theft.
establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
substantiates this failing for as her letter progresses her judgment gives way to temper
transparently clear; easily understandable
her thoughts are good,
lucid, the products of intelligence, but it is not now an unbiased, impersonal intelligence.
a right reserved exclusively by a person or group
“It is almost impossible for a man who enjoys freedom with all its
prerogatives, to realize what it means to be deprived of that freedom.”
agree or express agreement
The previous midnight, when Dick had brought her to the room and told Perry that she was going to sleep there, Perry, though disapproving, had
acquiesced, but if they imagined that their conduct stimulated him, or seemed to him anything other than a “nuisance,” they were wrong.
someone who practices self denial as a spiritual discipline
His suits fitted as though he had borrowed them from a stout friend, and his face, seldom suggestive of his profession, was now not at all so; it could have been that of an
ascetic absorbed in occult pursuits.
the group following and attending to some important person
But no worse than the other members of the K.B.I.
entourage—Agents Duntz, Church, and Nye.
a temporary police force
Word spread, and men for miles around made up a
rich and superior in quality
The Dodge slowed down, and Dick gave the man a