Here in Hilo, a group of my fellow mystery authors have formed a group called MAHI (Mystery Authors of Hawai‘i Island), which meets once a month to chat about our works-in-progress, publishing woes, good and bad restaurants we’ve tried, and a host of other fun topics.
Last week, I had lunch out with two of my fellow MAHI members, Jane Lasswell Hoff (author of Bones of Paradise) and Frankie Bow (author of the Molly Barda academic mysteries, as well as many of the Miss Fortune books). No sooner were we seated at our outdoor table overlooking the sea, when Jane proclaimed, “Look what I bought!” and—to my utter delight—pulled from her purse a set of lock picks!
She’d purchased them online, she told us gleefully, after learning that yes, they are indeed legal to own—so long as you don’t use them for nefarious activities. (As a matter of fact, there’s an entire website devoted to lock picks, appropriately called Lock Pick World, where you can purchase kits to teach you how to become an expert lock pick yourself.)
Nevertheless, Jane told us, when a detective came to her house the other day to deliver some bones for her to examine (she’s our local forensic anthropologist, and thus the go-to gal for bones and cold cases around here), she got nervous and hid the lock picks that had been sitting on her dining room table.
But then she immediately confessed to the detective what she’d done. “I’d make a horrible criminal,” Jane said to Frankie and me with a laugh. (The bones proved to be those of a dog.)
The parts of the lock pick kit that she brought to lunch were a Master-type lock and two of the picks—one to hold the plug open, the other to wriggle the pins upward and thereby release the lock mechanism. The lock itself has a clear cover to allow you to see what’s happening as you attempt to open it with your picks.
After demonstrating the method to us, Jane passed the items to Frankie, who expertly opened the lock within about sixty seconds. Huzzah!
Next it was my turn.
Try as I might, however, wriggling the picks while allowing several colorful oaths to escape my lips, I remained unsuccessful doing the deed. Frustrated, I finally relinquished the tools back to Jane, who quickly popped the sucker open once again to show me just how easy it was.
Ah, well. I guess I’m simply not made out to be a criminal, either.
Readers: What about you? Do you think you have what it takes to pick a lock? How about if you had to do it knowing you only had sixty seconds before the cops were about to arrive?