The Pearl Diver

The Pearl Diver by Sujata Massey

Book: The Pearl Diver by Sujata Massey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sujata Massey
representing me.”
    The horror of the situation was growing exponentially. Not only would I have the whole restaurant staff furious with me, I’d have Hugh going bonkers as well. “Ah, you know, Kendall, I don’t think Hugh’s got the necessary American credentials to do that kind of work. And think carefully about whether you need to get a lawyer at all. Aren’t you just relieved to be alive?”
    “You don’t think that I should sue? Win does. He thinks we have a very strong case.”
    “I think what we need to do is find and punish the guys who took you.” I paused. “I read your statement, but there are still a lot of questions that I have. I know that they just drove up and grabbed you. Did they talk to you, you know, say what they wanted you to do?”
    “They asked me to give them my purse. I said that I didn’t have it. I was so scared, I dropped my glass. Then they”—Kendall paused, and her face scrunched, as if she was trying to hold back tears—“asked me my name. I didn’t think of lying; maybe I should have. Now they can figure out where I live, especially since the news reports keep calling me a Potomac woman.”
    “What else did they say?”
    “They told me not to scream or do anything stupid, just to get in the trunk, which was insanely difficult in my shoes—it broke the heel off one of my Manolos. The police gave it back to me, but the shoe will never be the same.”
    But Kendall would be the same. Her reactions were proof. I said, “Oh, my.”
    “When the lid came down, it was completely black in there. I didn’t know which would be worse, to be killed in the woods or wherever they wanted to take me, or to die in the trunk, without air.”
    I put my arms around Kendall and hugged her. “I know how you feel.”
    “You can’t possibly.” Kendall stiffened.
    I didn’t argue with my cousin, but I did know. I’d been tied up in a dark cave once, a spooky, isolated spot that I knew no rescuer would ever find. Another time, I’d been locked in a pitch-black storehouse. It was scary in dark places where someone had left you to die. The saving grace was that I’d had resolution—the people in Japan who had tried to kill me had been caught, while Kendall’s were still on the street.
    “What physical details did you notice about them?”
    “It was all so quick. They looked like—oh, the kind of guys you would see on the street anywhere. Baggy pants, down or leather jackets. They all wore knit caps, and the one who talked to me was wearing a balaclava. I was scared out of my mind. I kept hoping one of the cooks would bring out trash or something and see what was going on, but it all happened so fast.”
    “Any other details?”
    “Well, not really about them. But in the car—the trunk—there was a box of, I think, take-out food, with a really strong smell.”
    “What kind of smell?” Jiro had said he suspected the kidnappers had been restaurant competitors.
    “Chinese food. I saw the restaurant’s logo on the bag around the container when I was being forced into the trunk. It came from Plum Ink.”
    Plum Ink was the Chinese restaurant whose owner had tried to fight Marshall on having a parking pad. Could he have masterminded an abduction from that parking pad to prove a point? Or was the food there for a more obvious reason? “Maybe the kidnappers stopped for dinner first. Whoever waited on them might be able to give a description.”
    “But the cops told me the car was stolen,” Kendall answered. “Isn’t it more likely that the owners of the car had gone to the restaurant and forgotten the food in their trunk?”
    “It all depends on where the car was stolen. That will be easy enough to check out.” I looked at my cousin, who suddenly seemed smaller than I’d thought. She was so thin, so breakable. “I don’t like those men out there any more than you do. Until they’re caught, no woman in the Washington area is safe.”
    Kendall sighed and said, “I don’t think

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