“The place looks nice,” Lute said looking around. “For years it looked like a dust collector and a spare room.”
“Tom and Sid have done a lot,” Niles said. “They’ve even come down here in their time off to do things and Jessica seems to be working out from my end, how about yours?”
“Frankly,” Lute said, “I don’t think the town has been in more capable hands than those of Jessica. Three weeks on the job and she has the place running like a well-oiled machine.”
“She’s young and mentally nimble,” Niles said.
“She still has to run some things by my wife and I, but when it’s done, it’s done,” Lute said.
“How’re things going on Mildred’s murder?” Lute said, “or would you rather not say.”
“If anyone asks, just tell them it’s moving along,” Niles said. “but off the record, I’m stumped.”
“I heard you talked with Captain Dave,” Lute said, “surely you don’t suspect him?”
“I can’t comment on anyone I talk to,” Niles said.
“Sorry,” Lute said, “I wasn’t trying to intrude.”
“Didn’t think you were,” Niles said. “It’s just a natural part of conversation.”
“You ever think about turning this over to the state?” Lute said.
“No,” Niles shook his head, “and it’s not pride nor stubbornness; I know this case inside and out. State police often don’t have the instincts local police have in a murder case. They showed little interest in the past. I don’t see things changing. In fact, they have been slow to respond to some information I need from them.”
“I thought when you were hired it would be a cushy little job, a great way for you to retire,” Lute said.
“It is,” Niles grinned. “If I was down in the city, Id’ probably be supervising 10 or 12 murders. You see, down there, you have the usual gang of suspects; here you have none.”
“I thought you said you knew who did it,” Lute said.
“Only a very strong hunch,” Niles said. “but every now and then something comes my way and leaves me only 50% sure instead of 51.”
“What do you mean?” Lute said.
“He or she either did it or didn’t do it or he or she probably did do it,” Niles said.
“I’m glad I’m mayor,” Lute said and moved forward in his chair. “Am I a suspect?”
“I can’t comment,” Niles said, “but I will tell you until Mildred was shot I thought she could be a suspect in the Petit murder.”
“What!” Lute said. “You have no heart or soul.”
“I’m investigating a murder,” Niles said. “You can’t allow your feeling or emotions get to you. The minute that happens you might as well be a bouncer at a club.”
“I couldn’t be a cop,” Lute said.
“Are you sorry you hired me?” Niles said.
“No,” Lute said, “I want this thing solved and Brewster Harbor back to normal.”
“You’re going to have to excuse me. I have to do something whiles it’s on my mind.” Niles said. “I have to talk to Izzy down at The Beacon for a moment.”