A Grieving Father: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

In Eulogy in Black and White, a grieving father says he knows who’s behind the town’s string of  May 23 murders.

THE OLD MAN has found himself a seat on the iron bench in front of the library.

He’s dressed in a summer seersucker suit with a starched white shirt and red power tie.

His hair is thick, white, slicked back, and hanging down over his collar.

He looks like a Mississippi congressman from two or three decades ago, and his smile is warm and generous.

A hand-carved and expensive walking cane lies across his lap.

In Eulogy in Black and White, Book 2 in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, he tells newspaperman Graham Houston he knows who’s behind the town’s string of  May 23 murders.


Caleb Pirtle III

“I’m Buford McAllister,” he tells me, his voice deep, resonant, and strong.

“Graham Huston,” I say, shaking his hand.

His eyes are clear, his hands trembling.

“Attorney-at-law,” he says.

“Newspaperman.” It’s the first time I’ve used that term in connection with my name, and it sounds like a word from a dead or dying language possibly spit out by a prevaricator of the truth.

“I know what you’re looking for,” Buford tells me.

I nod and wait.

His cobalt blue eyes are looking past me.

His smile has not wavered.

“You want to learn the name of the gentleman who has left it up to the good people of Magnolia Bluff to bury nine of its finest citizens.”

“And you know who it is?”

“I do.”

“Is the killer a client of yours?”

“Not at the moment.”

“A friend?”

“Not anymore.”

“But you know the killer?”

“I do.”

“Tell me,” I say, opening my notebook, ready to start scribbling, “how is it possible that you know the name of the killer, but no one at the police department does?”

“They’re stupid,” he says. “They’re investigating the usual suspects, and there are no usual suspects this time.”

I’m not quite ready to second that comment or attempt to second guess it. But it’s obvious that Mister Buford McAllister is no stranger to the stark realities of law enforcement within the unpredictable confines of Magnolia Bluff.

“What is your interest in the murders?” I want to know.


“Care to explain?”

The smile darkens.

His chin quivers slightly.

“My son was murdered.”


“Middle of the night.”


            “Just wander around town for a while.” A tear moistens his right eye. “Keep a good lookout. Don’t trust anybody. Don’t believe anybody. This town will lie to you. This town is evil as hell. Only one way to find the man behind all of these killings.”

“What’s that?”

“Find the meanest snake walking the streets of Magnolia Bluff.” Buford stands and steadies himself with his cane. “I know. I’ve seen his eyes. Got death in them. God didn’t make a pair of eyes like that. Devil did. Devil killed my boy. Was the work of the devil himself. I know. I’ve seen him. I could smell the scent of brimstone on his breath.”

“Can you give me a name?”

“Saw his eyes.” Buford begins walking away. “Didn’t see his face. Doesn’t have a face. Doesn’t have a name.”

The old man suddenly stops.

His head jerks around.

The smile has returned.

“Yes, he does,” Buford tells me. “He does have a name.”

“What is it?” I ask.

“Lucifer,” he says. “Used to be an archangel.” He shudders. “Not anymore, he isn’t. Killed my boy. God kicked him out.”

Please click HERE to find Eulogy in Black and White on Amazon.

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