KEVIN PRUFER “The River Market Murders.” Detective Armand #2. Short story. First appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, September 2006. Probably never reprinted.

   Armand is a homicide detective in Kansas City, a town that hardly ever shows up as the scene of a detective fiction story, except maybe in the pulps. In this tale, River Market is an area undergoing urban renewal, and at least one person is violently opposed to young people moving in and squeezing the former residents out. Several of these newcomers have been murdered, all with the same M.O., but the latest doesn’t quite fit the pattern.

   She’s older, for one thing, and she lives out in the suburbs. Her husband doesn’t know why she’d be downtown. She had no friends in the area, no reason to be there.

   Armand is an excellent detective, and the puzzle continues to gnaw at him. He also can relate to the anguish the woman’s husband is going through. He lost his wife in an automobile accident a year or so ago, and the thought of it often keeps him up at night.

   As a detective story, this is a good one, but it’s also one of the darker ones I’ve read recently. Armand finds himself identifying more and more with the victim’s husband, and whether the end of the story is a happy one, I will leave you to decide, if ever you get a chance to read this one.

   Armand’s first appearance was in “The Body in the Spring,” published in the June 2005 issue of AHMM. There were only the two. As to why I thought this one was so well written, I went investigating and discovered that Kevin Prufer is a very well known poet and a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston. His Wikipedia page is here.