Mrs. Robertson added, “We go to Europe frequently for Lambert’s business, but we manage to vacation a good deal.”
“Yes, ah, how nice for you,” said David. “We have a series of murders we believe are all tied in together with the death of Mr. Soto.”
The Robertsons showed, I thought, appropriate alarm.
David produced photos of all the victims, including the mystery man and woman from earlier in the day.
“This of course is Joey Soto, and these are of Eugene Kanai, Kama Kalahiki, his wife Amelia, and these two, murdered today, we don’t know. Do recognize any of these people?”
The Robertsons looked doubtfully at each other, shrugged, looked back at David, shrugged again.
Mr. Kim cut in. “Mister Robertson, I was listening to one of your ads on the radio. Very catchy. Especially that little jingle at the end. You know the one I mean? It’s a couple of bars with hand bells.”
David and I looked at each other, shrugged, then looked back at Mr. Kim.
“Uh, yes, I guess.” Mr. Robertson turned to his wife. “Honey, do you know that one?” He added, “Sylvia tends to oversee production of the ads.”
Mrs. Robertson looked flustered now. I could see David was taking a keen interest in her actions and reactions.
“I don’t know, Lambert,” she said. “You have so many ads. Bells? Maybe.”
“Yes, well, yes,” said Mr. Robertson. “And do you have a question about that particular jingle, Mister Kim?”
Mr. Kim sat there nodding and looking hard at Mr. Robertson first, then Mrs. Robertson. Finally he said, “Yeah, I do. Do you know the name of that campanologist?”
“What?” they both asked at the same time.
“The bell ringer, the campanologist, do you know that person’s name?”
Mr. Robertson looked as if he were ready to be launched at the moon before we could try to land there next year. Mrs. Robertson’s eyes were searching the ceiling.
“Well maybe you don’t,” said Mr. Kim. “So I’ll tell you. Her name’s Amelia Kalahiki, deceased wife of the aforementioned and also deceased Kama Kalahiki.” He slid to the edge of his seat and leaned into them. “Is that a coincidence, or what?”
“Well, yes, I guess,” said Mrs. Robertson. “That’s quite a conincidence.”
“My my,” said Mr. Robertson. “Isn’t it amazing how life is just so chock full of coinci – ”
Just then the doorbell rang. The Robertsons, who were exhibiting the sheen of fairly heavy perspiration nearly hit the ceiling.
Mr. Robertson jumped off the couch and loped to the door. As he opened it a shot was fired. Robertson staggered backward and fell to his knees. A tall Haole man stepped through the doorway.
“That’s him!” yelled Mr. Kim. “The guy who killed the two at the house today.”
The man, realizing the room was full of people he must not have expected to see there, turned and bolted out the door.
David was hot on his heels. Mrs. Robertson was screaming, ran to her husband. Mr. Kim and I went over to her. She had her husband’s head in her lap.
“It was me,” he said. “Not her. She didn’t have anything to do with it.”
And then he slumped and was gone.
“What? What is he talking about?” shrieked Mrs. Lambert.
“Calm down,” said Mr. Kim, “screaming won’t bring him back any more than prayer.”
She stopped screaming, but she continued to sob. “What was he saying? Do you know what he meant?”
Mr. Kim sat on a chair by the door. “Yeah, I do. You don’t?”
“No no no. What is it?”
“Missus Robertson, your husband just admitted that he’s into something that’s got a bunch of murders tied to it, and he’s saying that whatever it is he’s done is done just by him. That you don’t know anything about the whole deal.”
“But what is it he’s done?”
* * * * *
The Case of the Strong Swimmer, Chapter Five: Mr. Kim Rings In (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, 650 words)