Detective Phansy knocked thrice on the gargoyle knocker and we waited for the massive oak doors to swing open. In five years with the murder squad, not many things intimidated me, I had seen it all, or I thought I had. But the three-mile drive inside the estate and finally parking my mini wagon among rows of Ferraris, Rolls Royce and Lamborghinis had ensured that I stand smaller than my five feet eight inch, in front of whoever opened that door.
“The Kains are wealthier than I imagined, Sir.” I spoke, tapping my feet.
“Of course they are, McLane. You Irish don’t know the meaning of true wealth now, do you?” Phansy said, roaming his disdainful gaze from my mop of waist long red hair down to my freckled face and a body that worked out, but did not say no to baguettes.
“Sir, we got wealthy people in Ireland, what are you talking about?” my voice took a high-pitched whine, the kind that appeared whenever I felt defensive.
“Not like the English do, McLane, not like the English.”
Just when my voice was about to reach a pitch higher than earlier, the door swung open and a stately woman of about fifty opened the door, and said, “Yes?”
Phansy jumped in to educate the woman of the house, “Oh Mrs. Kain, I am Detective Phansy, with a ‘Ph’. I know this would be terrible inconvenience but we have some questions regarding your husband’s unfortunate demise yesterday. I do hope you can give us ten minutes of your precious time.”
The woman gazed between the two of us confused and it did not take me long to figure out that this wasn’t Mrs. Kain, after all. My guess would be her mother. But by then Phansy had already put his arm around the dignified lady and was leading her into the gorgeous living room, he even tried to gently push her down the plush victorian sofa; that was when the lady finally found her voice and said, “You have me mistaken, Sir. I am Mrs. Kain’s personal maid.”
“A bloody maid!” Phansy dropped his hands from her shoulders like she was a hot potato, which she definitely wasn’t. She looked like the kind of woman you would want doing your finances and managing your affairs.
“Umm… yes sir.” I whispered into his ears. “Don’t you remember that last year Mr. Kain had remarried some woman half his age?”
“And what made you keep your mouth shut all this time, McLane?” Phansy turned his fury to me.
“Umm… Ma’am.” I directed my question to the personal maid. “Is Mrs. Kain here? Can we talk to her for few minutes?”
“Yes Maid, bring forth your Mistress.” Phansy waved his hand in dramatic flourish.
The woman clearly looked annoyed when she met my gaze and said, “Mrs. Kain is in the parlor? This way, Detective.”
“Maid” Phansy clarified, “can’t you say from her uniform that she’s just a constable. I am the detective, Det. Phansy, at your service.” Phansy again did a dramatic bow, a remnant from his failed career in theatre that the Homicide squad never gets to see the end of.
The Maid looked at me again and spoke loudly, “Madam, I do not wish to talk to this man, he is rude and obnoxious.”
“I could implicate you in the death of Mr. Kain, Maid.” He declared, but the maid was unfazed as she continued guiding us to this mystical parlor through never ending porches and passages.
As we entered the parlor, we saw two women dancing close, holding each other, their heads resting one on top of another. It felt like we had walked into an intimate moment between two lovers.
The maid cleared her throat, and the raven-haired woman turned around.
“Oh God!” She exclaimed and pushed the blonde one away from her. For a moment, a flash of fear passed through her perfectly framed face, before she composed herself and gave us a dazzling smile.
“Kathy” she addressed the maid, in a singsong voice. “This is the police, I assume.”
“Yes Mistress.” Kathy said. “Detective Fancy and Constable…?” She looked at me to confirm my name.
“McLane, Ma’am. I am Constable McLane.” I finished.
“Oh thank God.” Mrs. Kain said. “I thought you were that nosy reporter who has been stalking us since yesterday.”
“Mrs. Kain”, Phansy interrupted before I could ask about the reporter. “Let me introduce myself again, since your Maid did not get it right the first time. I am Detective Phansy, with a Ph.” He walked ahead and put his hand out there for Mrs. Kain to shake. She took his hand in hers and a tear trickled down her right eye.
“Oh Detective Pansy…” She held his hand.
“Ma’am… its Phansy with a Ph.” Phansy whispered but she ignored it.
“Please tell me you have caught the horrible man who killed my husband in such a brutal manner…” She whispered and walked close enough to Phansy that her chest was scraping his. I saw Phansy take a sharp breath. The blonde woman walked behind Mrs. Kain and hugged her. Her chin rested on Kain’s shoulders and her blue eyes beseeched Phansy.
It was then I noticed that both women wore sheer red gowns with a clear view of their red lingerie underneath. I saw Phansy stiffen.
The blonde ones’ hands roamed Mrs. Kain’s flat stomach, sometimes her fingers even brushing Kain’s crotch.
“Mrs. Kain,” Phansy spoke, “Of course we will find justice for your husband. We just had a few questions we would like to ask you in private.”
“Kathy, you can leave now.” Kain dismissed her personal maid and looked at Phansy.
“Go ahead, Detective Nancy.” She smiled a brilliant smile, just as another tear trickled down her left cheek.
“Umm… Phansy Ma’am. Phansy with Ph. What about your… what about the lady?” He pointed to the blonde one, who pouted at him and then winked at me.
“Oh don’t worry, Detective Dansy. You can talk about anything in front of Laila. She used to be Mr. Kain’s personal secretary.” And then Mrs. Kain petted Laila’s head like she was dog. Laila purred and rubbed her body against Mrs. Kain.
“Okay…” Even Phansy seemed out of words at this strange display.
“When was the last time you saw, Mr. Kain?” He asked, his notepad and pen ready.
“Oh…” She sat on the plush lounger next to the French windows; she dragged the petite blonde on her laps and said, “When was it, Laila?”
And as they pondered over the last time Mrs. Kain saw her husband, Phansy slid up to me. I was confident that even he would be able to see the weirdness of the whole situation, when he put his hand dangerously close to my left butt cheek and said, “Isn’t it beautiful to see two women getting along like sisters? I wish you were more like this with other female constables, McLane.”
“What?” I almost shouted. “You want me to rub my body against Erica from back end and make Victoria from forensics, sit on my laps, Detective?”
“Oh, you know what I mean, McLane. Now don’t go around screaming #metoo to the chief.” Phansy whispered furiously.
“Detective Fancyyyy…“ Mrs. Kain called out in her singsong voice. “It was yesterday morning when he left the bed for work. Laila and I were both asleep.”
“In the same bed?” I asked incredulous. And Laila started giggling, that made Mrs. Kain break into a throaty laugh.
“Oh my. Constable McLane. You are ridiculous. Plus this question is not relevant to Mr. Kain’s death now, is it?” Phansy gave me a look that could kill a rookie on the spot. But I wasn’t a rookie, so I looked back at the ladies and asked again.
“Could you answer my question, Mrs. Kain and Laila?”
“I woke up alone, if that’s what you want to know.” She looked at Phansy. “Plus Detective Pansy, I am a grieving widow, why is this woman treating me like a murder suspect?” Laila scrambled up Mrs. Kain’s lap and buried her face into her breasts like a spoiled child. Was that really his personal secretary, the woman who managed Kain’s multimillion-dollar business? It was hard to believe. I made a mental note to investigate the women more.
“It is fine, Mrs. Kain. Laila, can you answer, when you last saw Mr. Kain?” Phansy asked the blonde.
“When he left the bed… I was sleeping.” She said. Even her voice was that of a spoiled little girl.
“So, you were all in bed together?” I asked, again.
“It is irrelevant, McLane. Maybe Laila could have gotten into bed with Mrs. Kain because she was scared in the night. Isn’t it, Laila?” Phansy looked at Laila, encouraging her to corroborate his inference.
“That could be the reason… Detective Nancy.” She said, pouting and giving me the death glare.
“Phansy… with a… Nevermind. What was he wearing when he left?” Phansy asked.
“Well, his navy blue jacket, white shirt, blue and white checkered tie and navy blue trousers…” Mrs. Kain answered. Phansy and I looked at each other. Mrs. Kain was right about everything, except the tie. The tie was missing on Mr. Kain’s body. Having been strangulated after his teeth were all pulled out, while he was still alive, we assumed that the tie was most likely the murder weapon.
“That will be all, Mrs. Kain.” Phansy said.
“What brand was the tie?” I asked Mrs. Kain.
“I said, that will be all, McLane. We are done here.” Phansy said.
“It is okay Detective Pansy. It was a Bvlgari tie, Mr. Kain always wears Bvlgari ties, Constable.” She stressed on the word constable.
“Thank you, Mrs. Kane. That will be all.” I said and started walking off, Phansy bid them goodbye and followed me in a hurried pace.
“What was that about, McLane?” He asked, catching up to me. “What did the brand of the murder weapon have to do anything with it?”
I fingered the blue and white-checkered piece of cloth with a half burned tag that read ‘Bvl’; that I had recovered from the fireplace in the Kain living room.
“Nothing, Detective. Just curious.” I said.