At the Carlton, Paladin comes down to the lobby and Hey Boy shows him the tray of food that he's bringing to Paladin. Paladin says that the plan is as good as he can make it and it's up to the lady. Prince Alexei Romanov is dictating a letter to Pegeen, and Paladin hears them and comes over. Pegeen introduces Alexei to Paladin, and Alexei explains that he's dictating a love letter and may be several weeks as he shares champagne with Pegeen: Paladin's intended dinner mate. Paladin excuses himself and goes up to his suite.
Paladin is dining alone when there's a knock at his door. He finds a knife jammed into his door sill and a Hawaiian princess lying on the floor. Paladin takes her inside. The princess, Mapuana, asks where "he" is. She says that the police must not know because it would create a scandal between Hawaii and the U.S. Mapuana explains that her stepbrother Prince Kimo threw the knife, and has been trying to stop her since she arrived in San Francisco.
Paladin takes that in and looks up a history of Hawaii--the Sandwich Islands. He finds a picture of Mapuana, confirming her claim, and Mapuana says that her uncle sent her with a present for the President. She says that the gift is a signet ring of the royal family, and it speaks with the voice of her uncle inviting the President to rule them. Kimo wants the throne for himself, and Mapuana asks Paladin to hold the ring and protect it with his life until she asks for it back. She gives Paladin Hawaiian money and Paladin says that it doesn't mean anything in the U.S. Paladin invites her out into the hallway and points out that Kimo would have had to be standing on the ceiling to throw the knife at the angle that it hit the door. He figures that Mapuana put the knife there and refuses to work with someone he can't trust.
Hey Boy delivers the rest of the meal, and Kimo comes in and orders Paladin at knifepoint to hand over the ring. He orders Hey Boy to leave, and Paladin draws his derringer on Kimo. Kimo lowers the knife, and Paladin says that Mapuana said that Kimo was trying to steal the ring. The prince says that a man who claims to love her asks her to steal the ring, and he doesn't know why Mapuana gave the ring to Paladin. Kimo goes out the door to take Paladin the lover, and drops dead with an arrow in his back. The killer has slipped away, and Paladin notices a nearby door. It's unlocked, and he opens it. The guest, Wilfred Gateshead, is there wearing a sleeping robe. Wilfred claims that he was sleeping, and Paladin points out that he's wearing shoes. Nonplussed, Wilfred says that he sleeps with his shoes on and closes the door. Hey Boy is lurking in the hallway with a cleaver, and Paladin sends him to the kitchen to return Kimo's knife and to call the manager.
Professor Jurgen Von Hengst walks down the stairs and looks around.
The manager, Cartwright, comes to Paladin's suite. He confirms that Mapuana isn't registered at the hotel, and Paladin explains what happened. Cartwright offers to lock up the ring, but Paladin says that they need the ring as bait.
After Cartwright and Hey Boy leave, Alexei sneaks into Paladin's room. Paladin punches him and Alexei offers him $5,000 for the ring. Alexei explains that his superiors think that Hawaii is important because everyone else is after it. He's happy when Paladin refuses to give him the ring, saying that he was ordered to try but nobody told him to succeed. Alexei could care less about Hawaii and goes to his date with Pegeen.
Hengst arrives and asks to see Paladin. Once Paladin closes the door, Mapuana listens at the door. Hengst introduces himself as a professor of military science and a naval attaché to the late Kimo. The Prussian figures that Mapuana killed Kimo, and asks Paladin what he's going to do about the ring. Paladin says that he will give it to her if she proves that she has a right to it, and otherwise may send it to the President. Hengst grabs a piker and threatens Paladin with it, telling him to hand over the ring. Paladin drops it on the floor and draws his derringer when Hengst goes for the ring.
Hey Boy comes in and Hengst grabs him and uses him as a shield. He backs out with Hey Boy and knocks the porter out. Paladin comes out after him and discovers that Hengst has fled. They hear him scream and Paladin runs downstairs to find Hengst dead with a dart in his neck.
Hey Boy comes out with the ring at Paladin's request, and Wilfred asks to see it. Paladin calls Hey Boy down, while Mapuana watches from the shadows. Once he has the ring, Paladin gives the ring to Cartwright and asks to see the register. Paladin says that he knows who killed Hengst but needs proof, and has Hey Boy bring food to the empty dining room... and polish the champagne bucket.
Once Paladin sets up in the dining room, he tests the reflection in the bucket and confirms that it gives him a clear view of the drapes. He has Hey Boy stand to the side and drop a glass if he sees anyone coming, and then goes about his meal.
Mapuana comes in while someone secretly knocks out Hey Boy from behind. The princess tells Paladin that a man claimed to love her but he was only after the ring. Paladin asks for his name, and Mapuana says that she's lonely but afraid. Alexei barges in and Hey Boy's attacker misses with his blowgun as Paladin turns. Paladin kills the man and discovers that it's Wilfred. Pegeen runs in and helps Hey Boy up, while Paladin confirms that Wilfred has passports from across the world. Paladin apologizes to Mapuana for shooting a gun in her presence, and she's immediately smitten with Alexei. She asks for the ring but Paladin offers it to Alexei. Alexei refuses, preferring Mapuana, and he invites Mapuana to Paris with him. Paladin says good night to the disappointed Pegeen, gives Hey Boy the ring to send to the President, and sits down to finish his dinner.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 28, 2018