When the Stars Begin to Fall
By Peg Keeley
Steve mounted the stone steps to the public library two at a time. The
department was three days old and already was spread thin with Chin trying
to find a handful of HPD people who could be discreet enough to track
an international spy while Kono continued collecting the pieces in the
Hastings murder. But right now Steve needed to do as Chin had recommended,
take one afternoon a week to begin to understand the Hawaii that Naval
Intelligence and the evening paper could not teach. There was an entire
section of the Honolulu Library devoted to Hawaiian culture. He scanned
the shelves of the section glancing through volumes, with old faded golden
lettering on their spines. Most of them contained the same one name title:
Hawaii and all were written by white settlers, missionaries, or businessmen.
He pulled out three volumes, wondering how helpful they would be. Surprisingly,
books that explored the Hawaiian view of the culture were not that plentiful.
Only in the last few years had any serious effort been made to attempt
a written history of the Hawaiian people. Three quarters of a proud nation
was dragged into statehood against their will without the right to vote
and now believe the haoles are trying to exterminate their culture from
their land. It is not like this has never happened before. Ask the
Sioux, Arapaho, or Comanche.
There was just one table in the cramped corner and as he turned towards
it, he discovered a young woman sitting there, deep in study. Her shoulder
length brown hair draped across her shoulders, one side falling forward
towards what she read. He started to turn away.
"There is plenty of room here," she commented, sliding her books
to one side. "Please, come share the space."
He smiled. "Thank you, Miss."
"Diane," he repeated with a nod. "Steve."
She noticed the titles of his books. "You are looking for Hawaiian
"It was recommended that I find out more about the place I work,"
he said with a smile.
She grinned. "Me, too. Only there is more to be found in tonight's
paper than there is in all these books put together. I'm trying to get
certified to teach elementary school. The Kamehameha School wants me to
learn Hawaiian history before they'll let me teach. Most of it is pretty
He listened, wishing he knew enough history to agree or disagree. "I
guess that is what I am here to learn."
"For instance," she whispered towards him. "Did you know
that Hawaii would never have been accepted as a state if it had not been
for Alaska? They talk military and Communist risk, but Alaska was admitted
as a democratic state and Congress needed another to balance it -- so
Hawaii was admitted as a Republican state. Except now that the Hawaiians
can vote it is Democratic. Funny, huh?"
"Perhaps," he replied noticing the deep green of her eyes.
"Those books will tell you some stuff, but the history of the Hawaiian
people is an oral history. It's not written down."
"How did you learn so much then?"
"There's a girl I met at a club," she said with a grin. "Her
family genealogy song talks about the life of the people. She's really
"How accurate is that?" he replied a little suspiciously.
She shrugged. "Probably as good as those books. I could introduce
you. I hope I'm not being too forward."
"Not at all," he said with a genuine smile. Taking Diane out
for dinner doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. He was a little surprised
at himself for his quick friendship with Diane. I've agreed to go out
with her, and don't even know her last name! "I'd be honored to invite
you to dinner and meet your friend who sings the history."
She burst into a happy grin. "In the meantime -- go to the bestsellers.
There's a new book by a guy named Michener. That may help you."
"What's the title?"
"Hawaii of course!"
The there was a millisecond of silence that always followed the crack
of sound as the wooden bat connected with the baseball, sending it hurtling
towards the center field fence, then the crowded ballpark burst into cheering
amongst the visiting fans.
"Saddler is dropping back...back...to the fence and it is---gone!"
the radio announcer exclaimed. "Grand slam for the Pepperdine Waves
as Sanchez takes his victory lap!"
"And Coach Baker and his catcher are headed for mound, Chuck,"
the co-announcer described for the radio audience. "They do not look
"You are so right, Hal," Chuck chimed in. "Baker's Golden
Boy doesn't seem to be on his stuff today. This may cost the Rainbow Warriors
their chance at the playoffs."
Dan Williams jammed his glove under his right arm and waited glumly as
Baker and the catcher approached. Maybe I deserve this. I've given up
five runs in this inning with only one out. I've had better days.
"What the hell are you doing out here!" Baker exploded. "You're
not even watching my signs!"
Danny squeezed the rosin bag silently, and chewed violently on a wad of
"Look, it's Gerber up next," the catcher, Ken Anderson, offered.
"We can't afford another run. Walk him, okay?"
Danny glared at him. "I never walk anyone."
"Well, you will this time!" Baker shouted in his face. "Cause
I don't think you've got the balls to strike him out today."
"I've waited all season to make this blow-bag strike out," Danny
argued. "It's what the fans are waiting for."
"Maybe so," Baker barked, "but not today."
Ken squinted in sun. "Danny, your mind isn't on your game. Take the
easy way out. Walk him."
"I don't take easy ways," he snapped back, glancing towards
Gerber who was calmly tapping dirt out of his cleats with the bat, aware
that he was the subject of the conversation.
Baker jabbed a finger into Danny's chest. "Your ass is mine on this
field, you got that, Williams, mine! You do what I say or you'll be in
the showers." He spun on his heel and walked back towards the dugout.
Ken pulled the catcher's mask back down over his face. "Sorry, Danny."
"Sorry nothing," he muttered. "Get ready to strike out
The parking lot was nearly empty when Danny left the locker room for the
long walk across campus back to the dorm. The post-game briefing had been
longer than usual, made up largely of Coach Baker's verbal abuse directed
towards Danny. Days like this made him wonder why he'd returned to baseball
after the military. Take a look at the tuition bill and the scholarship
line, he reminded himself, and figure what you'd have to pay off without
"Danny! Danny! Wait up!"
He turned to see a three young people streaking towards him in a red 1954
Nash Rambler convertible, waving wildly. The Hawaiian girl who'd called
his name was standing in the back seat. "Mali!" he called back
trying to sound pleased, but really wanting to be left alone.
"We saw you strike out Gerber! That was so cool, man!" Kato
Akia shouted from the back seat. "Everybody thought it was great!"
"Everyone but Coach," Danny remarked. "He sent me to the
"Ah, who cares about the coaches! Everyone is talking about it!"
"We lost the game," Danny reminded her, "and our playoff
"Here, to drown your sorrows!" She handed him a beer.
He gave a small grin. "Thanks, Mali." He popped the top and
was immediately drenched in the spray that shot out as most of the foamy
contents showered over him.
There were peals of laughter from the car. "Mali, you are so bad!"
the girl in the back giggled.
Danny stood there in silent fury as the brew dripped from his clothing
and hair. Dammit, I always fall for her tricks. Why today? Why does
she always make a fool of me?
"Come on, be cool, man," Kato advised through his chuckling.
"It's just a joke, man."
"Oh, he knows, don't you, Danny!" Mali laughed. "Good fun,
He tried to conceal his anger and embarrassment. Why do I have to endure
Baker's tirades and this, too?
"Come on, Danno, get in," Mali said, patting the back seat next
"I've got studying to do," he replied. "Besides, Kato doesn't
want the car soaked with beer."
Kato grinned. "Good cause, Danny. Those seats don't mind."
"No thanks," he insisted. "I need the walk."
Mali giggled again. "Sore head. You need to learn how to take a joke.
You coming to the House of Flowers tonight? I'm singing. There's going
to be a big mainland agent there scouting me out."
"I don't know, Mali. I'll try."
"Try! You've got to come. You are my inspiration!" She tossed
her long black hair. She suddenly jumped out of the car and ran over to
embrace him, ignoring the dripping clothes. "You wouldn't disappoint
me, would you?" She planted a kiss on his lips and tickled her fingers
up his back to his neck.
There were catcalls from the car.
"Mali," he whispered, cheeks crimson. How does she do this
to me? She embarrasses the hell out of me, then turns around and ....
I don't know whether to hate her or love her.
"Come on, I'll give you a ride back to your room." Her fingernail
brushed playfully against his left ear.
Angry with himself for giving in, he slid into the car. Mali jumped in
beside him, Kato floored the gas and the tires squealed as they shot away
from the parking lot.
Steve, Chin, and Kono squeezed into the tiny office for a late afternoon
meeting. Kono had stolen a sturdy chair from somewhere in HPD, but it
took up almost all of the last available space. Steve handed out small
cardboard containers of Chinese take-out. "What do we have, gentlemen?"
he asked, a legal pad on the desk before him. There was the heading of
Natalie Hastings, with a black and white 3x5 of her body, partially covered
by the tarp, taped to his desk. Beside it were hand-scribbled scraps of
paper with titles 'Roger Hastings', 'Lynette Hastings', 'Tim Ottman',
'Dan Williams', 'Ballistics', 'Carpet', 'Button,' and 'Hair' also taped
to the wood grain. "Kono?"
Kono glanced down at the desk covered with the first of what would be
McGarrett's famous organizational charts. "Ottman has been in Utah
for a week because of his mother's illness. It was confirmed by Salt Lake
City police. He's out of the picture. So, it looks like our girl had another
man on the side."
Steve scratched 'Out of State' on Ottman's paper.
"Roger Hastings works for Island Publishing. Been there for six years.
Before that is a mystery."
"How's that?" Steve asked.
"Employer didn't have record of his previous employment," Kono
said with a shrug.
"Someone must. What about driving history? House purchase? Medial
records? Records on the mainland?" Steve fired off.
"I'll check on it," he muttered, with a look of chagrin. McGarrett
will want it all, everytime. All the details.
"Chin?" Steve scooped up some bean sprouts with the chopsticks.
Some escaped back into the container.
Chin was amused by his superior's childlike attempt with chopsticks, but
did not dare to joke. "Ballistics has provided us with a report on
the bullets from the girl." He handed Steve the two pictures of flattened
lead slugs. Snub-nosed .38 with silencer. I've been chasing down off-duty
men to work the spy case most of the day."
Steve nodded. Yes, my other problem. "Bergman gave us a report
on the hair sample. Light brown, probably young person. No color treatments.
It was short, so it may be a man. But that is about it unless we come
up with a match. They are working on the carpet fibers. On quick exam,
it looks like the living room carpet from the parents' home. If so, we
need a team out there to scour the place."
"But the girl wasn't living at home," Chin said in surprise.
"I know. But someone was who just happens to be a young man with
light brown hair."
Chin's eye blazed with anger. "Steve, I don't like this."
"I didn't ask you to," he fired back. "This Hastings murder
has certain tags consistent with a spook killing: The snub-nose, the double-tap
to the head, the possible red herrings. And we may have a parent with
a mysterious past who materialized from nowhere in the Islands six years
ago. Someone in this case is not what he or she appears to be. I don't
think there is a connection here to our friend, Wo Fat, but I will not
assume there is not. Everyone is suspect, Chin Ho, everyone. Even family
friends. And I will follow the case to its absolute conclusion through
every lead until we find the answer, is that clear?"
Steve entered the House of Flowers and spotted Diane instantly. Her long
hair was up in a twist in the back, leaving just one tress that gracefully
curled around the left side of her neck. Her soft pink dress was both
conservative and eye-catching. She noticed him and gave a beautiful smile
and slight wave.
He took the chair at right angle to her, facing the stage. "Have
you been waiting long?"
"No, I just arrived." A waitress delivered two margaritas. "I
took the liberty to order drinks for us."
"That was thoughtful," he said gently, "but I don't drink."
"Oh." She blushed. "I am so sorry."
"It's quite all right." He hastened to ease her embarrassment.
"Well, perhaps I can do better when a recommendation from the menu,"
she offered with a smile.
"Fine." He gazed at her simple beauty. I can't recall the last
time I fell so quickly for a lady. I've got to keep control on this one.
"You know, we don't even know each other's last names."
She gave a soft laugh. "Well, that isn't necessarily true. Your picture
was in tonight's paper -- Steve McGarrett."
He blinked in surprise.
"I never would have noticed it if we hadn't met. I've never gone
to dinner with a celebrity before."
"Celebrity, huh?" he said through a chuckle. Some celebrity,
I have a desk that predates World War I and an office that would collapse
if the termites stopped holding hands.
"My last name is Rodman. I'm afraid I haven't been in the local paper
yet," she said with a grin.
"I'll forgive you."
"Oh." She gave a slight gesture towards a table on the far side
of the room. "There she is; the girl I told you about. She's the
one in the blue top."
Steve watched the table with three young people and noticed right away
that the girl Diane had indicated was angry.
Mali pouted as she poked her drink. "Kato, where is he? He's not
Kato shrugged and patted Mali's hand. "Danny didn't promise Mali.
He was kind of mad about the ball game and all. He has some kind of psychology
test tomorrow or something."
"He knew this was important to me. How could he do this to me?"
"Well, you didn't want Mr. Gloom-and-Doom here when you want to sing
happy anyway, did you?" Kato's date asked. "You gonna sing pretty
for us and that agent man. You gonna make it big, girl."
Mali took another sip of her drink. "You're right." Her face
blossomed into a smile. "This is my night, it is just for me! It's
gonna be everything!"
Diane rose and came across to the table. "Mali, I came to hear you
Mali looked up with surprise. "Diane. I remember you! We talked last
"I have a friend who'd like to hear about the genealogy song, too.
Would you have a few minutes to visit with us?" Diane gestured towards
the table where Steve waited.
Mali looked skeptical. "I dunno, Diane. Who is he? Some mainlander?"
"No, he needs to learn about the people so he can think Hawaiian."
Mali snorted. "He doesn't look like he wants to think Hawaiian. He
looks like a cop."
Diane giggled. "Well, he is -- but nobody's in trouble. And besides,
if you are nice to him -- well, you never know when you might need a friend
in the police, huh?"
Mali considered that. "Okay. Kato, Leah, I'll be back in a second."
She rose and followed Diane back to the table.
Diane gestured her to a seat. "Mali Kanea, Steve McGarrett."
"Thank you for joining us, Miss Kanea," Steve said formally.
"Diane has told me that the history of the Hawaiian people is largely
unwritten, passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation in
chants and song. She says that you know some of these."
She eyed him quietly. "Why would you want to know these things? Haoles
just want to make big money by stealing our land, making slaves of Hawaiians.
We work and you get the money."
"Miss Kanea," Steve said sincerely, "I have a job to serve
the people of Hawaii -- all of the people. To best do that, I need to
understand what is important to the people. Will you help me?"
Mali sat for a moment, inwardly enjoying the wait, knowing that he was
anticipating her response. "I tell you some. It you stay and listen
to me sing, you will hear more." She licked her lips, then started
to sing a chant quietly in Hawaiian. Several other patrons turned in their
seats to listen.
When she had finished, Steve smiled. "That was lovely. Is there a
"That is my genealogy song. It sings of my father, Norman Kanea,
son of Herman Kanea, whose mother was Niianu Pulakana, who was dressmaker
to Queen Liliuokalani. And her father, Pulakana Nui was head of all servants
to King Lunalilo. To Hawaiians, the blood heritage is part of who we are,
our family is us. You Haole forget your family, you come to our islands
to run away, not to come home. Hawaiian blood is thick and we will never
let the haole divide us."
Diane is right. This is valuable stuff. If I must run a police force
here, I must remember that the family ties will supercede law. Hawaiian
people will be loyal to family and cover for them when necessary. And
there is a feeling that the white population is unworthy of the place.
Maybe they are right.
Leah came to the table. "Mali, they lookin' for you girl. It's time
She jumped up. "I've gotta go."
"Thank you for your time, Miss Kanea. Perhaps we can talk again sometime,"
Steve said cordially. He touched Diane's soft hand that lay on the table.
"Shall we order?"
Mali slipped in the door to the University library and down the stairway
to the lower level. It was nearly midnight, the library would be closing
shortly. She was not a student and never came to the library to read,
but knew exactly where to go to find what she wanted. Danny always sat
in the far back corner, and would study till the building closed on a
regular basis. He was just where she'd thought, two books stacked to the
left, one open before him as he scribbled notes in a ring binder. She
came up from behind and clapped her hands over his eyes. "Peak-a-boo!
He pulled her hands away. "Mali, what are you doing here?" he
"Looking for you, what did you think?" She stood behind him,
arms around his neck. "I should be mad, you missed my big moment
tonight. The agent was there."
"How did you do?" he asked, putting aside his work.
She giggled. "Fantastic! Oh Danny, he liked me!" She nearly
jumped up and down. "I'm gonna be a star! Me! Mali Kanea!"
"Ssssh," he implored, "this is a library."
She laughed. "Let them all hear! I'm gonna be a big star! And you
gonna come with me, right?"
"We gonna go to LA and make records! Maybe Nashville, too!"
"We?" He shook his head. "Mali, that's your dream, not
She sat down on his lap. "And what is your dream, Danno?" she
whispered, running her fingers through his hair. She gently kissed him,
brushing her fingertips across the back of his neck, then down his back.
"Am I in your dreams?"
He gave a gentle smile without answering and returned her kiss.
She kissed him again, this time deeply, as he embraced her. "Wanna
come home with me tonight?" she whispered into his ear and ran her
fingers up the inside of his leg.
He jumped . Geeze, do I? I'd like to throw her on the table and do
it right here. "Mali, you always know just how to get to me,"
he whispered, but it wasn't complaining.
"Of course I do," she whispered back. "Nobody knows you
like I do, bruddah. We aikane for life you and me." She wiggled closer
to him. "We could be daring and make it right here," she suggested.
"Are you crazy?" he whispered urgently, getting to his feet
and standing her before him. "You'd get me thrown out of school."
He started to collect his books.
"Good," she giggled. "We gonna go to the mainland and make
it big anyway, you and me." She quickly reached out and pinched his
She turned, giggling with pleasure and raced for the stairway, Danny close
behind her. He caught up with her half way up the stairwell, grabbed her
arm, and kept the half-run momentum towards the exit. As they left, he
noticed the old librarian glaring at them over the top of her black rimmed
glasses. Golly, what if they have a camera down there! He kept
McGarrett reported to Governor Jameson the next morning as the arrangement
had been. "How goes it, Steve?" the Governor asked in friendly
"We are off to a running start, Sir," he replied with patience.
"Anything you need?"
Steve hesitated. Does he really want to hear it? Assuming he did,
he started: "We need a bigger office with solid furniture. A secretary.
We need to get a forensic chemist hired in HPD. I need to hire one or
two more people or get a better understanding in HPD." He paused.
"And we need a coffee pot."
Jameson grinned. "Is that all?"
Steve waited, not certain what the response meant.
"Well, I can give you some good news anyway. I have made space for
you in the Iolani Palace. A great suite of offices. I can take you to
see it later today. We'll order furniture and have you moved in by the
end of the month. What else did you say? A secretary? You can go ahead,
right up a job, and look for one. We'll start her had the beginning salary
for secretaries in HPD."
Steve frowned with skepticism. "Excuse me, Governor, but this seems
like a radical change from four days ago. Then we couldn't even get three
chairs and a steno pad. Now we can hang the moon. What is this?"
"We have received federal underwriting for the task force,"
Paul explained with joy.
His frown deepened. "Federal money? Just like that? Why?"
"I don't understand what you mean," Jameson admitted.
"If we accept federal funds to operate Five-0, does the department
go from being a state run department to a federally run one? If we sell
ourselves to the bureaucrats when will they ask us to pay back? Governor,
I'm not sure why there is money being thrown our direction, but I think
it is to tie our hands."
Jameson looked uncomfortable. "One of the issues of statehood is
"Five-0 does not want federal funds," Steve declared. "We'll
stay where we are, as we are."
"That won't be necessary, Steve," Jameson replied. "We'll
find a way."
"I am curious about why the attention right now," Steve repeated.
"We have only two cases. I doubt the feds are interested in the Wo
Fat issue; we are collaborating with the Navy on that one. That only leaves
the Hastings murder." That killing had the earmarks of a spook action;
the dad has a mysterious past. Just what is going on in that family? What
else does Island Publishing do?
The intercom box on Jameson's desk beeped. "Phone call for Mr. McGarrett,"
the secretary announced.
Steve accepted Jameson's phone. "McGarrett."
"Better get out to the Pali Highway near the tunnel," Chin's
voice announced. "We have three dead people -- one them is Commodore
Reg Palmer, the director of the missile testing."
There were several police cars, the coroner's wagon, an ambulance, and
three navy staff cars present in addition to Chin's car when Steve arrived
at the rural hillside where the right shoulder was rock mountain and the
left a steep drop off of about sixty feet. He was met by both Chin and
"Richard," Steve nodded to him.
"Didn't think we'd meet again quite so soon," Garrison commented
as Steve walked to the edge of the road and looked over. Two thirds of
the way down the steep rocky bank was an overturned car, badly crushed
with several officers moving carefully around collecting photographic
evidence. There was a white sheet over a body that was outside of the
Steve noticed Che Fong directing the people below and was glad. I am
going to find a way to hire him away from the Naval lab. He is a civilian
employee and is more needed by his state than his federal government.
"The dead are Commodore Reg Palmer, his wife Marsha, and his driver
Lieutenant Don Miller. According to initial evidence, the accident happening
at 10:48 last night," Garrison stated.
"Oh? That's some evidence," Steve remarked quietly.
"Palmer's watch was broken in the accident. It stopped at that time,"
Garrison added. "Other than that, nothing yet. I'm seeing to it that
no word of this is disclosed to the public until we get this sorted out.
I am looking at this as a potential threat to national security."
"National security?" McGarrett frowned. And when does Garrison
get around to telling me what the hell is going on around here? "Rick,
it sounds like there is more I need to know. Is there a connection between
this and Hastings?"
"I didn't say that," Garrison replied, poker-faced. "It
would be a pretty long reach, wouldn't it?"
McGarrett gave a small tight smile. "Yes, it would." Stranger
things have happened and Garrison is as nervous as the proverbial cat.
Steve looked at the road and noticed the long black skid marks from the
right lane over into the left, then through the barrier fence. "Anyone
measure these yet?" he called.
"Yes," Chin spoke up. "And photos."
He nodded, then began his long climb down to the crime scene. Che Fong
spotted him coming and walked towards him. "The only good news is
we have lots of evidence," the scientist reported. "Marks on
the points of impact and the tire marks indicate they were run off the
road. The other car was traveling at a high rate of speed -- wrong lane.
The driver swerved, the oncoming car struck them here --" he pointed
to a long tear in the metal side of the passenger side, "-- and deflected
them over them edge."
Che smiled. "Evidence won't tell you that, Steve. Could have been,
or could have been a drunk driver. When I can tell you is that the car
that struck them was red; see the paint here?"
"Red?" Steve wondered how many red cars there were in Honolulu.
"It gets better. The axle wheel ratio seems rather distinct, so I
may be able to narrow it down to just one manufacturer and it won't be
General Motors. Also, the front right tire was a retread and had a nail
in it. It was a slow leak, so the driver didn't know it. You might want
to look for someone getting a flat fixed today. May I drop by your office
later today? I may have the make by then and I have some information on
that button you left with me."
"Sure, Che. I'll be there at 1 o'clock," he said, hoping he
would be. And it will be a great opportunity to see if I can bring Che
on board for fair state of Hawaii. He spotted Bergman rising from under
the car. "Morning, Doc."
He gave a grunt of a response. "I can give you more after I examine
the bodies. Right now, all I can tell you is that Palmer died instantly.
Crushed skull from impact on the windshield. Miller died pretty quickly
too, impaled on the steering column." He gestured towards the body
outside of the car. "Marsha Palmer is a bit sadder. She wasn't thrown
out, she crawled out. She bled to death. If the other driver had not left
the scene, she probably would have survived." He sighed.
"Thanks, Doc. Give me the details when you have them." He turned
to Chin. "Well, I know Garrison is worried about some sort of spy
detail pulling this off. We can put him at ease anyway." Maybe.
"How so?" Chin asked.
"A professional would have made sure they were all dead. Marsha Palmer
did not die from the accident. She died from neglect. We also will be
charging someone with murder one, not manslaughter."
Steve tried to catch up on his notes in the office as he awaited Che's
arrival. The unopened Michener novel sat on one corner of his desk and
he wondered when he'd find the time to even crack the cover. It did permit
his mind to take a fifteen second vacation to think about Diane.
"Nice place you have here, Steve," Che said with a grin and
he squeezed into the office.
"Yeah, thanks," he replied. "I hope you have some help
"I think I do," he said. Che was never hurried, never angry,
always gentle. If he had judgments about things, he rarely disclosed them.
"What would you like to start with?"
He sighed. "The accident, I guess."
"You are looking for a red 1954 Nash Rambler. As I said before, the
right front tire may be low if it hasn't been already fixed. There will
be damage on the front passenger side corner. Probably pretty substantial,
yet obviously still drive-able. I did you a favor and checked DMV. There
are seventeen of those cars on Oahu, but they don't track colors, so --"
he handed him a list. "--registrations on all of them. As for the
Hastings case, the carpet is, without question, from the living room."
"Che, how can you be so certain?" Steve asked. It seemed too
"The carpet had been shampooed in the last couple of weeks. There
was soap residue in the fibers. That and the bits of soil and plant spores
match exactly. This will hold up in court."
Steve tapped the files that Chin had collected on the people with whom
Natalie had been in contact. "Anything else?"
"The button you asked me to check out," Che commented. "It
is a brass button manufactured in Italy. This particular style was used
exclusively two years ago by London Fog just for men's dress jackets."
"And only by them?"
"The design on the front of the button was specific," he explained.
So, I have the killer in her parents' house, perhaps as her lover,
definitely wearing a London Fog jacket. After killing her in spook style
with a .38, she is dumped in an alley like a dead tramp. Why didn't he
get rid of her in any of several ways that would be secret? He wanted
this public. It was a message to someone, but whom?
He began to read the background files. When Chin arrived half an hour
later, Steve was deep in thought. "Chin," Steve murmured. "We
need to go out to the Hastings home again."
He nodded. "Sure."
"Is Williams still living there?"
"No. He's back at the dorm."
"I want him there, too. Will you pick him up?"
Chin scowled. "What are you thinking, Steve?"
Steve rose from behind the cramped desk. He could think better when he
could move and this office did not support that habit. "I know you
like this boy. He seems to have had all the right breaks in life. 4.0
average in High School; Salutatorian, captain of the baseball team, broke
a record in cross-country, even was first string in basketball. Most likely
to succeed anything he wanted. Three years in the marines and he comes
out a sharp shooter, weapons expert, with demolition training. Now he's
riding a 3.9 average as a psychology major at the University. He's had
easy street all the way. He bothers me, Chin. He's had it all too simple.
The kind that think the law isn't for them."
Chin Ho took the time to light his pipe. He puffed twice as the aromatic
tobacco scent permeated the air. "Maybe you better look again Steve.
Try the line that says he's pulled social security since December 7, 1941,
when his daddy went down on the Arizona. Or the place that says he was
raised by a maiden aunt after his mother died in an influenza epidemic.
He's done good, but he did it on his own. And if you think he killed that
girl, you are wrong."
Steve nodded. "Your opinion is noted, Chin. Now, get him out to the
End Part 2
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