A real deal—you can get Forever Poi, the Triple Threat Investigation Agency private investigators’ third case, for 99 cents.
In that proverbial nutshell, JJ, Rey and Linda have to determine who torched two upscale art galleries—and left two bodies in the rubble.
Ald marched into the main office with Linda immediately behind, a thin layer of sweat veiling his handsome, peevish face and flecking a cream-colored polo shirt.
“Welcome.” With a scornful smile, I brandished an arm like a gentleman usher might someone of lesser rank.
Glowering, he cast an eye over the room. “I don’t see you on the phone.”
“We decided to wait until you officially brought those flat feet inside, Detective Hives—er—Ives,” Rey purred, getting up and grabbing the mobile phone from a custom-made black sideboard.
He flipped her the bird and eyed a stylish, contemporary black desk, one of two my friends had finally agreed upon, after a small [over-the-top] free-for-all at a furniture shop. Sitting on a corner, he murmured, “Not bad. Not bad at all.”
“We like it,” I said as Linda dropped onto the sofa beside me. We’d taken possession of the Chinatown office last November, just before completing our second key case: The Coco’s Nuts Affair. The first one had been named The Gruesome Twosome Case, thanks to the two central (f’g demented) players. There’d also been a bad guy nicknamed Mr. Gruesome, due to an ugly visage only a mother could love, but we’d opted to keep it at Twosome.
The Coco’s Nuts Affair had involved multiple murders, all tied to the death of Jimmy Silone Picolo III, a diversified local entrepreneur also allegedly into racketeering and loansharking. This time, there’d been three killers, two in cahoots, and one we’d not in a million years have believed capable of serving as assassin. It went to show that you truly couldn’t judge a book by its cover.
“Xavier’s on speaker,” Rey announced, smacking Ald’s shoulder as she slipped past and dropped onto a second, smaller sofa.
“Hey A,” Ald said.
“A?” Rey mouthed.
My response was a you-got-me shrug.
“Have you heard the news?” the detective asked.
“I’ve been on the road with meetings and missions since noon. I just finished up in Mililani. What’s shaking?” Traffic hummed in the background as Xavier’s baritone voice boomed over the speaker.
Ald adjusted the volume. “Two galleries are pretty close to being cinders, specifically the ones belonging to Carlos Kawena and James-Henri Ossature. Weren’t you supposed to be here for Carlos’ 6-tu-8 do?”
“I had to be somewhere. But I had drinks with Carlos last night to celebrate his forty-sixth and he provided a sneak-peak of the exhibit.” Xavier’s voice had taken on a serious, business-like tone. “What happened? Is he okay?”
“We found a body that wasn’t recognizable. All I know at this stage is that it’s pretty certain the fire was no accident. The only thing I can confirm is the little intimate soirée ended at eight on the nose. He’d planned to leave the gallery no later than 8:20 to be at a snooty function at nine. The fire was called in at 8:35 p.m.”
“Did he show up at that affair?”
“He didn’t tell me much about it. And I haven’t been able to reach James-Henri.”
Rey, Linda and I gazed solemnly at one another.
“Where can I meet you?”
“I’m at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.” Ald snickered and rolled intense Maya-blue eyes. He’d always found the name of the agency comical, but hadn’t mentioned that until a few weeks ago. In truth, I’d never liked it much either, but my theatrical over-the-top cousin, also a part-time actress (commercials primarily these days), had insisted upon it. Arguing with her was rarely worth the effort, so the Triple Threat Investigation Agency it was.
If you’d like to see how they deal with a cast of curious (if not treacherous) characters, please check the P.I.s here . . .