"A Scraping at the Bones."
By Algis Budrys (1931-2008).
Illustration by Nick Zules (HERE).
First appearance: Analog, May 1975.
Reprints page (HERE).
Short story (15 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archive (HERE; scroll down to magazine page 136).
"What is the motive for murder in a world where everyone is equal?"
Somebody somewhere arrogantly believes they've gotten away with murder—and so they have, until Ned decides to pay a visit to the grieving widow. "It was funny," he says, "how
it all fell together . . ."
~ Charles Castelvecchio, deceased:
"He's still doing business; we reviewed his phone calls. He was part of a story conference half an hour ago."
~ Johnson, the Panorama Tower Wastes Processing foreman:
"Well, you sure as hell look young to me, to be handling something like this all by yourself."
~ Ned Brosmer:
"That's right, I do."
~ George Holmeir:
"I never heard of an MO like this. You're gonna be breaking new ground. They'll give it your name at the Academy—every time it ever comes up again, they'll call it a Brosmer. It'll be good for you when you're tired enough to apply for sergeant."
"Good heavens, Officer, I don't know every Tom, Dick and Harry who lives here!"
~ Timothy Fortnum:
". . . smiled from very far away."
~ Martita Fortnum:
". . . sat down at the foot of the circular stairs, one hand over her eyes, the other wandering idly . . ."
"She reached behind her to fully opaque the window wall."
~ Laurent Michaelmas:
". . . nodded. There was a slight flicker."
- The usual reliable places have plenty of data about Algirdas Jonas Budrys: Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).
The bottom line:
"Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television."
— Allan Stewart Konigsberg