Hong Kong - Thursday December 26th, 1996
By the time Carol returned to the apartment BJ had been home for over an hour and was in no mood for polite conversation. He watched her entrance in grim silence.
She smiled at him and turned away to hang up her jacket, overwhelmed at the warmth that flooded through her body at his obvious concern.
‘Where the hell have you been?’ he demanded. ‘You didn’t use Joe’s taxi; if one of the neighbours hadn’t seen you drive off I wouldn’t have known where you’d gone.’ He thrust his hair back with an impatient gesture. ‘As it was, all the taxi company could tell me was the name of your driver ... and when they tried to raise him he ignored the call.’
Carol gave him a mischievous look. ‘Well, it was strictly private. I thought you’d try to find out so I asked him not to tell anyone where we were going.’
He rounded on her, his face forbidding. ‘Don’t you understand what danger you could be in? You might have been in real trouble; he could have left you anywhere, taken you anywhere ...’ His voice rose in exasperation.
‘He was a nice boy who knew about you,’ Carol soothed. ‘Anyway, he refused to leave me. He thought you wouldn’t like it so he waited and brought me back.’ Her look was warm with understanding. ‘I’m perfectly safe, BJ.’
‘I was worried about you.’ He turned away with an awkward gesture.
‘I know.’ Carol wondered if he realised how much he’d betrayed himself. ‘Come and sit down. I’ve got a lot to tell you.’ She curled up on the sofa.
He hesitated, then joined her. ‘Well?’
‘I went to see Jenny Wong. She rang me, just after you left. BJ, you were right about the security guard. He did try to rape her; but that wasn’t the worst. He notified someone - he didn’t say who - that she was there, and what she was doing. He was instructed to get rid of her. He was going to kill her afterwards. He offered her an easy death if she’d have sex with him.’ Carol’s face showed her disgust.
‘She has no idea who he rang?’
‘No, but when she threatened to tell Mr Langford, meaning David, and have Arthur sacked, he said it wouldn’t help her. He knew about Ben Price, too. She pretended to give in and managed to grab the paperweight and hit him with it.’
In spite of himself, BJ grinned. ‘She’s got guts.’
‘She couldn’t tell you because she’s in love with William. She feels she’s betraying the company and him. But she found out something. She was sure Pat was already at the Chow’s. When she heard at the party that he wasn’t, she went to check. They received a fax last Thursday, from Pat, sent on the Chow’s machine. Jenny checked the number, then the other faxes he’d supposedly sent from different places. They’d all been sent from the Chow’s machine.
BJ’s brow furrowed. ‘Why wasn’t this noticed before?’
‘Jenny didn’t always see the faxes. Sometimes Guy came out and took them off the machine, sometimes Mary Choy took them. And you don’t normally look at the top to see the printed number. You look at the body of the message to see where and who it’s from. Jenny looked through the phone and fax statements for the Chow’s numbers. Guy sent faxes to their number and made frequent phone calls. They do a lot of business with the Chow corporation and normally Jenny wouldn’t have thought much about it; but she noticed Guy’s faxes all corresponded with the dates of Pat’s. She couldn’t work out why.’
‘But you can?’
Carol’s eyes were bright. ‘Suppose Pat killed Wanda and turned to Guy for help? Guy pretends Pat’s in China and arranges for faxes to be sent. Mr Chow is an old friend as well as a business associate. He might have been prepared to play along. Guy sends the faxes to Chow - surely he could fake Pat’s writing closely enough if they grew up together - and Chow simply faxes them back. Apparently Guy’s the only one who’s spoken to Pat by phone ... or so he says.’ Carol looked expectantly at BJ.
He gave a half smile. ‘Is that your only evidence, Miss Monk?’
Carol smiled warmly back. ‘No. The glass everyone was so fussed about, that Pat was supposed to be sorting out in Beijing? It didn’t only just arrive. It was delivered into the warehouse last Wednesday, a week after Pat left. Jenny says there’s no way he could have got to Beijing, fixed the problem, and the glass be made and delivered in the time. It was wrongly labelled. No one noticed until Paul found it.’
‘More of Quong’s inefficiency?’ BJ said thoughtfully.
‘One of the warehouse managers, apparently responsible for all the problems Ben had been having.’
Carol looked sceptical. ‘How do you miss a large shipment of glass that everyone’s waiting on to complete a major project? They all knew it was urgently needed.’
‘How indeed?’ he agreed softly.
She grinned. ‘Then I went to see Pat’s housekeeper, Mona Feng.’
‘Well, Jenny thought she’d be the best one to tell me exactly what happened that night,’ she said. ‘Pat did have a violent row with Wanda and came back very late. He wasn’t his normal self. Mona thinks he was very disturbed in his mind.’
‘You’re suggesting Wanda was killed when the fight broke out again, the fight the Delaneys overheard, then Pat called Guy who helped him dispose of her body and cover his tracks?’
‘It makes sense.’
‘More than you know,’ BJ informed her. ‘It’s the official theory.’ He described the events of that night.
As he finished, Carol looked at him gravely. ‘You’re hating this, aren’t you? You love David and Jean, these people are all your friends. You have to hound them and you can’t help them.’
His face was still. ‘Yes, that’s about it.’
‘There’s another thing,’ she continued. ‘I think Pat is still in Hong Kong, being hidden by Guy.’
He studied her face. ‘Where in Hong Kong?’
‘Guy told me about his bungalow on Lantau Island,’ she said. ‘He wouldn’t take me there; he said there wasn’t time. There was plenty of time, as it happens. Later, I - I mentioned it again. He was adamant.’
‘I see.’ BJ’s eyes were veiled. ‘So what did you do instead?’
‘Nothing, inspector. After that the China Wind blew up.’
There was a pause. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said stiffly. ‘What you do with Guy is your business.’
‘What makes you think I want to do anything with Guy?’ she challenged.
‘He’s very attractive to women.’
‘So he is.’
BJ stood up abruptly. ‘There’s a reason why he wouldn’t take you. I also thought Pat might be on Lantau. But he has his own place there; he wouldn’t need to go to Guy’s. We followed it up. Guy has a local girl on the island. It wouldn’t have suited him at all for you to walk in on another woman.’
He watched as Carol digested this then his face softened. ‘It’s getting late. Are you hungry?’
He grinned. ‘Do you like Italian?’
‘Love it. Are you cooking?’
‘Yes, I make very good pasta.’
‘What a versatile man you are, inspector.’ Carol uncurled her legs. ‘Can I help?’
They prepared their meal and shared a bottle of wine. They ate mostly in silence, each preoccupied with their own private thoughts, aware of a constraint between them. After they washed the dishes, Carol had a shower and retired to her room.
She sat for some time on the bed, deep in thought. Finally she rose and went into the living room. BJ sat on the sofa, his head in his hands, his body hunched in a way that made her want to say something to comfort him.
I don’t know how to help him, she thought unhappily. I’m no use to him at all.
He looked up, his expression bleak. ‘Do you have a photograph of Pat?’ she asked tentatively. ‘I’ve only heard second-hand descriptions.’
‘Somewhere.’ BJ sounded drained. He looked around, then stood up and crossed to a bureau. He opened a drawer and produced a manilla envelope. ‘There were photographs taken at last year’s Langford Cup.’ He brought out some colour prints. ‘Yes, here’s Pat with Wanda and again with Guy.’
He handed them to Carol. She stared at the snaps, her eyes wide with the sudden shock of deja-vu.
BJ nodded. ‘They are extraordinarily alike. Seen together, there are obvious differences and you couldn’t confuse them. Guy’s hair is darker, Pat’s eyes lighter, Pat is taller by half an inch. But the smile, the set of the head, the walk - they’re more like brothers than cousins.’
‘Yes,’ she said abstractedly. ‘I see. Oh, now I see.’
He stopped. ‘What do you see?’
She looked up, frowning slightly. ‘No, I could be quite wrong. May I keep these for a while?’
She gave him a brief smile and took the photographs into the bedroom. She was still staring at them when the door opened. She turned and was about to speak but the intensity of BJ’s expression silenced her. Her heart thudded painfully.
He said quietly, ‘I’ll go if you want me to.’
She moved quickly to him, ‘No, I want you to stay.’
His arms went around her and she gave a sigh of pure relief as she felt their gentle strength. She lifted her face and saw him smiling down at her, just before his mouth found hers.