Chapter 1 It was a bright June afternoon in downeast Maine, and my friend Ellie White and I were on our way to visit a large angry man with a criminal history. His name was Jim Diamond and we just wanted to ask him a question. But his answerplus what he said after he answeredcould put him behind bars again, and he would know that because I meant to tell him about it. So I was nervous, a little. As a rule I try to avoid angry persons with criminal pasts. For one thing I spend most of my time fixing up a big old house; thus my days are already fraught with potential injury. But Jim Diamond's ex-wife had been getting anonymous threats and I had an urgent personal reason for trying to have them stopped. Job one was finding out for certain that Diamond was the culprit, as I suspected. Once he admitted it, I intended to assure him that if he didn't agree to cutting it out pronto, my next visit would be to his probation officer. Hey, it might work, I told myself for the dozenth time. He could just lie about his guilt, but I didn't expect this. Small-time troublemakers generally don't, once they know somebody's got their number. And even if he tried, I was confident that I could detect it. Back in the big city when I was a hotshot money manager I'd done business with fellows so corrupt, their code of conduct consisted almost entirely of the seven deadly sins. As a result I was sure I could smell a rat if one presented itselfyet another reason I'd wanted to check out Jim Diamond in person: to get a good whiff. But my second thoughts were mounting like the miles on the odometer as Ellie and I sped down Route 1 in the dandy little car I'd bought from a friend the previous autumn. It was an old Fiat 124 Sport Spyder with a black cloth top, apricot paint job, and five speeds forward, plus a professionally installed infant car seat. The Fiat also had lots more engine than it required for its small size; that fifth speed could be very interesting. And now that we were on the road I hoped fervently that we wouldn't need every bit of power the little car possessed, to make our escape. Ellie by contrast seemed entirely unworried, which for her was pretty much par for the course. Ellie would worry when pieces of sky actually began hitting the ground, and shattering there into tiny cloud-splotched pieces. Relaxing in the bucket seat beside me she let her head fall back onto the headrest, putting her face up into the sunshine dappled by summer leaves and by the ancient evergreens towering at either side of the road. "Oh, that feels lovely," she murmured. It did, too, and especially by comparison. Just a few weeks earlier we'd endured a three-day visitation of sleet, which to my mind is only a little less trying than a visitation of boils, but the weather was standard for what I thought must've been the most extended winter in Maine history. "I hope Jim doesn't have a gun," I said, zipping through the S turns of the narrow two-lane road while mentally thumbing my nose at the massive recreational vehicles lumbering past us in the other direction. It was the first big week of Maine's tourist season. Ellie turned, wrinkling her freckled nose at me in surprise. For a trip with the top down she had pinned her hair into a red-gold twist. Curly wisps escaped prettily all around her head. "Jacobia, you know he won't," she told me. "We've been over that already. Besides, it's illegal for an ex-convict to have a gun," she finished blithely. This I thought ignored an important fact about how Jim Diamond got to be a convict in the first place. But it was true, we'Graves, Sarah is the author of 'Tool & Die', published 2004 under ISBN 9780553803099 and ISBN 0553803093.