Ace reporter John Cotton is a fly on the wall -- seeing all, hearing all, and keeping out of sight. But the game changes when he finds his best friend's corpse sprawled on the marble floor of the central rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Suddenly Cotton knows too much about a scandal centered around a senatorial candidate, a million-dollar scam, and a murder. And he hears the pursuing footsteps of powerful people who have something to hide ... and a willingness to kill to keep their secrets hidden.
- Edgar Awards (Edgar Allan Poe Awards)
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
May 15, 1990
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Fly on the Wall by Tony Hillerman
John Cotton had been in the pressroom almost an hour when Merrill McDaniels came in. He had written a five-hundred-word overnighter wrapping up the abortion-bill hearings in the House Public Affairs Committee. He had teletyped that and a shorter item on a gubernatorial appointment to the state desk of the Tribune. Then Cotton had stood at the window a tall, wiry man with a longish, freckled, somber face. He had thought first about what he would write for his political column, about how badly he wanted a smoke, and then had drifted into other thoughts. He had considered the dust on the old-fashioned window panes, and the lights the phosphorescent glow of the city surrounding the semidarkness of the state capitol grounds. In the clear, dry air of Santa Fe there wouldn't be this glow. Each light would be an individual glitter without this defraction of cold, misty humidity. Twenty blocks away, by the river below Statehouse Hill, the glow was faintly pink with the neon of the downtown business district. It outlined vaguely the blunt, irregular skyline: the square tower of Federal Citybank, the black glass monolith of the Hefron Building, the dingy granite of the Commodity Exchange te seats of money and power rising out of a moderately dirty middle-aged Midwestern city, clustered beside a polluted Midwestern river. Not very large and not very small. About 480,900 people, the Chamber of Commerce said. Exactly 412,318 by the last federal census, not counting the satellite towns and not counting those who farmed the infinity of cornfields and the hilltops of wheat that surrounded it all.
Farm-belt landscape. Rich. Nine-hundred-dollar-an-acre country. Beautiful if you liked it and Cotton had thought again that he didn't like it. The humid low-level sky oppressed him. He missed the immense skyscapes of the mountains and the deserts. And he thought, as he had thought many times before, that one day he would write Ernie Danilov a letter and tell the managing editor he was quitting. He would enjoy writing that letter.
And then, just a few minutes before McDaniels walked in, he sat down again at his desk. He typed "At the Capitol" and his byline on a sheet of copy paper and wrote rapidly.