Chapter 1 Miss Page I leaned back in my chair as the door slowly creaked open. In she stepped, swaying on her heels as the current rocked the boat. She was a small frail girl, not much meat on her, but her bare arms showed there was some strength under that soft smooth pale skin. I motioned to the small camper chair with my hand, still holding my half smoked ciggerette. She sat down, fixing a stare on me with her deep blue eyes. Her face never twitched just stared into my eyes, like she expected to find all the answers to all her questions with in my soul if she stared hard enough. I finally broke the silence, unwillingly, I liked her searching look, made me think she might find something in there rather then the husk I think I am. "Miss Page, you have a job for me I'm told". The call had come through this afternoon at the bar were I pick up my calls, I told her to meet me at my houseboat. "Yes my good friend Miss Roxweell, tells me you're good, discreet, and trustworthy. I need that, I have.....a situation" It's true as a gumshoe I'm all those things, not much else, I can't solve a crime by studying a bank of pictures, gathering clues, or anything like that. But I'm loyal, trustworthy and can keep a secret. Might be all I have but it gets me work. I sat back, let her spill her guts to me, she didn't need me to interject now. She carried on with her staring and I met her gaze again, studying her face as she did mine. A delicate face strong with rich full lips, and the cutest little ears. Her strew blond hair cut short, I guessed to show those ears of. "An old friend of mine, has taken something of mine, I need it back, it's... how can I put it... its not valuable but it's very important to me". She struggled to get the words out, almost as if there was a weight pressing down on her. "Why do you need me then", I finally said breaking another perfectly posed silence. "Seems simple enough to me you ask your friend to give this thing back and that's it. You said it was old friend so what's the problem". "I can't" "Or won't?" "Both" "Fine I'll find what it is, if I can, $10 dollars a day, plus expenses, but there's one condition?". She sat there silent and motionless, like some sort of perfect statue. I almost wished she could stay that way forever so I could just gaze at her. Those eyes stared back so hard and deep like she was watching the latest Chaplin picture. "You tell me everything you know, you don't lie to me, you don't leave anything out, understand?" "Fine mister Morgan" "Call me Henry". "Fine mister morgan" I flicked my eyebrows up at her as she said that. What is it and who took it?". "It's a ring, a sapphire ring, White gold, a small one, it seems silly I know it not valuable, but it means the world to me" "And who?" "Juan" "Whose Juan"? " He was,......", again the pause, a flicker behind her eyes as she weighed up what I already knew. "He is....was my lover, he left a week ago, I had left the ring at his house. I went back there the day before last and he was gone". "Were does he live", she looked slightly lighter, like the effort of telling her tale had made her lighter. It should have as Miss.Page was married to one of the richest and by extension powerful men in Bay city. "Just past here near Sal Pinto on the drive at number 61, I went there, knocked but there was no answer. I looked in and the house was empty". "Apart from his name what else do you know of Juan" "Not much we met in a bar, one thing lead to another we saw each other on and off for a couple of months". She said this all calmly and casually as she drew on a ciggerate, she calmly told me she had been cheating on her husband for months. A husband who controlled most of the alcohol and gambling in this town, an elected official, a leader of the community, respectable and corrupt to the core able to have a man killed at the drop of a hat. I looked into those blue eyes stared at that face as she stared back into my eyes. This was all kinds of bad, a missing ring, a gangsters wife and a lost lover. This was going to end bad, it had hands off, back away all over it. But I looked at those eyes as they searched back into mine, how could I say no. "Miss. Page I'll get my hat, and I'll call you tomorrow".