[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 093
Chapter 17 (9 of 11): Interviews
“Ulla?” Phoebe begins.
“Well, our Mazarine has nothing in the computers. Not even a parking ticket. Clean, clean, clean. I also checked on Darling’s bunion surgery, and it’s just as he said.” She waved some faxes in the air. “The hospital faxed us the information, and there’s no question Darling had the surgery. Early Friday afternoon. He stayed in the hospital till late Sunday. I talked to one of the nurses listed here, and she told me there was no way in the world he could have gone tramping around snowy woods in the dark on Monday morning. No way.”
“I guess that lets our Officer Darling off the hook of suspicion, doesn’t it?” Willard offered.
“Unless he hired someone to do it,” Rickie suggested. “It would be a great alibi.”
“”Possible,” said Phoebe. “But, really, did any of you get the feeling he did it?”
They shook their heads. “Well, I didn’t either. I think for now at least we can forget about Darling as the killer.”
She turned to Willard.
“I got hold of Benny Jameson, and he confirms what Darling said. They both work the same beat, and he was on Friday. He did in fact see the Mazarine woman with Trinh entering the lobby of the Momiji around six or so. He couldn’t be more precise. But he was sure it was Mazarine and Trinh.”
“Add that to the hair, and it looks like we have something like a finger pointing in Mazarine’s direction,” Phoebe said thoughtfully.
“The hair?” Everybody was looking at her.
“Yes. The hair. I talked to Kerzy yesterday, and he got us warrants for both Mazarine and Yukiko. Rickie took care of business, and the lab report that came back this morning makes it definite. The hair taken from Mazarine’s head is, here, let me see,” she leafs through the papers in her folder, “yes, ‘consistent with’ the hairs found on the body. Yukiko’s hair is not a match.”
They all look at each other.
“That’s it, then, isn’t it?” Willard asks.
“Well, it looks good, I’ll admit. But let me remind you again that hair is tricky business. I don’t know what the prosecution can do with it, and I’m not a lawyer, but it doesn’t look good for Mazarine Cape. Darling’s ex seems to be in the clear, though. I thought it was a good idea to make sure.”
“So,” Ulla recapitulated, “what we have, then, is Mazarine as the last person we know was together with Trinh, and hair found on Trinh’s body that is Mazarine’s. That gives us opportunity and means, I’d say. Two out of three isn’t bad.”
“But motive is important. Why would she have done it?” Phoebe asks.
“Yes, why would a hooker want to off Trinh?” Barb concurs.
“Remember, Fabian was, by his own account, a pretty good customer. Then when he met Trinh, he stopped seeing Mazarine.”
“That’s pretty flimsy. She must have had scores of customers. What’s one or more less?” Rickie is not convinced.
“Pride? She thought Trinh was muscling in on her?” Pete throws his two cents in.
“Even flimsier. These ladies aren’t into pride. It’s all about money with them, and as Rickie says, there are a lot of fish in the sea,” Willard says.
“I guess that’s something the prosecutor is going to have to figure out,” Phoebe chimes in. “Anyway, when I talked to him earlier, he’s definitely thinking Mazarine. He likes the hair. But he wants to sit on it over the weekend. I have the feeling he’s going to have her arrested on Monday. But he wants us to bring the Japanese woman in and interview her. She’s not under arrest, she’s just going to be a good citizen helping out her local police. I’m going to try to get hold of her this morning and ask her in for a talk this afternoon.
“I think I’d like to handle this one alone with her, but feel free to sit in behind the mirrors. Let’s try for around three, shall we?”
After the meeting finished Phoebe spoke to Tanya and asked her to try to track down Yukiko Darling and ask her if she would be willing to come in and talk to the police. Tanya, being Tanya, got on it immediately, and by noon she had a note on Phoebe’s desk confirming that Ms. Yukiko Darling would indeed be at the police station at three-thirty. Phoebe plans to tell Tanya to send around a memo to the rest of the crew as well as Kerzy’s office. Then changes her mind. She comes to the decision to talk to Yukiko in her office rather than do an interview in number three.
When, later that afternoon, Tanya buzzes Phoebe and tells her that her appointment is waiting at the front desk, the detective goes out to greet Yukiko. A woman who is lounging by the desk and chatting idly with Tanya turns and approaches Phoebe with a great smile and hand outstretched.
“Yukiko is fine,” she says, the smile growing even more dazzling. “How do you do?”
“We … I appreciate it very much that you could come in on such short notice. I’m Phoebe Light, chief of homicide.”
“My pleasure, Detective,” she counters graciously.
“And for the hair sample yesterday,” Phoebe adds.
“Well, there I didn’t have much choice, did I?” Phoebe could not tell if the woman was being snide. Probably not. “Did I pass?”
“Yes, did my hair make me a … suspect in anything?”
Phoebe smiled tightly and shook her head.
“Please, let’s go into my office.”
“What?” Yukiko feigns astonishment. “No third degree? no rubber hoses?” She laughs delicately.
Tanya, who has been observing this little dance, chuckles appreciatively.
“Oh, no, Yukiko. That’s only in old movies. We don’t need to do things that way these days. This is just an informal chat.”
And she leads the way into her office.
“Please, sit down,” Phoebe indicates one of two comfortable chairs to the side of her desk. She has planned not to sit behind her desk, as this establishes too confrontational a dynamic. Better to appear simply to be having a chat.
Yukiko is giving the room studied scrutiny and sits down.
“Can I get you anything to drink?”
“No, thank you, Detective. I’m just fine.”
She settles back and relaxes in the chair, her shoulder purse dropping softly onto the floor.
“Good. As I said in the lobby, it’s very good of you to be willing to help us out.”
“My ex-husband, Fabian Darling, called me and said you might be asking me to come in. I’ve been reading about that poor woman’s murder. A horrible, terrible thing.” She shuddered. “And now it seems to be all over the television, too.” Her full mouth turns down in distaste.
“Officer Darling – your ex-husband – thought you might have known the murdered woman, Trinh Cao. Is that the case?”
“Yes, it is.” She shook her head in disbelief. “Such a lovely young woman. And so bright.”
“Yes, that’s what we’ve been led to believe. In that connection, do you think you could tell me how you knew Trinh?”
“Well,” Yukiko said, sitting forward now on her chair, “she was my husband’s lover … my then husband’s lover. That’s how I knew her.”
“You mean your husband told you about his … girlfriend?”
“Not directly. It came out in our divorce. She wasn’t the first woman he saw during our marriage.”
“If you don’t mind my saying so, Yukiko, you seem remarkably calm about all of this. You didn’t have any hard feelings towards Trinh for … for her involvement with your husband.”
TO BE CONTINUED