He drove into the work at 9:00. He walked through the squad room to scattered welcome backs.
Banyon sat behind Niles’ desk and immediately stood. “Just keeping it warm for you Cap.”
“Sit down,” Niles said, “the chair is yours.”
“You already retire?” Banyon said sitting.
“Started the paper work this morning,” Niles said closing the door and leaning against it.
“Don’t you have a least a month?” Banyon said.
“I’m going to come in and help with the transition,” Niles said. “I’m using all my vacation time. As soon as the house sells, I’m gone.”
“Wow,” Banyon said. “I thought I’d have to transfer out to sit in the captain’s chair.”
“You know, this has been building longer than I thought, just didn’t know it.” Niles said. “Two months ago I sent a letter to the chief highly recommending you. The truth is, I didn’t want to lose you. I knew a couple of spots were going to come open. I gave retirement a passing thought then. I guess that planted the seed and before I knew it, pow!”
Yeah, Cap,” Banyon said. “They showed me the letter and asked me if I wanted to move to another precinct. I told ‘em I didn’t want to follow anybody but you.”
“Geez,” Niles said, “makes me feel bad about all the crap cases I shoved on your desk.”
“So what will you do rattle locked doors on businesses ofter closing and swing a billy club?” Banyon asked.
“You could say that,” Niles said. He pulled a chair close the desk and sat down. “But I got a near two year old unsolved murder case to look into. They found a guy laying on the harbor floor at low tide with an anchor tied to him. No enemies, everybody was his friend, town mayor. Nobody seen anything and nobody knows anything.”
“Sounds tough,” Banyon said.
“Not really,” Niles said. “In New York, somebody is killed you start with six or seven million suspects, in Brewster Harbor you start with about 11 or 12 hundred.”
“Any clues?” Banyon said.
“Yep,” Niles said, “the anchor.”
“How’s that,” Banyon said.
“Find out who’s missing an anchor the time of the murder or who bought one. And someplace a boat exists that may have some evidence in it; the boat used to bring the body there.”
“Cause of death?” Banyon said.
“Autopsy says undetermined,” Niles said. “Cremated, nothing left to examine. Ashes spread at sea.”
“What about suspects?” Banyon said and grinned. “I’ve eliminated a couple, Charley and Shelly, they didn’t live there at the time. Other than that…”
“Motive?” Banyon said.
“Loved by all,” Niles said.
“Find the concealed hate or rage,” Banyon said confidently.
“Or find the one he hated,” Niles said. “Any thoughts, Captain Banyon?”
“A friend will kill his friend if there’s a woman involved,” Banyon said. “Cherchez la femme.”
“Thanks, Banyon,” Niles said.
“I remember you telling me that a while ago,” Banyon said.
“The Frankie Ruzzo murder,” Niles said. “All you had was Frankie’s splat on the side walk. Everybody was thinking mob.”
“As soon as we found out his mistress lived on the 14th floor, the rest was paper work,” Banyon said. “I remember she bragged how easy it was to push him out the window; she wanted to tell the world.”
“After being treated like his punching for a couple years, it was her way of emasculating him,” Niles said. “She needed to tell the world.”
Niles stood. “I’ll be around the office if you need me.”
Banyon needed no help. Niles’ presence in the squad room became less noticeable than the drinking fountain.