This week, our book club is delving into chapter 5 of Naked Heat. Enjoy!
Fresh from jumping out of a skeevy hotel window to escape the fuzz, Holly Flanders is brought into the station for questioning in the Cassidy Towne homicide case. Holly tells Rook and Heat that she’s Towne’s love child by actually using the words “love child.” This crazy little hooker may not be the classiest, but she can do basic math. She was conceived in May of 1987, when Towne was in DC investigating a politician named Gary Hart, who “got busted for banging some ho’ on a boat, not his wife.” Someone in DC during that time is Holly’s father, which narrows it down slightly from any man in the world. When Holly recently discovered she was pregnant, she tried to get money from Towne, who advised her daughter to get an abortion. Instead, Holly bought a gun, went to Towne’s apartment, held a gun over her deadbeat mom’s sleeping body...and didn’t fire. Meanwhile, the team discovers the missing trash from Towne’s apartment, but it’s mostly coffee grounds and cereal boxes. Since they were hoping for a balled up outline of the murder written by the killer, this is disappointing.
Later on, Rook and Heat stop by Sardi’s to meet Rook’s mother, Margaret Rook, a Grand Damn of Broadway and Grand Drinker of Jameson. Margaret tells them that Elizabeth Essex, a NYC patroness, confessed over a bottle of wine that she once tried to kill Towne. Wealthy murderesses should never drink wine. As it turns out, Essex and Towne were both on the board of the Knickerbocker Garden Club, and Towne started sleeping with Essex’s husband. Bet you can see where this is going. At the club’s summer banquet, Essex tried to poison Towne with plant food, which can be filed in the Sort of Hilarious As Attempted Murders Go category. The poison just gave Towne an awful stomachache, and Essex has an alibi for the real murder anyway. So Rook and Heat leave this crazy nut and move onto more important people, like the ones who stole Towne’s body from the coroner’s van. After a showdown outside of a cell phone store, body stealing accomplices Boyd and Shawn are taken in for questioning. Heat separates them and offers Boyd a deal if he says who hired them for the job. Boyd astutely asks, “What kind of deal?” but he, like us, must wait for the next chapter for the answer.
Important Quotations Explained
Nikki was eyeballing her for a tell and the woman became a marionette with severed strings.
Nikki looked at the woman, and the woman fell down.
“My attorney found an investigator to follow them, and sure enough, they met for several trysts. Nicer hotels, usually. And once . . . once, on our guided visit to the botanical garden, they disappeared from the tour and rutted like animals behind the herbaceous and mixed borders.”
Two people had sex in a garden.
Book Club Discussion Questions:
1. Have you ever tried to poison someone with plant food? Did this seem rational? Explain your reasoning.
2. Do you think Boyd will take the deal? Do you hope, as we do, that Boyd is his first name?