On November 5th, the case took a turn for the better. The wife of the deceased Zhang Haichang, Ji Hongmei, was found to have made a suspicious payment. Some witnesses also claimed that a suspicious man had been wandering around below Zhang Haichang’s building taking photos with a camera for a few days at the end of October.
The police summoned Ji Hongmei for questioning. Before entering the interrogation room, Lin Qiupu said to Chen Shi, "Look, you were overthinking it and thought that this case was complicated, but it’s as simple as the wife having hired a hitman."
"Such words should be left unsaid until after the interrogation. Saying it before the interrogation, aren’t you afraid that you’d lose face?”
"Haha, we’ll see who loses face... By the way, I ate the pork that you brought over that day. I had diarrhea. You didn't give it to Dongxue, did you?!"
"We ate it and nothing happened."
"Don't bring me food in the future. I don't like eating in the office!"
After finishing the conversation, Lin Qiupu walked into the interrogation room. When he had finished asking basic questions, he said, "Ms. Ji, we found a payment of 50,000 yuan under your bank account. Earlier, you have said that it was an instalment payment for a car, but we went to the car dealership and verified that this wasn’t the case. Do you have any explanation for this?"
"Do I have to explain? This is my private business." Ji Hongmei, who was wearing a red trench coat, frowned.
"Your husband and son were murdered, and you are the person who would profit the most from this. At this juncture, everything that you do must have a reasonable explanation."
"How funny, I profit? I’m not such a selfish and cold-blooded woman. Although our relationship as a married couple hasn’t been smooth over these past two years, I would definitely give a large part of his inheritance to his mother as support."
"Your relationship as a married couple wasn’t good?"
"Could you not think wild thoughts? We’ve been married for ten years. How else can a couple who’s been married for ten years be like? Isn’t the relationship just living together as companions?”
"I want you to explain where that 50,000 went."
Ji Hongmei knew that she couldn’t avoid accounting for the 50,000 yuan, and hesitated repeatedly. "I gave it to my ex-husband, Wang Zhenlong."
"Really? We can verify that now, but if you’re still lying, you might have to come back again. I suggest that you tell the truth."
Ji Hongmei kept plucking at the button on her sleeve, "Why do you sound as though you’re interrogating a murderer when you’re questioning me? Are you suspecting that I committed murder? How could I kill someone? I have never even thought of doing that!"
Lin Qiupu silently picked up the intercom and asked his subordinates to verify her statement. Ji Hongmei suddenly said, "Don't ask. I’ll tell you. I hired a private detective."
"Private detectives aren’t that expensive."
"I agreed to pay this money in advance. If he managed to photograph evidence of my husband having an affair, I would give him 50,000 yuan."
"Do you have his contact information?"
Lin Qiupu got his subordinates to verify this matter. Ji Hongmei continued, "I have seen through it all. There are only two kinds of men in this world: they’re either poor or bad. When I was with Wang Zhenlong, he was terrible at making money. We lived a life of restricted means. The poor couple encounters a lot of grief. We often quarreled over even the most trivial thing, we quarrelled until my head hurt. Later, I got divorced and married Zhang Haichang. We weren’t together for very long when the novelty of the relationship wore off for him. I was probably just a decoration or free servant at home. Zhang Haichang opened a pharmacy and made a lot of money, so he messed around outside. He messed around with every young girl that he hired. When he encountered those who were unwilling, he would think of ways to get rid of the other party.”
"Zhang Haichang looked like a honest and simple man. You wouldn’t know what he was like if you didn't live with him. I quarreled with him when I found out about this. He actually acted as if he was justified in doing so, saying that I was infertile. The Zhang family needed heirs, so it was normal for him to fool around with other women. He even said that it motivated men to strive hard. If I couldn’t bear it, I could get back together with Wang Zhenlong and live a life of hardship. During that period, I wept all day. What was worse was that he instigated his son to go against me. His son didn’t accept me as a stepmother. I proposed a divorce a few years ago, but Zhang Haichang refused to agree no matter what. He didn't tell me the reason. Later, I found out from his friend that he had gone to get his fortune told and he had been told that I have the luck to bless my husband with prosperity. His pharmacy did become more profitable after marrying me, so he placed me at home as a auspicious pixiu”
"I endured living like that for ten years, but I didn’t get back together with my ex-husband Wang Zhenlong. Wang Zhenlong asked to borrow money from me because he really needed money. He had already borrowed money from all his friends. I didn’t have the heart to refuse him. Zhang Haichang quarreled with me over this matter. God knows how much money he had spent on other women. He’s ugly, fat, and he has body odor. If those young and beautiful women weren’t after his money, who would be nice to him? Later, I gained inspiration from a TV series and decided to make plans for myself, so I hired a private detective to photograph evidence of his affair, and prepared to go to court to prosecute him! By the way, as for that 150 square meters house, do you think he bought it for his son? His son didn’t even have a girlfriend. He was planning to give it to a mistress. He usually felt distressed when he spent even a dime on me. Even the necklaces he buys me are only ten yuan goods from street stalls. He was so generous when it came to spending money on his mistresses. Whenever I thought about this, I would grit my teeth in anger!”
"You said I hired a hitman? Do you know what my reaction was? Why didn't I think of this move from the beginning? If I could find a hitman, I'd have hired one long ago, but unfortunately I really didn’t do it. When I heard that he had died, I was relieved. Someone must have taken revenge against him. Wicked people will have wicked people targeting them. It served them right. Both the father and son deserved it. His inheritance is my due!"
After listening to her long speech, the phone in the interrogation room rang. The subordinate who had gone out to verify her statement confirmed that the suspicious man in the neighborhood was indeed a private detective. He verified what Ji Hongmei said.
Lin Qiupu was depressed that the direction of his investigation was wrong.
"Okay, I believe what you said, but I hope you will help us with the investigation. Does Zhang Haichang have any enemies?"
"There are a few people who aren’t on good terms with him, but I think they’re unlikely to commit murder."
"I heard that your ex-husband Wang Zhenlong had a bad relationship with Zhang Haichang in the past and that they had even fought with each other. Do you think it might be him?"
"Wang Zhenlong is a paper tiger. He dares to commit murder? I wouldn’t believe it even if it killed me."
"Your husband is dead. Has Wang Zhenlong proposed to remarry you?"
"He did, but I refused. I had made a mistake once and don't want it to happen a second time. Anyway, I declare here that you can go ahead and investigate Wang Zhenlong as you please. I have nothing to do with him."
"Okay, Ms. Ji, thank you for cooperating with our investigation."
After Ji Hongmei left, Lin Qiupu walked out of the interrogation room with a trace of disappointment in his expression. Chen Shi patted him on the shoulder. "What did I say? This woman couldn’t have hired a hitman."
"Cool it with the sarcastic remarks! By the way, is Wanshida Information Consulting Agency run by those disreputable friends of yours?"
"Yes, what's the matter?"
"It was this firm that had investigated Zhang Haichang's affair. What are their characters like?"
"Don’t assume things. They usually specialize in investigating affairs. They take dozens of jobs like this a month. If they have to kill scumbags while investigating, lots of people would have died in Long’an… This lead is a dead end, but the good news is that I still have a lead on my side.”
"You mean the house?"
"All three batches of customers who were interested in that house died unnatural deaths. Do you still think it’s a coincidence?"
1. Pixiu are mythical creatures with a voracious appetite for gold and silver who are supposed to bring their masters wealth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixiu#:~:text=Pixiu%20(%E8%B2%94%E8%B2%85%3B%20p%C3%ADxi%C5%AB%3B%20P,resembles%20a%20strong%2C%20winged%20lion.
2. The author wrote “Wang Zhenfu” here, but I’m pretty sure he means “Wang Zhenlong”.
3. As above.
4. The term refers to something or someone that claims or appears to be powerful or threatening, but is actually ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge (Wiki).
Previous Chapter Next Chapter