Tintinnabulation (400 words)

“I’m sorry,” David said, patting me on the shoulder.

“Hey, we were old news,” I said.  “Kama won Amelia fair and square.  With me it was always work first.  Amelia, she wanted Amelia first.  Kama went along.  Amelia was his knight in shining armor.”

David said, “This suicide’s poorly staged, you’re right.  Her head and arm wouldn’t fall that way.  The blast would have knocked her off the chair to the left.”

“And she’s left-handed,” I added.

David nodded.

“Yep, she could always ring the bells on the left side with a sweeter, fuller tone than the ones on the right.”

“What?” said David.

“She’s a campanologist.”

David looked at me like he didn’t know what that was.

“A semi-professional handbell ringer,” I said by way of explanation.


“Yeah.  Hard to make a living ringing bells on a small island like O‘ahu.  Even the symphony gigs were scarce.”

David said, “Kama and his wife both murdered.  Any idea what they were into?”

I shook my head.  Then I decided to let him in on the whole deal.

“So,” he said, “Soto’s wife claims he’s a car thief.  That makes a tie-in with Lambert Robertson’s car dealership tempting.”

“The wife thinks Soto’s a jerk for cheating, too.  She’s going to miss him like a virus.”

David said, “And no idea how Eugene Kanai was going to make all this money.”

“If I were playing hunches,” I said, “I’d make a guess at it having something to do with cars.  With Lambert Robertson.”

David looked thoughtful.

“Oh,” I said, “did your witness ID the woman in the photos?”

“No, Lanning said she was wearing a one-piece swimsuit, goggles, and a cap.  Other than that he knows only that she was powerfully built, he doubts he’d be able to recognize her.  Not the color of her eyes or the length or color of her hair.”

“Okay, David, I’ll let you know what happens with the phone call tomorrow.”

On the way out the door I grabbed one of Amelia’s bells.  I wanted something to remember her by.

Driving back over the Pali Highway, I turned on the radio.  At the commercial break, the second one was for Lambert Robertson’s car dealership.  After his catchy little spiel, there was a simple tune.  It was a few too many notes of someone playing the handbells.  I could hear the lower tones were real sweet.

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