I’m Herb Chandler with The San Francisco Globe. I am interviewing Barry Keys, the detective that broke the sensational Mare Island sabotage case you may have read about in our paper.
HC: Mr. Keys, can I call you Barry?
BK: Most people call me Keys, Herb.
HC: Okay, Keys it is. Are you a native of San Francisco?
BK: No, Herb, I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but I like to think of San Francisco as my hometown.
HC: I think what my readers want to know is why were you assigned the Mare Island case?
BK: When I was with the FBI, I had a case that brought me to Mare Island. That case introduced me to many of the naval officers and men there. I was assigned to this last case because of my knowledge of the shipyard. All I can really say about it now is that many people on the base and in the FBI helped to bring that case to a successful end. A very good man gave his life in that case.
HC: Wow, you mean he was killed on the shipyard?
BK: Yes, Herb. He was all America stands for. A very brave, gallant man, the very best of men.
HC: I am very sorry to hear about that. Can you tell me anymore about how it happened?
BK: All I can say, Herb, is that he was ambushed by one of the gang we were investigating. As I said when you wanted me for this interview, you have to ask the FBI for any details on their cases.
HC: Okay, I understand that, Keys. Let’s try a different tack. How did you get started in your line of work?
BK: I joined the Baltimore police force when I got out of the Army. A couple of years later the FBI was recruiting and I spent twenty years in their service.
HC: What made you decide to open your own detective agency?
BK: Actually I would have to say my wife, Mary, made the decision for me. She didn’t like the uncertainty of knowing when or if I was going to come home after work.
HC: Do you mean because the work was dangerous?
BK: Yes, the work could be dangerous, particularly when our manpower was low and I had to work alone. The end for Mary was when I got shot and was taken to the hospital with no identification as a John Doe. No one was able to find me for days and Mary was sick with worry.
HC: I can see she would be upset. What does she think of your detective agency?
BK: Mary is my partner in the agency and keeps the office running while I’m out burning shoe leather.
HC: So how is that different from your FBI work?
BK: The biggest difference is that she and I can pick the jobs and the hours.
HC: How does a detective agency work? I mean why would a person go to you instead of the police?
BK: Good question, Herb. Sometimes people don’t want the police involved for various reasons. We render many services that the police don’t handle. We had an embezzlement case where the owner of the business had investors that he didn’t want worried over the security of their money. There are other cases like runaway children, or missing persons that the police don’t have the manpower for. Some of those types of cases take us to other states or countries where the local police don’t have jurisdiction.
We also have courier services for valuables, and are at times asked to escort VIP’s from the airport or docks to hotels or embassies.
HC: Sounds like you must be busy. Where is your agency located?
BK: We’re on the corner of Bush and Mason, just below Nob Hill.
HC: Can you tell me the most unusual thing that happened to you on the job?
BK: Well, let me see. A plane ride in a dual cockpit P51, or waking up on a steel table in a veterinarian’s clinic with a hole in my leg from a gun shot.
HC: Why, pray tell, a veterinarian’s clinic?
BK: I was on an undercover job and my partner thought going to a hospital would have spoiled our cover.
HC: Can you tell me about any current or pending cases you’re investigating?
BK: I don’t know where this case may lead, but I’ve been contacted about investigating American corporations that have done business with the Nazis during the war. This one could turn out to be the most interesting case yet.
HC: Thank you, Mr. Keys. I must say your job does seem quite dangerous to me. This new case sounds very ominous; I hope this one will be less risky for you. Perhaps you can tell our readers about when you finish it.
BK: Thanks, Herb. As I said, Mary won’t put me in a dangerous case, so I’m looking forward a more interesting case with less risk. I’ll let you know about it when we wrap it up.