“I FEEL LIKE your dog,” Mundy stated after he picked me up on PCH at the Santa Monica pier. “You whistle and I come running.”
“Stop it; your ears are still flapping.”
“And my tongue hangs from the corner of my mouth!” Mundy made a grimace. “So they found poor Phoebe at last. Not in Altward’s apartment but on the beach.”
“Someone disposed of her after stashing her in the bathroom of Altward’s pied-a-terre.”
“I bet she died because whoever stole the Maximilian Jewels wanted the missing piece.”
“I thought we had her pegged as one of the lead suspects.”
“OK, your story comes next. But first me, Phoebe was together with Altward. Maybe she sometimes borrowed some of the antique jewelry from Altward’s inventory so she could strut around with it on. Or perhaps he sometimes gave her stuff on a temporary basis. She stumbles upon ‘The Max’ Collection, wears a piece now and then. By coincidence, she has the Maximilian necklace around her neck when the gallery is robbed and Wally Eastman dies. The thief finds one piece missing, goes looking for Phoebe, kills her and retrieves the missing piece. Now the thief has the complete set in his possession and can sell it to ‘The Jacuzzi Japanese.'”
“Flaw, counselor,” I interrupted. “How does the robber slash killer know about Phoebe’s neck?”
“Don’t bore me with details. Maybe the murderer visited her the same day that Ron and you did. I don’t know. Now your turn,” Mundy gave up.
“The Altward theory. She knows about ‘The Max’ or maybe even about the murder in the gallery. Maybe even too much. She threatens to spill the beans to the police because of the murder of her father. So Altward kills her. Or maybe one of Altward’s associates kills her. Still looks best to me,” I said, yawning.
Mundy drove on.
And after five minutes, he muttered under his breath, “We make shitty detectives!”
Phoebe made a small item on page five of the L.A. Times. The police learned that she was dead prior to being thrown into the water and her father had died a few days earlier in a robbery. No connection between the two crimes, at least not seen today. Investigation pending. The San Diego Tribune had a larger item, Altward connection and all. But it was neither comprehensive nor enlightening.