Chapter 1 - Thursday, March 28, 1929
Clayton, New Mexico
Franny tripped up the courthouse steps with pounding heart when she spotted her father’s name and picture on the frontpage, wishing she could escape her imminent testimony at his murder trial.
Would rather go to Mr. Green’s English class and watch Opal make goo-goo eyes at every boy.
She never imagined being in Clayton, New Mexico’s courthouse for anything, except perhaps a marriage license when she was older. Instead, the marble floors, large windows, and polished paneled walls of the crowded building dwarfed her.
Since New Mexico forbade Mother from testifying for or against her husband, Franny was the first witness. She jumped as a deep voice said, “The defense calls Miss Francesca Tierra Campbell to the stand.”
This is it! Once she told what she knew at Father’s murder trial, though, he’d be released, and they would be the perfect family again.
Mother’s touch of love patted Franny’s back as she slid something into her pocket. “My rosary. I grew up using as a reminder to pray. I ’magine it won’t hurt for a Protestant to hold it under the circumstances. I’m proud of you for deciding to do this.”
Did she have a choice?
The town’s enthusiasm over President Hoover’s inauguration weeks earlier faded with anticipation of a homicide trial. She’d give anything to hear a presidential quote rather than rumormongering about her father.
One of the jurors, Mr. Kenny the butcher, scowled.