ON OCTOBER 1, John Stafford, mayor of Hill City, was shot and instantly killed by a dope—crazed assassin named Dill. The next in line for the mayoral job was Lawrence Hall, president of the City Council. But, for some unaccountable reason, Hall refused the honor. In order to avoid becoming mayor, he resigned from the City Council and left at once for Florida, taking his wife and son with him. It now became the duty of Judge Samuel Rotherwell, chief justice of the Superior Court, to appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of the mayoralty until the next election. There were a number of substantial business men and civic leaders in Hill City whom Justice Rotherwell might have chosen. But to the amazement and consternation of everyone, he named—Hugo Bledd. That was how the Era of Terror came to Hill City...
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