Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii (Mr. Monk Series #2)

Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii (Mr. Monk Series #2)

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by Lee Goldberg
     
 

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Some people think Hawaii is paradise. But Monk knows that danger—like dirt—lurks everywhere. Look at Helen Gruber, the rich tourist who took a fatal blow from a coconut. The police say it fell from a tree, but Monk suspects otherwise. His assistant, Natalie, isn’t exactly thrilled about Monk’s latest investigation. It was bad enough that Monk… See more details below

Overview

Some people think Hawaii is paradise. But Monk knows that danger—like dirt—lurks everywhere. Look at Helen Gruber, the rich tourist who took a fatal blow from a coconut. The police say it fell from a tree, but Monk suspects otherwise. His assistant, Natalie, isn’t exactly thrilled about Monk’s latest investigation. It was bad enough that Monk followed her on vacation, and now it looks as though the vacation is over....



Smooth-talking TV psychic Dylan Swift is on the island and claims to have a message from beyond—from Helen Gruber. Monk has his doubts about Swift’s credibility. But finding the killer and proving Swift a fraud—all while coping with geckos and the horror of unsynchronized ceiling fans—may prove a tough coconut to crack....

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Charm, mystery, and fun.”—Janet Evanovich

“Sly humor, endearing characters, tricky plots.”—Jerrilyn Farmer

“Can books be better than television? You bet they can—when Lee Goldberg’s writing them.”—Lee Child

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101210703
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/05/2006
Series:
Mr. Monk Series , #2
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
146,562
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONEHere’s the thing about brilliantdetectives. They’re all nuts. Take Nero Wolfe, for instance.

He was this incredibly fat detective whowouldn’t leave his New York brownstone. He stayed inside the house tending his orchids, drinking fivequarts of beer a day, and devouring gourmet meals prepared by his live-in chef.So he hired Archie Goodwin to screen clients, run investigative errands, chasedown clues, and drag people back to the brownstone to be rudely interrogated.Archie was an ex-cop or an ex-soldier or something like that, so he was well suitedfor the job.

Then there’s Sherlock Holmes, an eccentric,wound-up, cocaine addict who played his violin all night and conducted chemicalexperiments in his living room. He probably would have been committed if itweren’t for Dr. Watson. The doctor retired from the army with a war injury,rented a room from Holmes, and ended up being the detective’s assistant andofficial chronicler. His medical degree and experience serving in the war gaveWatson the skills and temperament he needed to deal with Holmes.

At least I didn’t live with Adrian Monk,another brilliant detective, the way Archie and Dr. Watson did with theiremployers, but I’d still argue that the job was a lot harder for me than it wasfor them. For one thing, I didn’t have any of their qualifications.

My name is Natalie Teeger.I’ve had a lot of odd jobs, but I’m not an ex-FBI agent or a promisingcriminology student or an aspiring paramedic, one of which I’d be if this werea book or a TV series instead of my life. I was bartending before I met Monk,so I suppose I could have mixed myself a nice, strong drink after work if Iwanted to. But I didn’t, because I was also a widowed single mother trying to raisea twelve-year-old daughter, and it’s a good idea to do that sober.

If I’d done my research into brilliantdetectives before working for AdrianMonk instead of after, I might nothave taken the job.
I know what you’re thinking. NeroWolfe and Sherlock Holmes are fictional characters, so what could I possibly learnfrom their assistants? The thing is, I couldn’t find any real detectives whowere anything like Monk, and I was desperate for guidance. They were the onlysources of information I could turn to.

Here’s what I learned from them: When itcomes to assisting a great detective, you can be an ex-cop or a doctor or haveother qualifications and it’s not going to make a difference. Because whatever makes your boss a genius at solving murders isgoing to make life impossible for everybody around him, especially you.And no matter how hard you try, that’s never going to change.

That’s especially true with Adrian Monk, whohas a smorgasbord of obsessive compulsive disorders. You can’t truly grasp themagnitude of his anxieties and phobias unless you experience them every singleday like, God help me, I did.

Everything in his life has to be in order,following some arcane rules that make sense only to Monk. For instance, I’veseen him at breakfast remove every bran flake and raisin from a bowl ofKellogg’s Raisin Bran and count them to be sure there’s afour-flake-to-one-raisin ratio in his bowl before he starts eating. How did hecome up with that ratio? How did he determine that anything else "violated thenatural laws of the universe"? I don’t know. I don’t want to know.

He’s also got a thing about germs, though notto the extent that he won’t go outside or interact with people, but he doesn’tmake it easy.

Monk brings his own silverware and dishes to restaurants.He takes a folding lawn chair with him to the movies because he can’t bear thethought of sitting in a seat a thousand other people have sat in. When a birdcrapped on my windshield, he called 911. I could go on, but I think you get thepicture.

Dealing with all of his quirks and acting asthe middleman between him and the civilized world was very stressful stuff. Itwas wearing me down to the point of total exhaustion. So I turned to the booksabout Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes hoping to glean from them some helpfuladvice that might make my job a little easier.

I didn’t find any.

I finally realized that my only hope was toescape, to get far away from Monk. Not forever, because as difficult as he was,I liked him, and the job was flexible enough to allow me to be there for mydaughter. All I really needed were a few peaceful days off to go someplacewhere he couldn’t reach me and I could get some rest. The problem was, I couldn’t afford to go anywhere.

But then Lady Luck took pity on me.

I went to my mailbox one day and found around-trip ticket to Hawaii, courtesy of my best friend, Candace. She was getting marriedon the island of Kauai and wanted me there as her maid of honor.She knew how strapped I was for money, so she paid for everything, booking mefor seven days and six nights at the fanciest resort on the island, the Grand Kiahuna Poipu, where the weddingwas going to be held.

The easy part was talking my mom into comingup from Monterey to take care of Julie for a week. The hard partwas finding someone to take care of Monk.

I called a temporary staffing agency. I toldthem the job required basic secretarial work, some transportation, and strong "interpersonalskills." They said they had just the right people. I was sure Monk would gothrough all of them before the week was over and that I would never be able tocall that temp agency again. I didn’t care, because I could already feel thesand between my toes, smell the coconut lotion on my skin, and hear Don Hosinging "Tiny Bubbles" to me.

All I had to do then was break the news toMonk.

I kept putting it off until finally it wasthe day before I was leaving. Even then, I couldn’t seem to find the rightmoment. I still hadn’t found it when Monk got a call from Capt. Leland Stottlemeyer, his former partner on the SFPD, asking forhis help.

That made my predicament even worse. Stottlemeyer brought Monk in to consult whenever they had aparticularly tricky homicide to solve. If I left Monk in middle of aninvestigation, it would make him crazy (or crazier than usual, to be precise).And Stottlemeyer wouldn’t be thrilled either,especially if it meant his case would drag on without a solution because Monkwas distracted.

I cursed myself for not telling Monk beforeand prayed the case would turn out to be a simple one.

It wasn’t.

Somebody poisoned Dr. Lyle Douglas, theworld-famous heart surgeon, while he was performing a quadruple bypass operationon Stella Picaro, his forty-four-year-old formernurse, at the hospital where she worked.

Dr. Douglas was midway through the delicateprocedure, which was being observed by a dozen doctors and medical students,when he had a violent seizure and dropped dead. Another surgeon, Dr. TroyClark, had to jump in and save the patient from dying. He succeeded.

Nobody realized Dr. Douglas had been murdereduntil the autopsy was completed the following day. By then, all the evidencethat might have been left at the crime scene was gone. The operating room hadbeen thoroughly cleaned, the instruments disinfected, the linens washed, and everythingelse discarded as biohazardous waste immediatelyafter the surgery was over.

There might not have been any evidence, butthere were plenty of suspects. The main one, of course, was Dr. Clark, thesurgeon who saved Stella Picaro on the operatingtable and was being treated as a hero. He also happened to be Dr. Douglas’smajor rival.

Dr. Douglas had a lot of other enemies. Hewas a manipulative egomaniac who’d hurt a lot of people, including just abouteverybody on his surgical team, many of the doctors observing the operation,and even the patient he was cutting open when he died.

But neither Stottlemeyernor his assistant, Lt. Randy Disher, could figure outhow Dr. Douglas was poisoned in front of so many witnesses without anybodyseeing a thing. They were stumped. So they called Monk.

They briefed Monk at the station andafterward he wanted to visit the scene of the crime. I could have told himabout my trip on the way to the hospital, but I knew if I did that, he wouldn’tbe able to concentrate on anything else all day.

When we got there, he insisted on wearingsurgical scrubs over his clothes, a cap on his head, a mask and goggles on hisface, plastic gloves on his hands, and even paper booties over his shoes beforegoing inside the OR.

Are you trying to get into the mind of thesurgeon?" I teased him as the two of us stood outside the operating room doors.

"I’m trying to avoid infection," Monk said.

"Heart disease isn’t contagious."

This building is filled with sick people.The air is thick with deadly germs. The only thing more dangerous than visitinga hospital is drinking out of a water fountain," Monk said. "It’s a good thingthere are a lot of doctors around."

"There’s nothing dangerous about drinking froma water fountain, Mr. Monk. I’ve been drinking from them all my life."

"You probably enjoy playing Russian roulette,too."

Monk stepped into the OR, and I watched as hecarefully surveyed every corner of the room and each piece of equipment. Hisinvestigation of the crime scene resembled an improvised dance with aninvisible partner. He repeatedly circled the room, making sudden pirouettes,gliding back and forth, and dipping every so often to peer under something. Hestopped at the stainless-steel table where the surgery was performed and gazeddown at it as if imagining the patient in front of him.

He rolled his shoulders and tilted his headas if he were working a kink out in his neck. But I knew that wasn’t it. Whatwas irritating him was a detail, some fact that didn’t fit where it wassupposed to. Nothing bothered Monk more than disorder. And what’s a mystery,after all, but a situation in disarray, crying out for organization—animbalance that needs to be set right?

"Where’s the patient that Dr. Douglas wasoperating on?" Monk asked.

"She’s upstairs," I said. "In the ICU."

Monk nodded. "Call the captain and ask him tomeet us there."

*
• *
• * *

There’s something really creepy aboutintensive care units to me. I’ve been in only a couple of them and, while Iknow they exist to save lives, they scare me. The patients connected to allthose machines don’t look like people to me anymore, but like corpses some madscientist is trying to reanimate.

That was the way Stella Picarolooked, even though she was wide-awake. There were all kinds of tubes and wiresconnecting her to an EKG, a respirator, and a toaster oven, for all I knew.Machines beeped and lights blinked and she was alive, so I guess it was all forthe best. Still, I tried not to look at her. It made me too uncomfortable.

Monk and I were standing next to the nurses’station. He was still in his surgical garb and he was breathing funny, almostgasping.

"Are you feeling all right, Mr. Monk?" Iasked.

"Fine."

"Then why are you gasping?"

"I’m trying to limit my breathing," Monksaid.

I thought about it for a second. "The fewerbreaths, the fewer chances you have of inhaling some virus."

"You should try it," he said. "It could saveyour life."

It was scary how good I was getting at understandinghis peculiar way of thinking, his Monkology.  That in itself was a pretty strong argumentfor me to get away from him for a while.

I was about to tell him about the Hawaii trip right then and there, when Stottlemeyer sauntered in, holding a latte from Starbucksin his hand. There was a little bit offoam in his bushy mustache and a fresh stain on his wide, striped tie. I foundhis disheveled appearance endearing, but I knew it drove Monk insane. SometimesI wondered if the captain did it on purpose.

Lieutenant Disherwas, as usual, right at Captain Stottlemeyer’s side.He reminded me of a golden retriever, always bounding around happily,blissfully unaware of all the things he was destroying with his wagging tail.

Stottlemeyer grinned at Monk. "You know it’s against thelaw to impersonate a doctor."

"I’m not," Monk said. "I’m wearing this formy own protection."

"You ought to wear it all the time."

"I’m seriously considering it."

"I bet you are," Stottlemeyersaid.

"You have foam in your mustache," Monk said,pointing.

"Do I?" Stottlemeyercasually dabbed at his mustache with a napkin. "Is that better?"

Monk nodded. "Your tie is stained."

Stottlemeyer lifted it up and looked down at it. "So itis."

"You should change it," Monk said.

"I don’t have another tie with me, Monk. Itwill have to wait."

"You could buy one," Monk said.

"I’m not going to buy one."

"You could borrow one from a doctor," Monksaid.

"You can borrow mine," Dishersaid.

"I don’t want your tie, Randy," Stottlemeyer said, then turned toMonk. "What if I just take mine off and put it in my pocket?"

"I’d know it’s there," Monk said.

"Pretend it isn’t," Stottlemeyersaid.

"I don’t know how to pretend," Monk said. "Inever got the hang of it."

Stottlemeyer handed his latte to Disher,took off his tie, and stuffed it into a biohazard container.

"Is that better?" Stottlemeyerasked, taking back his latte from Disher.

"I think we all appreciate it," Monk said,looking at Disher and me. "Don’t we?"

"So what have you got for me that was worthchucking my tie for?" Stottlemeyer asked.

"The killer."

Stottlemeyer and Disher bothglanced around the room. So did I.

"Where?" Stottlemeyer said. "I don’t see anyof our suspects."

Monk tipped his head toward Stella Picaro. Just seeing the breathing tube down her throatnearly triggered my gag reflex.

"You’re talking about her?" Disher said.

Monk nodded.

"Shedid it?" Stottlemeyer said incredulously.

Monk nodded.

"Are you sure?" Stottlemeyersaid.

Monk nodded. I looked back at Stella Picaro. She seemed to be trying to shake her head.

"Maybe you forgot this part," Stottlemeyer said, "but when Dr. Douglas died, that ladywas unconscious on an operating table, her chest cut wide-open, her beatingheart held in his hands."

"And based on that flimsy alibi, you wroteher off as a suspect?" Monk said.

"Yeah, I did," Stottlemeyersaid.

"Even though you told me she was his surgicalnurse and his mistress for five years?"

"That’s right."

"Even though when Dr. Douglas finally lefthis wife, it wasn’t for her but for a twenty-two-year-old swimsuit model?"

"Look at her, Monk. She was having a quadruplebypass when the murder was committed. She nearly died on the operating table."

"That was all part of her cunning plan."

We all looked at her. She stared back at uswide-eyed, not making a sound. All we heard was the beeping of her EKG—whichsounded kind of erratic to me, but I wasn’t a doctor.

Stottlemeyer sighed. It was a sigh that conveyedweariness and defeat. It was tiring dealing with Monk, and futile arguing withhim about murder. When it comes to homicide, Monk is almost always right.

"How could she possibly have done it?" Stottlemeyer asked.

I was wondering the same thing.

Disher snapped his fingers. "I’ve got it. Astral projection!"

"You’re saying her spirit left her body andpoisoned him," Stottlemeyer said.

Disher nodded. "That’s the only explanation."

"I sure hope not. I’d like to keep this badgefor a few more years." Stottlemeyer faced Monk again."Tell me it’s not astral projection."

"It’s not," Monk said. "There’s no suchthing. Her body was the murder weapon."

"I don’t get it," Dishersaid.

"When Stella discovered she needed heartsurgery, she realized it was an opportunity to commit the perfect murder," Monksaid, shooting a glance at Stella. "Isn’t that right?"

She tried again to shake her head.

"You appealed to Dr. Douglas’s ego by begginghim to save your life and then talked him into performing the surgery here, atthe hospital where you work."

"What difference did it make where thesurgery was done?" Stottlemeyer asked.

"Because here she had access to the operatingroom, the supplies, and the equipment before the surgery and could doctor them,no pun intended," Monk said. "The iodine Dr. Douglas applied to her skin beforemaking his incision was laced with poison."

"Wouldn’t that have poisoned her, too?" Stottlemeyer said.

"It did, but she was getting the antidote inher IV," Monk said. "Take a look at her chart. It shows higher than normallevels of atropine."

Stottlemeyer took the chart that was hanging from the endof her bed, opened it, and stared at it for a long moment before closing itagain.

"Who am I kidding?" he said as he put thechart back. "I don’t know how to read a medical chart."

"Neither do I," Monksaid.

"Then how do you know what is or isn’t in herblood?"

"Because she’s alive," Monk said. "And Dr.Douglas isn’t."

"But what about the other doctors who wereworking on her?"  Dishersaid. "How come they weren’t they poisoned, too?"

"Because they weren’t wearing the same glovesas Dr. Douglas," Monk said. "He used only Conway gloves; the other brands gave him a skinrash. Before the surgery Stella put tiny pinpricks, invisible to the naked eye,in all the gloves in his box, so he would absorb the poison through his skin."

Stottlemeyer looked at Disher."Contact the crime lab, Randy, and make sure they hold on to the box of glovesDr. Douglas used. Have them examine the gloves for perforations."

Disher nodded and scribbled something in hisnotebook.

I looked at Stella. She was so pale and weak, she seemed to be melting into her bed. Her eyes werefilling with tears. I remembered hearing how Dr. Clark had to reach into heropen chest and save her life after Dr. Douglas collapsed.

"But Mr. Monk," I said, " evenwith the antidote in the IV, it would have been suicidal for Stella to kill hersurgeon while he was operating on her heart."

"It was a risk she was willing to take," Monksaid. "It was poetic justice. She used her heart to kill the man who broke it."

Stella closed her eyes and tears rolled downher cheeks. I couldn’t tell whether they were tears of sadness or anger. Theymight have been both.

Stottlemeyer shook his head in amazement. "I never wouldhave caught her, Monk."

"You would have, sir," Disher said. "It might have taken longer, that’s all."

"No, Randy, I wouldn’t have. Not ever." Stottlemeyer regarded Monk with genuine appreciation. "Howdid you figure it out?"

"It was obvious," Monk said.

"Go ahead, rub it in," Stottlemeyersaid. "Don’t let my remaining shreds of self-respect stop you."

"There is no way anyof the doctors or other medical personnel could have poisoned Dr. Douglaswithout being seen," Monk said. "That left only one possible suspect."

Stottlemeyer frowned. "Makes sense.I wonder why I couldn’t see it."

The captain turned toward Stella, so hedidn’t notice Monk studying him, regarding his friend as if he were a complexpainting.

Disher marched over to Stella’s bedside. "You havethe right to remain silent—"

"Randy," Stottlemeyerinterrupted. "She’s got a breathing tube down her throat. She couldn’t sayanything even if she wanted to."

"Oh," Disher said, then dangled the handcuffs he was holding. "Should I secureher to the bed?"

"I don’t think that will be necessary," Stottlemeyer said.

"Captain," Monk said, "I could never drink outof a water fountain."

"Is that so?" Stottlemeyerseemed a little confused by the nonsequitur.

"Not if my life depended on it," Monk said."You probably do it without a second thought."

Stottlemeyer looked at Monk for a long moment. "All the time."

Monk shrugged.

Stottlemeyer nodded.

I guess what Monk was getting at is that lifehas a way of balancing out. It figured Monk would notice that more clearly thanthe rest of us.

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“Charm, mystery, and fun.”—Janet Evanovich

“Sly humor, endearing characters, tricky plots.”—Jerrilyn Farmer

“Can books be better than television? You bet they can—when Lee Goldberg’s writing them.”—Lee Child

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