Deerton had never exactly been a hotbed of crime. The city police mostly did traffic stops in town and busted the occasional minor in possession (or major in possession). Since the town had both the Tecumseh County Sheriff Department and Michigan State Police Post #381, there was an embarrassment of officers, and the City Police were redundant due to jurisdiction issues half the time.

So when it came time to retire, Officer John Daniels was looking forward to doing some real police work on his own time. The other officers sometimes called him “Jack” as a dig at how straitlaced he was, the exact opposite of the wild image a man nicknamed after a potent whiskey evoked. Tired of playing supporting second fiddle to the other police agencies and the Deerton Volunteer Fire Department.

But John’s amateur detective aspirations soon ran into a roadblock: even without the jurisdictional straitjacket, there was very little crime in Deerton. There was quite simply nothing to detect. John found a novel way around this: he contacted local institutions like the public library and the high school with an offer to hunt down people whose property had turned up in their lost and found. Using his police training and notes cribbed from cable TV, John was soon in the business of reuniting people with their lost effects.

And that’s how he came to be at the old farm off US 313 carrying a ratty old umbrella.

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