Kkotboda Namja: A Detective Story, Chapter 3 Part 3

Kkotboda Namja: A Detective Story

Chapter 3. The Usual Suspects

Part 3: Ha Jae Kyung  

Detective Song Woo Bin  

5 Jan.

1415 hours. Ha Jae Kyung, maid, smiles prettily as she enters. Her smile falters when it reaches me, and her expression reads as uncertain. She recognises me. My mind runs back through all the women I’ve known. I can’t find this Ha Jae Kyung.  

‘Have we met?’ I ask her.  

Her face immediately brightens. ‘Not until just now Detective Song.’ She takes my hand and shakes it warmly. She walks to her chair. I return to my spot near the wall and watch her mould her small, lithe body into the chair. Very nice.  

‘Miss Jae Kyung,’ Yi Jeong says.

‘Detective So!’ she gasps. ‘Are you all right?’

Yi Jeong blinks and touches his eye self-consciously. ‘I am fine Miss. Thank you for your concern. I’m afraid being a police detective sometimes brings me into contact with some unsavoury people.’

Jae Kyung’s eyes widen. ‘Did you catch them? The men who hurt your eye.’

Yi Jeong smiles and reaches across the table to take her hands in his. ‘Of course. I am very good at my job, among other things.’

Jae Kyung’s pale cheeks flush red. ‘I know. I’ve seen your work, your pottery. You’re very talented, especially to find time for your art when you must have to devote so much to your police duties.’

Man, another one. I need a hobby that makes the girls wet. Being able to take down men twice my side doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Just last week a hottie left me for a weak stick who cross-stitches – and I don’t even know what that is.

‘Thank you Miss Jae Kyung. Can you please tell us how did you come to be on the Yun yacht last night?’

‘Chef Bom asked me to help him cater the evening. I’ve been working in his porridge shop the past few months, ever since I returned from living overseas. The food is delicious, but the customers just don’t come, so Chef is in a bit of a pickle financially. His friend, Chu Ga Eul, got him the job with the Yuns. He hoped that the Yuns would enjoy his food and invest in the porridge shop. I guess that won’t happen now.’

‘Don’t worry,’ Yi Jeong says, ‘a girl as pretty as you need not worry about finding another job.’

Jae Kyung giggles in that familiar girlish way. Yeah, my boy’s the Man.  

‘If you don’t mind, Miss Jae Kyung, why were you working for Chef Bom in the first place?’

‘I’m sorry?’ Her doll-like face crinkles with confusion, but her eyes are oddly fearful.

‘We know who you are, Miss Ha. You’re the daughter of the former president of JK Group, who fled Korea with his family ten years ago after being indicted for fraud and embezzlement. Your father escaped as a very wealthy man so I’m sure you understand why it’s hard to believe that you would return to Korea to work in a porridge shop.’

Jae Kyung is clearly unsettled, but she takes a deep breath and speaks directly to Yi Jeong. ‘My father is a loving man Detective So, but one who has made many mistakes.’ She turns her doe eyes on me. ‘I do not wish to repeat his mistakes. I want to live an honest life, here, in my home country, and a private life as well. Do you understand?’

I understand. Jae Kyung knows who I am, my family. But she left Korea as a young girl, and only recently returned, so how can she know me?

‘I’m sorry for intruding on your private life Miss Jae Kyung. Please forgive me.’

‘Of course, Detective So. Please ask me any questions you think may help you solve Yun Ji Hoo’s murder. I want to help in any way I can.’

Her voice is as sweet as sugar, or is that the sweetness of Splenda I’m hearing?

‘Can you please tell us how you recognised Gu Jun Pyo when he boarded the Yun yacht last night?’

‘I read the papers,’ she says. ‘I’ve been away from home for so long. I tried to keep up to date as much as I could. Gu Jun Pyo, Yun Ji Hoo, even you Detective So and you Detective Song. I have read about all of you, and seen your pictures.’

‘I was in the paper?’ I ask.

‘Yes. In the society pages. The opening of your father’s club last April. And there were articles and pictures covering Detective So’s pottery exhibition last June.’

‘So the man you saw board Yun Ji Hoo’s yacht last night was Gu Jun Pyo.’

‘Yes.’

Yi Jeong continues. ‘Miss Jae Kyung, did you see either Yun Ji Hoo or Gu Jun Pyo after they entered the pool room that evening?’

Jae Kyung shakes her head. ‘No, but I did hear them.’ She lowers her eyes, as if reluctant to continue. ‘I went to ask if Masters Ji Hoo, or Jun Pyo wanted some supper, but I heard them arguing from behind the door and was afraid to enter. So I left.’

‘What were they arguing about?’

‘I tried not to eavesdrop. But I couldn’t help but hear some of it, when they raised their voices. Even Ga Eul, who remained in the kitchen, heard some of it. They shouted so loudly…I’m surprised that Chef and Geum Jan Di slept through it. Yun Ji Hoo was shouting his wife’s name, ‘why Geum Jan Di!’ he said. And Gu Jun Pyo said, ‘It’s always been Geum Jan Di.’ or something. Then Yun Ji Hoo said ‘Please Jun Pyo, don’t do this. And Gu Jun Pyo shouted ‘I love her’. And that’s all I heard.’

She stares at us expectantly. Yi Jeong thanks her for her cooperation and suspends the interview. I offer to walk her out, but strangely she declines. I watch her leave the room. There’s something about that girl, and I’m not sure which part of my anatomy is giving me that feeling.

‘Ha Ja Kyung’s story matches Chef Bom’s,’ Yi Jeong says, interrupting my thoughts, ‘and with her additional statements, it’s looking more and more likely that Gu Jun Pyo’s involved if not outright guilty.’

I sit on the table. ‘Fantastic.’ My tone is sarcastic, but Yi Jeong can tell I’m serious. I love to mess with the one percent.

‘Listen, maybe I should take Kim with me to see Gu Jun Pyo,’ Yi Jeong says. ‘I hear Gu has quite a temper.’

‘The murderous kind do you think.’

‘Maybe.’ He ignores my casual tone. ‘If he’s being fooling around with Yun’s wife, then he has motive and opportunity, not to mention the connections to clean up any mistakes made in the heat of the moment. I bet we won’t get anything useful back from forensics. If we have to go hard at Gu, it doesn’t matter if he’s our guy or not, he’ll swing back.’

I take his implication. If Gu comes after me, with my history…whatever, ‘I can handle myself. Besides, even Shinhwa knows to be cautious around a Song.’

Yi Jeong relents. He never expected to dissuade me; the rascal just likes to make sure I know when he’s right. ‘Well, before we visit your old school chum, let’s finish up with the other maid, Miss…’ he checks his pad, ‘Chu Ga Eul.’

SoEulmates will meet in…  

Chapter 3. The Usual Suspects
Part 4: Chu Ga Eul

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