The Let's Play Archive

Murder off Miami

by SelenicMartian

Part 8: Pages 98 to 109. Doing some funny business.

: Only two interviews to go and we're done with the fourth report!


: Good morning, Mr. Hayashi.

: Good morning, Officer.

: I don't think you were quite frank with me yesterday.

: Oh, but I am always frank. I answer everything you ask - yes?

: Maybe, but you didn't go out of your way to give me any extra information, did you? For instance, you didn't tell me that you had written a note to Blane asking him either to come to your cabin or give you a meeting in his before dinner.

: I did not think that had any bearing on the case.

: It has a bearing which may make things look very nasty for you, Mr. Hayashi. What time did Blane come to your cabin?

: He did not come to my cabin.

: Then what time did you go to his?

: I did not go to his cabin. Poor man, he ignored my note, perhaps because he had no option.

: What time did you send that postcard along to him?

: About ten past seven, soon after Mr. Blane came on board. I wrote it in the small writing-room here and sent it down at once.

: What were you so anxious to see him about?

: It is quite simple. I have the disposal of the soap monopoly of my country in my hands. I must get the best price for my country that I can. I have been negotiating for its sale by correspondence with both Mr. Rocksavage and Mr. Blane, but neither would make me a definite offer. I knew that if these two once got together the chances were that they would arrange an amalgamation. That would have put an end to their competition and my government would have had to accept a much lesser price in consequence. It was my business, therefore, to try and arrange a deal with one of these two gentlemen before they met. I spoke to Mr. Rocksavage soon after I came on board in the afternoon, and he was unwilling to deal with me until he had seen M. Blane. His position was, of course, then far stronger than Mr. Blane's, because the shares of the Blane companies had been falling so heavily during the past few weeks. In consequence, I determined to see Mr. Blane, if I could, and try to persuade him to make a firm deal with me. If he had done so it would have strengthened his position in dealing with Mr. Rocksavage tremendously. I do not know if you are well acquainted with the methods of finance but whichever of these gentlemen had purchased the monopoly I have to offer would have been able to float a new issue upon it and, thereby, draw much fresh capital, which they badly needed, into their concerns. I hoped that Mr. Blane might have been persuaded to see the wisdom of saving himself in this manner, before he opened negotiations with Mr. Rocksavage.

: He doesn't talk in paragraphs. How suspicious.

: And what did you hope to gain for yourself, if you could have pulled the deal off?

: For myself, nothing. I am only the employee of the Shikoku Products Company.

: So you say, but what were you standing in to make on the side?

: This suggestion you make is one which I resent most strongly.

: Now you can cut out that high moral stuff right away, and I'm warning you that you had best come clean. Mr. Rocksavage has given me the low down on the situation. You'd have us believe that you're trying to get the highest price you can for the Shikoku people, who are acting for your government, but that is not the case. The thing you're interested in is the highest bribe you can get to split with the Totomi Soap people, in order to stall them off from wrecking the deal. Rocksavage told me himself that he had promised you $1,000,000 to split with them if the deal went through. It's my opinion that you were scared that if Rocksavage and Blane got together they would no longer be prepared to pay you enough to square the Totomi people, so the whole thing would have fallen through.

: That I deny.

: Deny it if you like, but it's the truth and we can prove it. In consequence it becomes quite plain now that you had the strongest possible motives for getting rid of Blane. If he and Rocksavage had ever got together it looked as if you were going to lose your share of a million dollars.

: Do I understand that you accuse me of the murder of this man Blane?

: That's about what it looks like to me.

: No, no - please. You make here a big mistake. I have no hand in that - none whatever.

: Do you deny that Rocksavage had offered you a big bribe which you intended to split with the Totomi Soap Company, and that you feared you would lose it if Rocksavage and Blane came to an understanding?

: On that question I give not my answer now. I reserve it for my defence, should you make the error to charge me with this crime.

: Unfortunately you are unable to prove any alibi. You say you went to your cabin at 6.10 and you did not arrive changed in the lounge . . .

: But I came up again. I wrote the postcard which you found in Mr. Blane's cabin here, in this writing room, between seven and ten past.

: You might have mentioned that yesterday. What did you do then?

: I went down again.

: Well, that doesn't help us any as you were in your cabin between 7.45 and 8.15 and during those thirty minutes, you may have murdered Blane as I suggest.

: No, no. I was in the cabin all that time. Working, please, on my papers and, wait, the steward can prove that I was there at 7.50, because I rang for him.

: Why?

: To bring me some writing paper. When I asked for it before there was none, as the chief steward had only just returned from Miami and he had the key of the store where it was locked up. That was why I wrote first on a postcard. The steward came back with the writing paper about five minutes after I asked him for it.

: Were you changed then?

: No, I had not then changed. I was still in lounge suit at five to eight. The steward can prove that. How then could I change my clothes and murder a man in the short space of 20 minutes when, in that time, I also wrote a longish letter?

: Where is the letter?

: I see no reason why I should answer that question. The document is a secret one and can add nothing to your investigations.

: Mr. Hayashi, you don't seem to realise that you are under suspicion of having committed murder. It is vital for your own sake that you should produce any evidence that will free you from suspicion.

: It may be true that I am under suspicion, but I hope sincerely, Detective Officer, that you will not do anything so foolish as to charge me with murder. I have assured you that that letter exists. It could be produced, and if produced it would clear me of suspicion immediately. It would also, er ..... make rather a fool of you, so I pray you do not force me to produce it.

: Aw, these Oriental tricks won't wash with me. If you'd been writing a letter during those twenty minutes you'd only be too pleased to fetch it up. Will you or won't you?

: I have nothing more to say to you, Sir.

: O.K. I've done my best with you.

: The Bishop, at last.


: Good morning, Bishop. I hope you're feeling all right again now. That was a rotten business your throwing a faint on us yesterday.

: Thank you, thank you, I am better, yes; but my heart you know has been troubling me for some little time and I'm rather subject to these sudden attacks.

: Now, that's real bad, particularly as I've got to ask you some rather unpleasant questions.

: Dear, dear, I cannot think what they would be about. I have nothing to hide, nothing at all, I assure you.

: Well, I hope that is so for all our sakes, but I want the truth about your relations with Bolitho Blane.

: A casual acquaintance made years ago. I barely knew the man, as I told you yesterday.

: Now, that won't do. You evidently haven't looked in your black despatch box this morning, or you'd realise that, when I was searching the cabins yesterday, I removed that letter from it Blane wrote you a few days back from Adlon-Claridge in New York. In that he spoke of the wonderful friendship you had for each other.

: Oh, er - that. What an extraordinary letter it was, wasn't it? I took it to be some kind of a joke. I could hardly regard it as anything else, but I did remember from my meeting with him in the past that Blane had a very queer sense of humour - very queer.

: Pointless sort of joke, wasn't it?

: Quite pointless, but we all know now that the poor fellow was half off his head with worry. I imagine he must have been suffering from some strange reaction caused by overstrain when he wrote it. Those protestations of friendship were so absurd when you consider that I had only met the man quite casually.

: I don't consider anything of the kind, Bishop. In 1917 you knew Blane mighty well.

: What - what's that?

: You heard. You remember that nasty business in 1917, so nasty that we just won't talk about it. You were in that up to the neck and Blane knew it. For reasons we needn't go into, he decided not to spill the beans at the time, and so you managed to get away with it. If you hadn't you wouldn't be a bishop to-day, but Blane hadn't forgotten he had the goods on you and, when he contemplated doing some funny business during his trip in this yacht, he took the precaution of writing you first to tip you off that if you didn't keep your mouth shut he meant to put you though the hoop. Now, what have you got to say?

: Aw, what was the nasty business in 1917?

: I protest, sir. I protest. An Episcopal Court exonerated me completely - on every charge - in that most unsavoury matter in which it was my ill-fortune to be involved when I was with the troops in 1917.

: All of the troops at once? What a man.

: An Episcopal Court might have preferred to give you the benefit of the doubt rather than have a prominent churchman involved in a public scandal.

: Be careful, sir. There is, I warn you, such a thing as the law of libel.

: I should worry. You wouldn't dare to rake that unsavoury scandal up by bringing an action in a civil court but, unless you're very careful, it's all going to come out now whether you want it to or no.

: What d'you mean? You don't think I - I .......

: Well maybe we won't have to rake it up, but that largely depends on you. It's my duty to get the man who has murdered Bolitho Blane and, if you'll give me your assistance, I'll do my best to keep you out of this business as far as I can.

: That's very kind - very kind, indeed. Of course you must quite understand, officer, that there was no foundation for those charges, none at all, but naturally I should find it most distressing to have that horrible affair made public after all these years. I am afraid I don't see, though, how I can help you more that I have done already.

: You came below to your cabin at 7.5 on the night of Blane's death and you did not appear in the lounge until 8.5. What were you doing all that time? I want the truth now.

: I was in my cabin. I never left it I assure you.

: Can you give me any proof that was so?

: No. I fear that I cannot.

: I wonder if you realise the seriousness of your situation Bishop. Here is this man, Blane, who knew something which he might have published to your detriment. He writes you a letter from New York containing a veiled threat that in certain circumstances he may give you away. The moment he comes on board you go down to your cabin. If you had started to change then you had forty clear minutes in which to do so, which would bring you round to 7.45, and then fifteen clear minutes before you appeared in the lounge to kill that man who was holding a threat over you. You were the only person on board who had ever met Blane before and you had a very strong motive for wishing him out of the way. D'you understand now how black this case looks against you?

: But surely you're not suggesting that - that .......

: I certainly am.

: But my dear sir, this is - well really!

: It's really a very strong case against you, unless you can prove what you were doing between 7.5 and 8.0.

: Nothing, absolutely nothing, except changing in my cabin. I give you my word but, unfortunately, there is no way in which I can prove it.

: All right, then, but I'm afraid I shall have to talk to you again later on.

: We learned bugger all from these two. Disappointing.


Having re-examined all the parties, I proceeded to a new analysis of the situation and composed a fresh list of possible motives.

POSSIBLE MOTIVES (No. 2.) 10.3.36.

Mrs. Jocelyn. Nil, as far as is known at the moment, but she is in collusion with her husband, supporting his statement that he was in his bath at 7.45, when we know that he was not, and she may or may not have been in her own cabin at that hour.

Count Posodini Alias "Slick" Daniels. A motive, in that he admits that it was through Blane's agency that he was sent down for his first term in Sing Sing, and that Jocelyn brought him on board with the deliberate intention of giving him the opportunity of getting even with Blane. It is even possible that Jocelyn may have paid him to do the job, or that they did the job between them. His alibi depends on his being able to prove that Mrs. Jocelyn was in his cabin from 7.45 till 8.10, and this she denies.

Mr. Rocksavage. Strong motive, and it is now proved, owing to his capability of changing in under four minutes, that he had ample time to commit the crime between 8.10 and 8.30.

The Bishop of Bude. Strong motive. In the Bishop's previous statement he said that he had only met Blane casually in an English country house home about seven years ago (1929), whereas he does not now deny that he met Blane in France in 1917. Blane's letter shows that there was some strong tie up between the two. It now seems certain that this was in connection with the unsavoury business that the Bishop is so anxious should not be made public. The probability is that Blane was holding this over him and, as there was ample opportunity for the Bishop to commit the crime, he now comes strongly under suspicion.

Lady Welter. Strong motive, owing to the fact that it looks as though she would have been completely bankrupt if the Rocksavage companies had gone under and no longer in a position to finance the group of papers which are her principle life interest.

Mr. Hayashi. Strong motive. It now appears that he stood to lose a considerable sum of money if Blane and Rocksavage had ever got together.

Mr. Jocelyn. Strong motive. Lady Welter's bankruptcy would have thrown him back into the precarious existence which he was leading between 1923 and 1931, with the additional burden of a wife to support. It is now proved that he told a direct lie in his early statement where he said that he was in his bath at 7.45, since Mr. Rocksavage met him in the passage still unchanged at 8.10. Moreover, "Slick" Daniels' evidence goes to show that Jocelyn had deliberately invited him on board in the hope that he might square accounts with Blane.

Miss Rocksavage. Nil, as far as is known at the moment.

: The detective seems to trust and distrust people very selectively.


The foregoing examinations and the writing of the report have occupied me all morning and at the moment I admit that I am completely baffled. Only the two stewards, the ship's carpenter and Stodart are conclusively ruled out, it having been quite impossible for any of them, or any other member of the crew to commit this crime.

Against Miss Rocksavage and the Hon. Mrs. Jocelyn we have no evidence of motive, although both of them had opportunity.

On the other had there was motive and, in many cases, very strong motive against Count Posodini, Mr. Rocksavage, the Bishop of Bude, Lady Welter, Mr. Hayashi and the Hon. Reginald Jocelyn; and all of these had opportunity.

A further report will follow this evening.

1.35 p.m. 10.3.36 on S.Y. Golden Gull.

: Well, not this evening. The fifth and final report is 20 pages long and I intend to cover it in a single update, so it might take some time. Kettering thinks he's baffled now, but wait until we see the last statements and the last pieces of physical evidence. Next time: The final clues.