COSTA DEL SOL, a lone shark swimming through human seas along the Spanish coast, is investigating the mid-air theft of a top Hollywood Producer´s jewels.
Stopping halfway up the mountainside under the merciless, mid-morning sun, Costa turned to look back at the blue grin of the ocean. He had boltholes everywhere down there, from Marbella to Denia. That hazy coast was his world.
Another hour´s climb and he reached the spot where Sánchez said the man had come down. It was bare and exposed, rock patches poking from the scrub like dirty kneecaps. Costa found tip-toe boot marks and strands of black cotton snagged on a bush and realised what had happened: the thief had landed and bounced.
He searched the brittle, dry foliage until he found, balled up and half-buried, a parachute. “Bingo!”
There were no signs of a struggle. No blood. No treasure.
The heat was intense, like dragon´s breath; the sun seemed too close.
Costa, panting hard, looked about, saw broken twigs and followed the route his man must have taken. He found afresh cigarette butt and a keyring label which read, ´Michelangelo´.
There was nothing else. A shadow eagle gyred silently in the bright emptiness above.
Below, fifty metres steep scrabble away, Costa saw the end of a cul-de-sac which led towards a clump of white-roofed houses.Further beyond, in the haze, lay Velez-Malaga and the sea-front blocks of Torre del Mar.
Costa clawed his way back up the mountainside on all fours like an ape, dripping sweat.
Reaching his bike, mildly dizzy, he spotted a dark backpack squashed into the middle of a bush. He noticed a logo through the thorns: one of Levy´s films Sánchez had mentioned.
The thief wasn´t alone, Costa realised immediately.Two people fell from the sky this morning.