Although Niles did not want to cross paths with Lucinda and her overt romantic advances, he did not want her to work in fear or face Mildred’s demise. He called her office several times a day. However, he was certain there would be no reason to target her. Quietly he entertained the thought Mildred knew something about the Petit murder.
Niles gained permission from Mildred’s younger sister, Connie, to search the house.
Mildred’s home rested at the top of the hill almost 300 yards away and directly behind the town hall. It was a pleasant cottage-like home, white, trimmed in maroon. The interior decorated pristine and dainty.
“Not really what I expected,” Niles thought as he walked around. “I figured something feminine, but rugged. I should have known her better. If I did she may have told me something.”
A small mahogany desk rested against the wall of the dinning room. “Too obvious,” he thought as he studied it. The desk top was up and locked. Niles ran his hand slowly down the back of the desk. A skeleton key hung from a nail. He placed the key in the key hole to the desk top. He pulled out the chair sat down, unlocked the desk top, and pulled it down.
Three small drawers were on each side of the back of the desk. Niles opened them. They were filled with the typical things found in a home secretary’s desk; pencils, pens, scissor, staples, paperclips, etc.
He paused. “Why lock something and have the key hidden? This can’t be this easy. This was the first place I went to. Unless she wanted something to be found.”
Niles pulled open a side drawer. Stationary, nothing out of the ordinary.
He opened a side door beneath the desk top; an atlas, dictionary, a large illustrated book about flowers.
Niles stood and walked into the bedroom. He looked through the dresser and desk. He looked at everything in the closet. An antique shotgun leaned against the back wall of the closet. He grabbed it and opened the barrel. “Empty,” he murmured. With his thumb he cocked the hammer. It moved sloppy. “Broken,” he murmured.
In the dinning room Niles ran the tips of his fingers across the dinning room table. “No dust,” he thought. Somebody has cleaned this place. Mildred’s sister said nobody had done anything to the place except for her to get the cloths Mildred was buried in. It seems like nothing. It’s better to find out now than wonder six months from now why it wasn’t investigated.”
Niles looked in his phone and found Mildred’s sister’s name. He tapped he number.
“Hello,” Connie said.
“Connie,” Niles said, “Chief Quinn. It appears Mildred’s home has been cleaned since her death. You mentioned you only went in her house to retrieve clothing, is that correct? Could there have possibly been another time?”
“No,” Connie said. “I was in her home only once. Oh wait a minute, she had a young lady cleaning for her and she had a key. Mildred let her come and go as she pleased.”
“Sure,” Connie said. “It’s the Webster girl, I think her name is Jessica. They live about four houses from Mildred, yellow house in white trim.”
“Thanks, Connie,” Niles said.
“Did you find anything that might help you,” Connie said.
“No,” Niles said. “Some things, I’m not certain about at the moment, but for the most part every thing falls into a normal category. Thanks for your help.”
“Call anytime,” Connie said.
They hung up. Niles locked the house and drove to the home of Jessica Webster.