"I'm flattered," Harrigan said."But you should be out on a date. Weren't you seeing that fingerprint expert from--"
"Broke it off," Jake said quickly, feeling a flash of pain. "Too soon after my divorce."
"Trouble with women, trouble in the office. I hear you've had a go-round with the chief. Too much private work, not enough time serving the city." Harrigan had once been chief himself. Retired now, he obviously still had tentacles inside the ME's office. "How is my old friend Charles Pederson?"
"Still the same where you're concerned," Jake said. "Hey, you're the one who taught me any medical examiner worth a damn pisses off the powers that be. Comes with the territory."
"And you were my best student. Developed pissing off into a specialty. How's Wally?" Harrigan was given to abrupt changes of subject.
"Blossoming. The man's a godsend. I thank you for him every day."
Dr. Walter Winnick -- Wally -- was a protégé whom Harrigan had recommended to Jake. The man had a clubfoot, but his mind sprinted to invariably accurate conclusions; Jake couldn't have handled his workload without him.
"Glad to hear it."
"How's Elizabeth?" Jake asked.
"Fine. The woman's going to be New Jersey's next governor. Ever since she married that Markis fellow, though, she's pretty much stopped visiting. If I want to see my daughter, I have to go to New Jersey, and even then I have to make an appointment through her press agent."
There was a pause. Unusual, Jake thought. Pete was generally so voluble Jake couldn't shut him up. He could hear Harrigan's labored breathing. Sick, Jake wondered, or in trouble? "What's up?"
"Let's talk shop."
"Sure," Jake said, relieved."You heard about the Carramia case?"
"As a matter of fact, no. For once I'm not calling about your cases, I'm calling about one of mine."
"Shoot," Jake said.
A hesitation, a cough. "I was wondering if you'd like to come up here and help me decipher some bones."
Dr. Peter Harrigan lived in the hamlet of Turner, a little town on a big lake two hours north of the city. Jake got there at six the next morning. He met Harrigan at his home, a white Cape Cod cottage with yellow shutters, which looked from the outside more like a doll's house than the residence of a globally respected forensic pathologist.
The two men embraced. "We'll have to take your car," Pete said. "My Suburban's sick." He piled a box of autopsy tools, a camera, and a few body bags into the backseat of Jake's Camaro and brought two mugs of coffee to the front. He was wearing the same blue Polartec jacket Jake had given him seven years ago on the eve of Pete's departure; Jake had on the dark green oilskin Marianna had bought him on their only trip to London.
"You do realize," Jake said, as Pete backed the Camaro out of the driveway, "that you live in the geographical center of nowhere."
Harrigan grinned. "It's exciting, though. Big-time crime. Just last week our mayor shot an elk out of season. Town's still debating how much to fine him."
Jake swallowed hot coffee. It was bitter and strong; considering his sleep deprivation he was going to need a lot of it. "You lived in New York for over thirty years."
"I got over it."