Authors: Hazel Edwards
Tags: #Children's Fiction - Mystery
âWas that the reprint which got mixed up with Red's photos?' said Amy.
Gloria nodded. âMeanwhile, Mr Ng learnt that the second Ming vase was in the Amsterdam gallery. Brut stole the vase from Amsterdam. His face was caught on the security video. That's why INTERPOL were looking for him.'
âDid he work for Mr Ng?' asked Christopher.
âAs Mr Yap, he worked for Mr Wang, the drug dealer.' said Gloria. âWe know that much.'
âCould Mr Wang and Mr Ng be the same person? suggested Christopher, joining up his doodles.
âAnd he's on this flight, under another name,' Gloria wasn't listening.
âWhose name?' asked Amy.
âWe'll find out before the flight touches down in Tokyo. Luckily he can't escape from the plane until then.' said Gloria.
âMr Ng is also a client of Mr Kei,' added Amy. âThere must be a link.' She pulled out the business card which had fallen from Mr Kei's pocket. The name on the card was not KEI . Had the card been given to him by someone else? Or was it his? Why was Mr Kei carrying a business card which said
MR WANG? And why was Gloria so interested in the silver chained briefcase? As passengers slept around them, the twins tried to work out the mystery. At last, Christopher had an idea. He shared it with his sister.
âYes,' agreed Amy.
Mr Kei looked carefully around Tokyo airport. The briefcase was gripped tightly. Several times, he touched the padlock to check. The charms tinkled on his silver watchband. He looked nervous. He didn't notice Gloria nor the Rembrandt guard watching him from behind the barrier. The twins were alongside Tess.
Near the WELCOME TO TOKYO sign, a neat man was holding a sign in front of his chest. The sign said âMeeting Mr Kei.' He was also holding a briefcase.
âI am Mr Kei.' âDo you have some proof, please sir?' asked the man.
Mr Kei showed his passport. âAre you from the Tokyo Gallery?' he asked the man.' Show me some I.D. please?'
The man showed him a glossy photo-card with TOKYO GALLERY EMPLOYEE written in English and Japanese.
âYes,' said Mr Kei. âNow, do you have your key to open the padlock?'
âUse your first, please sir.'
Mr Kei took a silver key which was one of the charms on his watch band.
He unlocked the first keyhole. Mr Kei said, âInside is the contract for the gallery. It contains Mr Ng's requirements for putting on a show of artwork from his private collection. This includes a pair of Ming vases and other works. The Ming vase is arriving separately with another courier.'
âAgreed,' The gallery employee signed the form. He used a silver key to unlock the second keyhole in the dual lock. The briefcase was open now.
âThese must go into YOUR briefcase now,' said Mr Kei handing over the documents. âI will keep this empty briefcase to use in my other business.'
âNo sir,' said a firm voice. âWe are from INTERPOL. We'll take the briefcase which is NOT empty.'
Startled, Mr Kei swung around. For a moment, he looked as though he might run. The Rembrandt guard was ready to chase him. But there was no need. The uniformed man from INTERPOL took Kei's arm. Gloria was just behind him and she took the briefcase.
âWe know there are drug contracts inside here too. There is also a rolled canvas of a famous Smith paintings and maybe a rare coin to be sold illegally in Tokyo. It was falsely advertised as stolen, for insurance purposes.'
Gloria unrolled the Smith canvas which had been inside the briefcase.
âThat's one of mine.' said Tess in astonishment. âI painted it years ago as an art student. But it's got Smith's name signed on it. I didn't paint that!'
âWhat?' Mr Kei looked shocked. âIt's a fake! Samuel sold it to me as a genuine Smith!'
âThis briefcase needed two keys to open it. That's why it was waved through Customs. And you had only one key. You needed the other key from the Tokyo Gallery. They insisted on the dual security.' Sharply Mr Kei looked up. âHow did you work that out?'
âYou ARE Mr Ng, the collector aren't you? And the Ming vases did belong to your ancestors. You were trying to get the pair back together, illegally.' Christopher the sleuth was on the job. âWhy do you say that?' Mr Kei was stunned. âYou had your own key to the padlock. A courier wouldn't have that! And the gallery is displaying artwork belonging to Mr Ng.' said Christopher.'We saw the posters.'
âNobody would suspect Mr Ng of being his own courier. Especially as most people do not know his face.' added the INTERPOL man. âTokyo Gallery probably didn't know that.' âThey didn't.' Mr Kei was shocked. He thought he'd escaped INTERPOL in Sydney. âI made a mistake there. I was in a hurry. I called myself Kei to get out of Australia on a fake passport. Okay, if I'm Mr Ng, where is Mr Wang? INTERPOL really want the drug dealer.' Mr Kei blustered.
Amy interrupted âI think that might be your other name?'
âCan you prove it?'
Christopher pulled out the Ming vase photo and the envelope he'd borrowed from Red. The R.P.G group were still getting their props through Customs.
âYes,' said Amy. âThe address on the FAST FOTOS for Mr Wang and the address on the newspaper clipping for Mr Ng was the same. I think you are both people.'
âCollecting art is my passion.Last year I bought the priceless Ming vase as as a birthday present to myself,' said Mr Kei/Ng/WANG as he was led away by INTERPOL.'I wanted to show off my beautiful collection in Tokyo.'
âHis next birthdays will now be spent in prison.' Gloria was serious. âHow can a collector who buys and loves beautiful art, sell drugs which destroy lives?'.
âThree names,' said William thoughtfully. âI was right.'
âMr Ng, the collector was my client,' said Tess. âAt least I thought so. I thought I was carrying the Ming vase to Tokyo. It was a proper courier's job. My fare was paid. It's just that I hid the vase amongst my clothes in the backpack.'
A little later, Gloria explained that Mr Ng thought he had the only Ming vase from his ancestors' grave. Then he heard that another was in an Amsterdam museum. So he arranged to get it.'
âIllegally?' asked the twins.
âNo. He asked Samuel the dealer to get it for him. When he found it was impossible to buy the Ming vase legally, he arranged to have it stolen.'
âWas Brut the thief he paid?' asked Amy.
Gloria looked surprised. âYes. His face was on the web- cam.'
It turned out that Gloria had had a tip- off from INTERPOL about stolen artworks and that the thief might be travelling on this flight. Only they weren't sure which artworks. Ng was smuggling art he'd bought and was pretending had been stolen so he could claim insurance.
âWas William working for you, Gloria?' asked Amy. âLooked too good to be true as a flight attendant.'
âWilliam was working undercover for INTERPOL and for me,' smiled Gloria.âTess joined a little later.'
As an art student, Tess sold the paintings as her own work. Fakers passed them off as the work of Smith the famous. Samuel sold them to Ng the collector as genuine Smiths. Mr Ng was conned.
âTess, did your uncle really leave you an artefact?' Christopher wasn't sure whether that was part of Tess's cover.
âYes, my uncle did die recently. But the painting he left me was one I'd done for him. It was one of mine!' laughed Tess. âNot worth millions.'
Amy remembered that Tess had tossed a coin before she told them the Golden Buddha story. âWas that a rare coin?
Tess just winked.
âCouldn't have been THE rare one,' decided Christopher. âThat was in the Mr Kei's chained briefcase.'
âIn Sydney, who were you talking to with this phone card?' Amy held up the card Tess had given to her for her collection.
âINTERPOL.' said Tess.
âWhy did you chase Brut when he took Red's bag?' asked Christopher.
âI thought he was a thief, after the sword,' admitted Tess. âINTERPOL had asked me to watch for anything suspicious about artwork. So I was just trying to do a good job.'
Just then, Red walked past with his role-playing-gamers. He waved the sword. âSee you. We got through security.'
âGood luck with the game.' called the twins. âHope you sell lots.'
Below them, Tess watched as the Rembrandt was unloaded. âI remember copying that painting a few years ago. A dealer bought it for $300. Are you sure that's not a copy?'
Both guards looked worried. âWhat? It's meant to be priceless.'
âIt is,' said Samuel as Gloria escorted him away. âNothing to do with me.'
âJust a fake joke,' laughed Tess
Samuel called over his shoulder,' But my offer for your lifesaver card was genuine, Amy. Not less than a thousand. American dollars or yen.'
âThey're not the same,' said Amy. He was trying to trick her again.
âHe'll need more than a lifesaver card,' said Gloria. âWith all these charges about faking masterpieces, setting up fake robberies for insurance and sellingfake collectors' items, Samuel's in big trouble. No more First Class travel for years, except in a prison van. And Mr Wang won't be travelling far either.'
Christpher picked up his sketch pad which had fallen on the ground. The pages opened to his insect sketches of the passengers. Amy pointed,' You were right. You drew Mr Kei as a chameleon, the one who changes to blend with his surroundings.'
A few weeks later, the twins arrived home from Tokyo. They'd had a great time. Aunty Viv was at the airport to meet them. They hugged her.
âWe've got you a present Aunty Viv.'
Christopher was hesitant. Maybe it wasn't a good idea.The twins had thought a lot about this present. Would Aunty Viv use it?
âThank you.' Aunty Viv gave them a hug. She unwrapped the gift paper on the envelope shape. âA gift voucher? Great.'
Then she looked more closely at the wording. âFear of Flying Lessons. A course of ten lessons... to be used before the end of this year. â
âThe Women Pilots' Group run the course,' said Amy quickly. âAnd they help you.'
Aunty Viv said, âThere's no way my feet are leaving the ground. The plane goes so high, there's nothing to hold it up and I'm sure it'll crash.'
Amy knew that Aunty Viv wouldn't want to go up. So she'd thought of ways to persuade her.
âThe first lesson, you just go out to the airport and watch planes landing and taking off.'
âI do that all the time, with you.' Aunty Viv eyes were sparkly or perhaps they were just scared.
âThey give you a relaxation tape . Look, Aunty Viv, Australia's a flat country. There aren't many mountains to crash into. No snow blizzards, like North America. And the population is small, so the air isn't as crowded with flying passengers.' Aunty Viv didn't look convinced.
âAnd at the end of the course, you go on a graduation flight.' added Christopher before Amy was able to shut him up with a quick kick.
âThat's what I'm concerned about.' She looked closely at the gift voucher.
âWould it make you feel bad if I traded this for white water rafting or abseiling or something?'
âBut 96% of people who do the Fear of Flying course, succeed,' added Christopher.
âI've always been one of a minority,' said Aunty Viv firmly. âSucceed in what? Paying for the course?'
âWe've done that. With Mum's help.' said the twins.
Aunty Viv looked ashamed. âSorry. I know you mean well. But I really don't like flying.'
Ten weeks later, the co-ordinator of the Fear of Flying Clinic received a post card.
THANK YOU FOR THE COURSE. I'VE RE-ENROLLED FOR NEXT TERM.
I'VE ALSO ENROLLED FOR FEAR OF BUNJEE JUMPING. VIV.