Two days later Izzy entered the office.
“How you doing, Izzy,? Niles said and stood. “Have a seat. Would you like some coffee?”
“I’ll take both,” Izzy said. “You have it nice and warm in here.”
“Back in the city we’d have to call maintenance to get some heat,” Nile said. “Here, we call a guy named Wilbur and brings a cord of wood; it is cord isn’t it?”
“You’re slowly becoming a Mainiac,” Izzy said.
Niles poured the coffee at a small table where the coffee maker sat. “Cream, sugar?”
“Dash of cream,” Izzy said.
Niles sat the cup on the edge of his desk near Izzy. “I hope you like it strong.”
“I want to know it’s coffee,” Izzy said.
“So, this is not a social call?” Niles said.
“I thought you said you’d let me be the first to know,” Izzy said.
“That’s right,” Niles said.
“Just got the Stockbridge paper and they said you’re about to solve Mildred’s murder,” Izzy said.
“I have no idea where they got that information,” Niles said. “I never say anything about an ongoing case. In fact, I’ve never talked to anybody from any newspaper about this case except for a couple weeks ago. That story has already run. I said something to a state investigator, but that’s between us.”
Izzy sipped her coffee with an eye on Niles.
“You can doubt all you want,” Niles said. “When I crack the murders, I’ll call you before I call anybody else. You have my word.”
“Sorry,” Izzy said. “I’m in the doubt and cynical business. It’s an occupational hazard.”
“Likewise,” Niles said, “so what’s the real reason you’re here, it’s not hurt feelings?”
“Can you give me something?” Izzy said.
“Sure,” Niles said.
Izzy opened up a tablet and started to write.
“I’ve collected evidence on both crimes and they have been sent to crime labs. I have received scores of leads and tips from almost a dozen sources and from that, I’ve been able to develop a list of persons of interest.”
“Can you give me any names?” Izzy said.
“Not at this time,” Niles said. “I’ve never made it a practice to reveal a person of interest unless there is a compelling public need and likewise with suspects. Even if a name is brought to my attention, I neither confirm nor deny them. So you could ask me if Tom Brady was a person of interest or a suspect and I would have to answer that I could neither confirm nor deny it.”
“Don’t you think for the sake of public safety, the public has a right to know?” Izzy said. “I had to ask.”
“Just doing your job,” Niles said. “If the public was concerned about its safety, they might be more forthcoming and volunteer information. As of now, no one had volunteered so much as a word. All the information that has been collected has been on my own and through exhaustive questioning. Some of it may borderline on obstruction.”
Niles a paused as Izzy wrote.
“And off the record,” Niles said, “my job is to make people secure and uncomfortable at the same time. I’m afraid if I gather enough evidence to take to trial, witnesses will change their testimony. And the only reason you are here is to assure everyone I have officially nothing. And you don’t really want to know. If you did, you’d be calling me every day. That leads me to believe you know something.”
Izzy slid her cup of unfinished coffee away and stood.
“This is my job,” Niles said. “I changed my mind, everything that I said was off the record is now on the record.”
Izzy left without shutting the door.
Niles stood, walked to the door, and shut it. He watched Izzy dig her heels into the pavement as she walked away. “Izzy, you’re a sweet gal, but you need a wake-up call.”
Wednesday morning Niles grabbed a copy of the Brewster Harbor Beacon from the street newsstand. The headline read, “Brewster Harbor Chief Accuses Community!”
Niles read the headline. “Perfect,” he smiled.