Niles sat at the desk. He called Lute.
“Give me Lute, this is Niles.”
“What’s up, Niles?” Lute said.
“What’s the heat like in the office?” Niles said.
“We just leave the door from the town hall open and toss some wood in the stove,” Lute said, “Come to think of it you’re going to need a cord of wood. Mildred always took care of that kind of stuff. Give Lucinda a call. We have a regular guy who will deliver.”
“Thanks,” Niles said. “Somebody was saying there’s snow in Canada.”
“Yeah,” Lute said, “this will be our last warm day until March or April. How’s the case coming?”
“I’ve had a big break in the Petit murder,” Niles said.
“I think the public is more interested in Mildred’s,” Lute said.
“If we find one, we find the other,” Niles said.
“What!” Lute said. “How can they possibly be connected?”
“Explain how they are not?” Niles said.
“Well, for starters,” Lute said. “One was by gunshot and the other was not.”
“When two murders happen within 100 yards of each other, of people who knew each other, and everyone that one knew the other also knew, they are related,” Niles said. “It could be the same murderer or it could be two murderers who knew each other. It’s my job to find the link. In a bizarre sort of way, the murderer of Mildred helps bring Petit’s murder that much closer. It provided me with a clue.”
“Clue,” Lute said, “what clue?”
“Sorry, Lute,” Niles said, “That’s privileged information.”
“Yeah,” Lute said, “of course.”
“Thanks for the tip,” Niles said.
“What tip?” Lute said, “I didn’t give you a tip.”
“The wood for the stove in the office,” Niles said.
“Oh, right,” Lute said.
They said goodbye and Niles called Lucinda.
“Hi, Lucinda,” Niles said, “Mildred had a number of somebody who will deliver some wood for the stove in my office, could you find that number and have them make a delivery.”
“How much will we need?” Lucinda said.
“Lute said something about a quart,” Niles said. “Whatever that is, order it.”
“Just in case the wood doesn’t get here before it turns cold, I can come down and keep you warm,” Lucinda said.
“That’s very kind of you, Lucinda,” Niles said, “but I do have work to do. Have the wood delivered as soon as possible. Bye.”
Niles hung up. “Geez, there was enough heat coming through the phone to heat this place.”