Miss Strangeworth is a female Jekyll and Hyde. She is generally considered a conservative, respectable woman and a distinguished citizen because of her old family name. She is respected, but not especially well liked. We see indications that some of the townspeople may treat her deferentially, but regard her as a pest and a busybody. Perhaps some of them even sense intuitively that she is not as nice as she appears.
Mr. Lewis, the grocer, does not like this woman because she is a nuisance. She buys everything in small quantities to give her an excuse for coming back frequently. She has nothing to do with her time, and her grocery shopping is a big event in her day. She believes she is a very important person in this little town and wants to be treated accordingly. She orders one chop, a box of strawberries, a can of cat food, and one tomato. This suggests that she will have to come back tomorrow for another chop, another can of cat food, and perhaps another tomato. There are half a dozen people in the store, but she takes precedence and makes Mr. Lewis wait while she thinks about what else she might need. She buys a quarter of a pound of tea at a time and expects Lewis to remember that she always buys her tea on Tuesdays.
Miss Strangeworth looked at him curiously and then said,”It’s Tuesday, Mr. Lewis. You forgot to remind me.”
“Did I? Sorry.”
“Imagine your forgetting that I always buy my tea on Tuesday,” Miss Strangeworth said gently. “A quarter pound of tea, please, Mr. Lewis.”
Her interaction with the grocer is important because it shows that he is a bit afraid of this sweet little old lady. He knows she could cause him trouble if he got on her bad side. She is a force to be reckoned with. Why doesn't she buy a pound of tea at a time? Why doesn't she buy a half-dozen cans of cat food? She likes being waited on, and she likes having something to do. She likes getting around in her town and chatting with people, always keeping an eye out for the possibility of evil. She has already poisoned Mr. Lewis's life by sending him one of her anonymous letters suggesting that his grandson may be robbing the cash register.
When Miss Strangeworth goes to mail her poison-pen letters at the post office, the behavior of the young people she encounters tells a lot about what they think of her.
There was always a group of young people around the post office…. Most of the children stood back respectfully as Miss Strangeworth passed, silenced briefly in her presence, and some of the older children greeted her, saying soberly, “Hello, Miss Strangeworth.”
When she accidentally drops the letter to Don Crane on the floor at the post office, Dave Harris tells his girlfriend Linda Stewart he will hand-carry it to the Cranes' home, suggesting tht there might be a check in it. Linda's response shows her dislike.
“Catch old lady Strangeworth sending anybody a cheque,” Linda said. “Throw it in the post office. Why do anyone a favour?”
So Miss Strangeworth is respected, feared a little, but not really liked by anyone. She has a dark side, like Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll, which she keeps hidden from the world until she accidentally drops her poison-pen letter to Don Crane on the post-office floor.