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BELL-EYE, THE BEST, LITTLEST DETECTIVE AGENCY IN PALM BEACH, FLORIDAThe Lives of The Rich, Famous and Naughty
By Barrett K. Hays India Hays Bella
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Barrett K. Hays M.D., India Hays, and Bella
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHAT CERTAIN RING BELL-EYE
Hello, my name is Bella. I run a detective agency in Palm Beach, Florida. I have only one client—the fabulously rich heiress, India Hays. Yes, that India Hays. Only one client, you say? Well, India is very particular and she would not approve of me working another job. She doesn't know that I own and run the smallest and smartest detective agency in Palm Beach. My agency is called Bell-eye. I am Bell-eye. I have one assistant, a Daschund named Winston, an incurable romantic who is easily befuddled and bemused. Good help is hard to find, even in Palm Beach.
You would like Palm Beach. The weather is good most of the year. The crime rate is low. But even I must admit, crime attempts are not. Palm Beach is an affluent community. Most of our residents have business interests that usually bring an individual at least one million dollars a year. We aren't talking principle or total assets, I am simply saying millionaires are a dime a dozen here. India Hays's dad is a billionaire. I couldn't tell you her net worth, or could I? Client confidentiality! Palm Beach is home to the working rich and the idle rich. India is the working rich. Her dad is always expecting her to have a new idea, a new deal going. And this is where I come in. I have been engaged by my client to see that she doesn't get fleeced, hurt, or taken by anyone. She has lawyers, two bodyguards, and the Palm Beach Police on her side. And she has me, a three-pound Chihuahua. By the way, I was the one who first engaged my services. I have perks, so an income isn't necessary. Excuse me, Perrier Water please with a twist of lime. I will take the two ounce filet mignon, rare. Thank you. A girl has to watch her figure. Sorry, I had to place an order with our chef, Rene. He's from France and he is really good. Honestly, il est tres chic. But I digress. Now where was I? Ah yes. India, for example, didn't know Molly Sherbin. Molly blew into town with impeccable references. She had gone to Radcliffe. She was in the Social Register. And she was even in Town and Country. On the surface, she seemed okay.
But my ears perked up when she wanted a mere two million dollars for a boys' shelter in West Palm Beach. It was such a trifle, pocket change for her cause. Her brochures were fabulous. Her hair was perfect. Her jewelry was magnificent. Her shoes were so Jimmy Achew. I sneezed. Well, India is going shopping on Worth Avenue. Her chauffeur, Marcus, and two bodyguards are going with her. That's Gino and DiMarco. Mean hombres if you catch my drift. But otherwise, her posse is rather nice. India is buying a dress, a pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry, eyewear, and matching accessories for her favorite dog—me!
We have a night to celebrate. I will be wearing Marc Jacobs's "Daisy." That's my favorite scent. I wear Red L'Oreal lipstick. India will be wearing a Prada dress, Fendi shoes, a Tiffany bracelet, and a Harry Winston pair of eight-carat diamond earrings. I love her style. I am not bragging, but even an heiress has to keep an inventory. I even have a jeweler's loupe. Believe me, in Palm Beach, one should carry around her jeweler's loupe like a driver's license.
I like driving down Worth Avenue. The car, a Bentley of course, becomes crowded though. India also owns a Mercedes Landau with fully reclinable rear seats. But we have to deal with Gino, DiMarco, and Marcus. I call them the three goons, but not to their faces. Sometimes I think our staff is too big. Three guys all the time. There is also Rene the chef, Larry and Lucy are the housekeepers, and Mr. Barnes, the horticulturist who supervises the landscapers and our greenhouse. Of course, don't forget her personal trainer, her accountant, her lawyers, her personal secretary, and her physician. There is also the pilot. Thank God she doesn't have a hairdresser on staff. Can you imagine the payroll, plus expenses? But we don't live in Palm Beach year-round. It's only for the season. And then it's off to New York and traveling. We live on the Park, and it's rather nice, though crowded. When we are there, we only have Gino, Rene, Lucy, and Marcus.
I am in the car now and we're driving down Worth Avenue. Oh no, guess who I see? It's Molly Sherbin. She has on Jimmy Choo shoes, a Chanel dress, and a Louis Vuitton bag. Her diamonds are magnificent. Maybe the Sherbins still have moola. India instructs Marcus to stop the car and off we go. We are shopping with Molly Sherbin today and eating lunch at LeReve. It's a quiet party for donors. If you are truly rich, you have to give money away. If you can give the money away, then you possess your riches; if you can't, then your riches possess you. Let's see if I can eavesdrop.
"Molly, I love your jewelry, especially your ring!"
"Oh, this one? It's my shopping ring. It belonged to my Grandmother."
"How very nice. How many people are coming to our fete?"
"Perhaps ten. That's only twenty million dollars. I was hoping to raise thirty million."
"Molly, you worry too much. You will see that people are very nice and quite generous."
Did you hear that? The ring belonged to her grandmother. I am no jeweler, but I don't think that the style or cut of the stones was popular in her grandmother's day. And for her to say that's only twenty million dollars. Something doesn't sound right! Well, maybe I am being too judgmental.
The weather is always beautiful in Palm Beach. I am going outside now to lap pool water and chat with my neighbor, Winston Beaumont III. Yes, that same Beaumont. The Beaumont Hotels are legendary. Winston, as I mentioned before, is also my assistant. No, he doesn't need the money. In fact, there has never been money exchanged at my agency, just gratitude. About two weeks ago, I brought the studious Mr. Beaumont a book on languages. I hope that has given him something to do with his time since the Beaumonts don't need more money.
"Hi, Bella. I want to thank you for my book. I never realized that there were so many languages!"
He's no Sherlock, but he plays a pretty decent Watson. "Hi, Winston! Don't step on those flowers. Mr. Barnes is a terror."
"I can translate languages other than English with this book."
"So you can! And?"
"Well, I found this note in Thai."
"Let me see that note. It has a ring on it. I don't read Thai, Winston."
"I don't either, but an English translation is on the back."
"Bancock Gemstones. Sent to Sharon Jones, 1066 Dimwhip, Apt. A, West Palm Beach, Florida. One setting. Eight zirconia, one carat each, and one yellow simulated diamond. Total: 80 US dollars. Well, I smell a rat!"
"No, you dolt! That's the ring Molly Sherbin said belonged to her Grandmother. It probably did yesterday. Let's get a telephone number in the reverse listing phonebook. Come with me. We will use the pool house phone."
"Here's the number for Sharon Jones."
"Yes, this is Palm Beach Orchids. We were given this address for Molly Sherbin. Can we make our free delivery for ten dozen Bolivian orchids? Can we deliver to Molly Sherbin there?"
"Ah ... sure. She's right here. Sharon, I mean Molly, someone is sending flowers. She said it's okay!"
"Okay, thank you."
"Why, Bella, you aren't sending Molly Sherbin flowers, are you?"
"Gee whiz, you figured it out. I am not sending flowers to Molly Sherbin or Sharon Jones!"
"Well, it's dinner time. See you later, Bella."
"Bye, Winston!" No doubt it's steak night again at the Beaumont's home! Speaking of dinner, I have to be there. We are having guests. And for a mere trifle of two million dollars.
Rene outdid himself. The people who sat around the table were Palm Beach's crème de la crème. The Von Oldorfs were there. Mr. Van Oldorf is some German Count. And the shipping magnate David O'Rourke and his wife, Bettina, were there. Bettina had fabulous diamonds on. Her designer dress by Vera Wang was magnificent. It was a simple black dress.
Bunny Davis, the chronicler of Palm Beach's comings and goings, was also there. You know you were in for a scoop whenever her white Rolls-Royce Coupe pulled up.
And, of course, there was Molly Sherbin wearing the same outfit and ring. It was all recently dry cleaned though. India never notices what other people wear, but she always notices what they say and what they do, which was clear when she introduced Molly.
"Molly Sherbin is new to me. She told me she is a cousin of the Sherbin family from New York. I know Cory Sherbin from my college days. Molly wants a two million dollar minimum donation from us for wayward boys in West Palm Beach. She will give a presentation on her program. No one is obligated to donate. But let's hear her out. Molly, the floor is yours."
Molly Sherbin, alias Sharon Jones, had a nice presentation. The cause is a good one, but you don't give money to a bad steward hoping for a good outcome.
"Molly that was very good. I am taking out my checkbook."
Not so fast! Time to jump into India's lap with the decoded message.
"Bella, do get down. Now! What's this Bella?"
India read the receipt and looked at the ring, granny's heirloom. The rich can be gullible, but they are not stupid or forgiving.
"Molly is leaving now. Please no checks anyone. More details to follow."
"India, what's wrong?" said Molly. "I thought you liked my project."
"Gino and DiMarco will show you out."
Molly Sherbin left and Bell-eye was on the case.
Bunny Davis and India were in council. If only my hearing were that good. Needless to say, Molly Sherbin, aka Sharon Jones, is now a guest in the state of Florida for other reasons.
The Boy's Game, a social club for wayward boys, is now funded and administered by the India Hays Charity Organization, called India's Trust.
Diamonds are a girl's best friend. And Bella is India's best friend.
Hey, Rene, what's for lunch? How about a little "Sherbin" after your meal?
Chapter TwoMIDAS, YOU SHOULD BE COVERED IN GOLD
My name is Bella. I run a detective agency in Palm Beach, Florida. I have only one client, the fabulously rich heiress India Hays. I live near Vita Serena in an old Addison Mizner house built in the 20s. Hello to you, old flappers! I live next door to the Beaumonts. Winston Beaumont III is my assistant. With his good looks and my brains, we solve crimes against my heiress, India Hays.
Palm Beach is only fourteen miles long and three blocks wide, but I can assure you that under this tropical sun, intrigue never rests.
India is coming this way now. We are going shopping. There's Gino, DiMarco, and Marcus. I call them the three goons. Gino and DiMarco are rather mean. They look like US Marines in suits. Very tough, and I mean really tough. Both are into martial arts, and both are licensed by the states of Florida and New York to carry concealed sidearms. Marcus has taken the state's driving course that covers how to handle robbery, terrorists, evasion, and kidnapping. He is also licensed to carry a sidearm. I'm repeating myself. Such is the world we live in. One never knows when one might have to protect oneself. Well, it's off to Worth Avenue today. I think we are going to 150 Worth Avenue, a beautiful Mediterranean revival-style shopping place. We are going to Saks Fifth Avenue. India loves Saks. You can find anything there. And then we are visiting Salvatore Ferragamos, the wonderful place for shoes and handbags. Oh, the Ferragamos. Such flair!
All of us are in the Bentley now. India is on the phone. Starvos Mykenos is coming to Palm Beach via his magnificent yacht, Alexander. She wants to invite him over for dinner. She needs some contributions for her social club for wayward boys, called The Boy's Game. India's Trust is always seeking volunteers and contributions for a good cause. Her current cause is helping young men develop a sense of self-worth and an enduring, tenacious work ethic. She wants to help them set goals and achieve them. Palm Beach is home to the working rich and the idle rich. India is the working rich. Her father expects her to have new ideas and new deals always going. She is also expected to share her wealth through India's Trust to help the less fortunate. India has to continuously increase her net worth. This doesn't mean owning stuff. She has to own things that produce an income and have value. Her money has to work for her. She likes real estate and new businesses that foster new, creative ideas. "Ideas move the world" is her motto.
She's wearing a silk chiffon party dress by Prada and Sigerson Morrison strappy sandals. She is also wearing Robert Lee Morris sterling silver bangles on both arms. Her perfume is Ralph Lauren's "Romance." She looks like a million dollars. Well, in this case, she looks like millions of dollars. I am a Chihuahua. You didn't know? My job, besides looking good, is to protect India from rogues, thieves, and poseurs. I work around the clock, 365 days a year.
Well, guess who we ran into? India is walking down the avenue and a very fashion Chihuahua is by her side as she is about to be seated for lunch. That name is called and voilà, here we are.
"You are Paris Mykenos?" India appears startled.
"Yes I am. Starvos Mykenos is my uncle."
"You are so young and so handsome!"
"You don't hurt the eyes either, India."
"Well, I see that our two dogs have met.
Your Yorkie is so cute. What's his name?" "Aristotle. We call him Ari."
"Ari, come here!"
Now wait one minute! This is a one-dog, one-heiress town.
"Bella, are you jealous of Paris's Aristotle? I didn't call you."
Jealous? I am mad! A girl has to protect her turf in Palm Beach.
"India, may I call upon you later? I have my yacht, Alexander, here."
"I won't see your yacht tonight, but I will have dinner with you at the Breakers Hotel."
Paris Mykenos and Aristotle Mykenos walked into our lives and now they were walking out.
"Bella, Aristotle and Paris left you a gift. It must be a doggy treat."
I didn't know about that! There's a box, Tiffany blue, with "Bella" written on it. Well, a girl never turns down Tiffany's.
"Open it later, Bella. It's time for lunch and I have to get ready for my date tonight. You are going too. Aristotle is so cute!"
Me and the Greek? I don't think so. He's so hairy. Not my type. The things girls must do together. We have to get our hair and nails done. And don't forget our massages. It's always a change of plans, but this is Palm Beach. India Hays Mykenos. How does that sound? I would be Bella Mykenos. No, no. I mustn't think too far ahead.
The venerable Breakers Hotel. There is also the wonderful Ritz-Carlton and equally beautiful Four Seasons hotel.
Paris Mykenos is quite a catch for any girl. But India is quite a catch also. Their money can change the world, like Bill and Melinda Gates.
Powerful couples are always needed! Look at them dancing—Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, and Noel Coward. All we need now is the late Bobby Short—too young and gone too soon!
And I have opened my gift. Ari Mykenos gave me a piece of beautiful Tiffany's silver. But inside was a cryptic note which reads, "You must meet me. I have convinced Paris to come to Palm Beach to meet your heiress so that I would meet you. Paris is in danger. I think his uncle, Starvos, is stealing from him. I need your urgent help."
Bell-eye is on the case again! You know what? I will take the case. It's worth it. There's always a crook somewhere!
"You're a lovely dancer, India!"
"As are you, Paris."
"What made you decide to come to Palm Beach?" India whispered.
"I saw your picture in magazines all over the villa. And suddenly I sensed this urge to see you."
"Oh, I bet Ari was chewing your magazines!!"
"In fact he was, except the ones with your pictures on the pages."
"Yes, a very smart dog indeed!"
Well, here comes handsome himself. A diamond studded collar, of course. It looks like all of them are grade A's. Where's my jeweler's loupe?"
"Hello yourself, Ari!"
"Have you read my note?"
"Well, Ari, what do you have to say? Thanks for the jewelry!"
"Bella, let's get down to the heart of the matter. Paris Mykenos is very rich. His father left him a fortune. His Uncle Starvos is mad and is stealing from Paris's estate. Money brings many strange things together!"
"Oh yes, I have heard it before, Ari!"
"I don't have any proof. None."
"Intuition? Accounting reports? Eyewitnesses? Receipts? Undercover videos? Lavish spending?"
"I came to Palm Beach to enlist your help, not to present a case!" Ari stated.
"True enough. You are engaging me to find out something which may or may not be true."
"Well, let's not ruin our evening. I will start tomorrow."
Excerpted from BELL-EYE, THE BEST, LITTLEST DETECTIVE AGENCY IN PALM BEACH, FLORIDA by Barrett K. Hays India Hays Bella Copyright © 2012 by Barrett K. Hays M.D., India Hays, and Bella. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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