We went down and sat in the hotel lobby. David and Mr. Kim discussed three things: what might have been the object of the search, who might have done the search, and had that person or persons found what they wanted.
David said, “Let’s think about it from this angle. Lambert Robertson runs a European car import business. He imports German cars. The German swimming team comes to Hawaii and some of them kill four local people. One member has now killed two others, including the Japanese woman who brought the living Joey Soto up from the water and then strangled him on Lanning’s watch at the Robertsons’ house. The one who killed the others is missing. The rooms of the German swim team have been tossed. Looking at all these things, what conclusions can we draw?”
I had no idea.
Mr. Kim said, “How about that Robertson is surprised by the Germans. They know that Robertson is doing something illegal, something that involves importing from Germany. Something’s coming over here in those cars and they want it.”
“And,” David said, “if he’s bringing in something from Germany that the swimmers are aware of, and if that thing or things is small enough to fit, concealed, inside a car, what would that be?”
“Drugs?” I said.
“I don’t know,” said David. “Most drugs coming in now are from Asia and Mexico. Drugs from Europe seems like a stretch.”
“Jewels, precious gems, gold,” said Mr. Kim.
“Yes,” said David, “jewels. Hidden in hotel rooms.”
Mr. Kim said, “So the swimmers somehow found out about Robertson sneaking in, say, diamonds, figured out a way to steal them.”
“What about that Japanese swimmer,” I said, “needing to kill Joey Soto and frame me, thinking I was Robertson?”
“David,” said Mr. Kim, “do you know if there’s a Japanese swim team here too?”
David nodded and smiled. He stood up and headed over to the front desk. After he spoke to the receptionist, he came back.
“Yes,” he said, “Japan is represented here. What do you think?”
Mr. Kim said, “I think she’s not a swimmer for Germany, she swims for Japan. I think Joey Soto, Eugene Kanai, Kama and,” he paused, a little emotional, “and Amelia Kalahiki all worked here, locally, for Robertson. They were involved in this smuggling racket, and the diamonds are coming from Germany and being sold to the Japanese. Robertson was pulling something on the Japanese. The swimmer, a representative of these Japanese, was warning you, Lanning, as Robertson. They were telling him not to pull any more funny stuff. If he went down for the murder, so be it. They were willing to cut out the middle man. And they did.”
We sat there silently.
Then David said, “How is it that the Japanese swimmer was with the German swimmers? How are they connected?”
We sat there silently.
Mr. Kim said, “I think they wanted to become the pipeline. In the end, cutting out the middle man, it would be easy. There are swim competitions going on internationally all the time. These Olympic athletes probably get an easy pass when they go through immigration and customs at airports. The Germans would start passing off the diamonds to the Japanese at these meets.”
“That is brilliant, Rodney,” said David. And when David says things like that, the way he said it, you know he means it.
“Thanks, David. I guess I put my years with HPD to good use.”
“You did,” said David. “Now think. If the Germans and the Japanese are in this together, and the Germans got their hands on a shipment of diamonds that they were going to hand off to the Japanese, who knows they have them and wants to steal them from the Germans?”
We sat there silently. Mr. Kim slammed his hands down on the table in front of him. “It’s obvious! It’s gotta be Robertson. He got word the shipment had been stolen by the Germans. He’s still got people here working for him, right? They tossed the room. And . . . Is she an actress, or what?”
“Who?” I asked?
“Sylvia Robertson,” David said.
“The mistress of the waterworks. She’s not involved, the husband says. Trying to clear her. I’ll bet she is involved.”
“Let’s go back there,” said David.
We drove over the Pali Highway one more time. By the time we got there, all the police had left. When David knocked on the door there was only silence.
* * * * *
The Case of the Strong Swimmer, Chapter Seven: What’s the Real Crime? (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, 750 words)