When someone brutally murdered the postmistress of Ruby, Alaska, a small village on the Yukon River, the Alaska State Troopers believed they had a ‘locked-room” mystery on their hands. They suspected one of the villagers of killing Agnes Wright. After all, there are only two ways into and out of Ruby: either by boat on the Yukon River or by air travel on a small bush plane. Neither method of transportation is inconspicuous to or from a village where everyone knows everyone else, and a stranger’s presence warrants stares and whispers. Since the troopers heard no credible accounts of a stranger in town on the day of the murder, they began with the premise that one of the villagers committed the crime. But who in this small village hated Agnes Wright enough to beat her savagely and then shoot her?
1996 Postmaster. Behind the Badge. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Smithsonian U.S. Postal Museum. https://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibition/behind-the-badge-case-histories-assaults-and-murders/1996-postmaster
Murphy, Kim. 8-2-1996. Murder in a Town Full of Suspects. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-08-02-mn-30531-story.html
More Details Emerge in Killing of Postmaster. 7-19-1996. Daily Sitka Senitinel. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/10310101/more-details-emerge-in-killing-of/
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Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.