Niles walked back to the office. He compiled a schedule for Tom and Sid. He included himself in handling some of the patrol duties. Each member of the department remained on call one weekend out of three.
The office door opened and in walked Izzy Willard from the Brewster Harbor Beacon.
“Just when I thought things couldn’t get more complicated,” Niles said and stood.
“Standing for a lady,” Izzy said. “You have breeding.”
“Will that cut me some slack with the media?” Niles said.
“Likely not,” Izzy smiled.
Niles grabbed a chair and sat it beside his desk. “Have a seat.” He waited for Izzy to sit before he sat in his chair.
“Well,” Izzy said, “I got a call from the paper in Stockbridge and I’d like to ask some questions.”
“Can we start off the record?” Niles said.
“That’s usually not a good start,” Izzy said, “but sure.”
“Make this whole thing look like an oversight, for now,” Niles said.
“You want me to lie,” Izzy said.
“No,” Niles said, “but that’s the way it came out. I’m just in a pickle for the moment. There may be bigger fish to fry – or not. That’s a gift I just gave you.”
Izzy looked over the top of her glasses at Niles.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Niles said. “Let’s go on the record, now. We’ll respect each other in the morning.”
“It has been reported the county sheriff’s department has underpaid the town of Brewster Harbor for several years and that you and Sheriff Spencer had a disagreement over the issue, would you like to comment on that?”
“Sure,” Niles said. “Sheriff Spencer and I had a very nice meeting. During our conversation we came to realize that an agreement between the county and the Brewster Harbor PD needed a serious revision. Sheriff Spencer was most sympathetic to the situation. After our discussion he went so far as to have a check hand delivered to our office. The folks in the county can be assured of the integrity of their law enforcement agencies.”
“Is their any truth to the rumor Sheriff Spencer and the county commissioners were pressured by the state house?” Izzy said.
“I have no knowledge of such rumors,” Niles said.
“That’s all I have to ask on that subject,” Izzy said.
“That was painless,” Niles said. “Can we go off the record again?”
Once again Izzy looked over the tops of her glasses.
“Is that a yes or no?” Niles said.
“It means your stretching the limits,” Izzy said.
Niles smiled and became serious. “Were you with the Beacon when Sam Petit was murdered.”
“Wasn’t the manner of death undetermined?” Izzy said.
“It was undetermined how he was murdered,” Niles said, “So, you were at the Beacon then?”
“I’ve been at the Beacon for 15 years,” Izzy said. “I’m a part owner.”
“Are you aware of anyone who might benefit from his death?” Niles said.
“Did you know Sam Petit owned the Harbor Inn before the Listons, Charley and Shelly?” Izzy said.
“No,” Niles said.
“I recall Sam whispering to someone that he had a silent and secret investor in the Inn,” Izzy said. “After his death I couldn’t find out if that was true or not.”
“Likely he was insured,” Niles said. “In the event of his death, his wife would collect and perhaps the investor.”
“There are four insurance agencies on the island,” Izzy said. “They all said he was not insured with them.”
“Find out who the investor is and that puts you a step closer to finding out how Sam Petit ended up in the harbor,” Niles said.
“Are you reopening the investigation?” Izzy said. “I didn’t think it was Brewster Harbor’s jurisdiction.”
“If it can be established the murder happened here, it becomes mine,” Niles said. “And when it becomes mine it will be solved.”
“I think you’re closer than anybody already,” Izzy said.
“Izzy,” Niles said, “this could be the start of a great relationship.”
“My mama told me not to trust a man who says those words,” Izzy said.
“Your mama was wise,” Niles said, “but she’s talking about one thing and I’m talking about another.”
“Is the widow Petit still around?” Niles said.
“As soon as the Listons bought the Harbor Inn, she went south,” Izzy said, “Some say Key West, some say the Caribbean, who knows.”
“I hope I never have to write bad things about you,” Izzy said and smiled. “I really like you.”
“I hope I never catch you speeding,” Niles said and smiled. “I really like you too. I understand your husband has a lobster boat and you have two children. If your husband was to catch some good lobster and you was to fix it, my place has a nice kitchen and I like kids around.”
“How do you think that might look,” Izzy said, “the newspaper and law enforcement socializing privately?”
“We’re professionals,” Niles said.
“May husband always catches good lobster,” Izzy said.
The Beacon’s next edition ran a mild story about the transfer of additional funds between the county and the Brewster Harbor PD. Izzy portrayed Sheriff Spencer as an honest and dedicated law enforcement officer. Izzy wrote little about Niles – just the way he wanted it.