“Hey,” a man’s voice said.
“Hi,” Angela said. “Is this Mr. Solomon?”
“I prefer Tony, but yes,” he said. “To whom am I speaking?”
“Angela Osbourne,” she said. “I’m, uh, calling on behalf of the Abbott Gallery in Victory City. Uh, that’s in Canada. I was wondering if I might be able to ask you a couple questions.”
“Yeah, I can spare a few minutes, Angela Osbourne from Canada,” he said. “What do you want to know?”
“About twelve years ago, you attended a party in LA with Fatima Brighton and several other local artists,” Angela said. “It was hosted by a musician and attended by a number of big name celebrities. I know this is a long shot, but do you remember it?”
“Oh, sure, I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said.
“Really?” Angela said. “That’s great! Can you tell me if anything… unusual happened that night?”
There was a pause, then a woman’s voice in the background, indistinct.
“Sorry, the stewardess tells me I need to turn off my phone,” Tony said. “We’ll have to pick up this conversation later. Are you familiar with the Champion Hotel?”
“You mean… in Victory City?” Angela asked.
“Oh, so you do know it!” he said. “Great! Stop by tomorrow, we’ll have lunch. Bye now!”
Angela stared at her phone for a long moment.
“Tomorrow?” she muttered.
The Champion Hotel was a big old stone building in the middle of downtown. Angela had never been inside before, though she’d passed by it on many occasions. And now she was standing in front of the revolving door, working up the nerve to pass through.
She plunged inside and came out into a spacious lobby that was all marble and crystal with a touch of greenery here and there. An older man in a dark suit sat at the front desk off to her right. He perked up as she entered, and straightened his rather obvious hairpiece.