Niles drove to the Maine State Crime Laboratory in Augusta with the shell casing. He waited for the results and drove away disappointed; only smudges appeared on the casing.
The drive back gave Niles time to think.
“There is enough right now to open up a federal or state investigation on Petit and the Davenports right now. I need them. If somebody else gets to them first, it starts to get murky and sleazy. They may allow them to keep silent on the murders if it leads them to a network of dealers and haulers. I want those murders solved.”
When Niles got back into Brewster Harbor he drove to The Beacon. He walked in and rapped on Izzy’s door.
She looked up and smiled. “Long time no see.”
“The storm got us backed up and I had to run to Augusta today,” Niles said.
“You got anything for me?” Izzy said.
“Sure,” Niles said. “I came across a spent shell casing from the bullet believed to kill Mildred. I took it to the state crime lab and they were able to pull a print from it.”
“That’s colossal!” Izzy said. “You should be ecstatic.”
“Izzy,” Niles said. “That’s a lie and I won’t lie to you, but I want you to print the lie.”
“However,” Izzy said, “I will print what you said before you said it was a lie.”
“Thanks, Izzy,” Niles said. “I’m certain it is the shell casing that killed Mildred, but the prints are really smudges.”
“I’ve got something for you,” Izzy said. “I hope it will brighten your mood.”
“You’re about to tell me it looks like I’ve been working out,” Niles said.
“No,” Izzy said, “but you don’t look so bad – for your age. I’ve got 10 license numbers. Only two from Maine and they’re from the further part from here of Downeast, the rest are from out of state; New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. They all leave with a pound or two of coffee. How does that make you feel?”
She folded the paper the numbers were written on and handed it to Niles. He opened it and smiled.
“Makes me feel like I need some sort of probable cause,” Niles said. “So much of good detective work is creativity. Thanks, Izzy, you inspire me.”
Niles turned to walk out of the office.
“Still want me to do what I was doing?” Izzy said.
“Yep,” Niles said. “Have you started writing the story yet?”
“No,” Izzy said, “but I have a tablet full of notes.”
“You just may get a Pulitzer,” Niles said.
“I’d settle for a decent car,” Izzy said.
“Do you have a hunch on this?” Niles said.
“It’s all connected in some way,” Izzy said.
“Me too,” Niles said and left the office.