Spanking Watson (Kinky Friedman Series #12)

Overview

Just as every dog must have its day, so must every Sherlock have his Watson - even if the Sherlock in question resides in a downtown loft with an ill tempered cat, a perpetually smiling puppet head, and ceiling badly in need of repair, all thanks in no small part to the often-less-than-light-on-its-feet lesbian dance class held daily in the loft above.. "And just as misery loves company, so does Kinky Friedman, the erstwhile Sherlock in question, love his tormentors from above - enough so that when someone sends ...
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1999 Hardcover 1st Edition New in As New jacket 0684850613 Hard Cover. As New/As New. First Edition, First Print. As New. 8vo-over 7? "-9? " tall.

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1999 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 224 p. Kinky Friedman Novels (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Just as every dog must have its day, so must every Sherlock have his Watson - even if the Sherlock in question resides in a downtown loft with an ill tempered cat, a perpetually smiling puppet head, and ceiling badly in need of repair, all thanks in no small part to the often-less-than-light-on-its-feet lesbian dance class held daily in the loft above.. "And just as misery loves company, so does Kinky Friedman, the erstwhile Sherlock in question, love his tormentors from above - enough so that when someone sends a threatening missive to the head lesbian danceperson, Winnie Katz, Kinky, in a mood of forgive-and-forget, sets out to find the perpetrator and to save the day.. "Of course, just as nothing is ever as it seems, so is Kinky "Ace Private Big Dick" Friedman, not quite as altruistic as he may appear - for, in fact, it was the Kinkster, himself who wrote the threatening note to Ms. Katz, and then called upon each of his ubiquitous Village Irregulars (the mighty Mike McGovern, the mercurial Ratso Sloman, the marvelous Stephanie Dupont, and the masterful Steve Rambam) to solve the mystery, and in the process give Kinky a first-rate opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of each of his would-be Watsons.. "But just as it's not where you start but where you finish, so does Kinky soon find himself caught up in a conundrum of Sherlockian proportions when the bogus death threat turns suddenly, chillingly real - and an actual killer steps forward to carry out Kinky's impotent threat.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The premise is nice and easy. As is the book.

Since Kinky is vaguely, sort of, kind of, maybe a little bit like Sherlock Holmes, shouldn't he have a Watson to assist him? But which of his cronies deserves the job? Kinky decides to pull a trick on them. Fake a note that threatens the life of Winnie Katz, the dance instructor who thunders through her days and nights on the floor above Kinky. Whichever one of his pals can best show off his deductive skills gets the Watson gig. But then somebody really does try to kill Winnie Katz, and the fake threat becomes a real one.

I'm old enough to remember radio shows, and that's what Friedman's style reminds me of — those great old shows where truly strange characters wander in and out every few minutes. You don't care about the plot — and God knows there isn't any theme — you just want more of the weird animals in the radio zoo.

Friedman has a nice touch with the modern dilemma of political correctness. He generally manages to offend everybody, which is the best way to do it. Upon occasion, however, some of the minority bashing gets tiresome (pretty easy targets for somebody as hip and clever as Kinky)...but for the most part the reader just revels in all the fun as Kinky practices his greatest skill, that of literary monologist. He has a particularly good eye for the refugees of the '60s and '70s. He's equally good at dialogue. It's virtually flawless. You never notice how much most of us whine until you run a couple pages of Kinkster dialogue past your eyeballs. What a bunch of crybabies we are. I don't think my generationwillever grow up (myself included), and I can cite Kinky's dialogue as evidence if I'm ever dragged into court.

What can I tell you? This is a genuinely funny, weirdly endearing book that earns its keep on wit rather than plot. But who cares about plot when you're having so much fun? This isn't to say he's not a serious writer. In his own way, he has more to say than a lot of the "serious" boys and girls who are always "transcending the genre."

The Kinkster has delivered another very good read.

—Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman's latest novels include Daughter of Darkness, Harlot's Moon, and Black River Falls, the latter of which "proves Gorman's mastery of the pure suspense novel," says Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. ABC-TV has optioned the novel as a movie. Gorman is also the editor of Mystery Scene magazine, which Stephen King calls "indispensable" for mystery readers.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Frenetic amateur PI Kinky Friedman is up to his old tricks in this campy mixture of bawdy surrealism and Tom Sawyerish pranks. Kinky's sleuthing duties have taken a decidedly sluggish turn when the roof literally comes crashing in. His upstairs neighbor, Winnie Katz, a lesbian dance instructor, has been stomping through dance routines with her students for weeks on end and all the pounding has taken its toll on Kinky's crumbling ceiling. Kinky calls in an old favor from a mob-connected friend, and suddenly finds two oafish Italian workmen at his door promising to repair the ceiling as a favor to Joey the Hyena. The Hyena is indebted to Kinky for saving his daughter from a mugger, but Kinky learns from the workmen that Joey's daughter died three years before Kinky saved her. Annoyed that his Manhattan loft is virtually under siege and by the twist in the story of the daughter, Kinky decides to divert himself by writing death threats to Winnie. In an impulsive move, Kinky takes the prank one step further by offering Winnie the services of his good friends, aka "The Village Irregulars," to ferret out the source of the threats. The five "Watsons" are no sooner ensnared in Kinky's humorous web of deceit than a real stalker appears on the scene, threatening to kill Winnie for real. All's well that ends well in this slim mystery, but the ultimate moment of truth falls flat. Hardy fans of the indomitable Friedman won't be disappointed, however, with this rollicking followup to Blast from the Past. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A bunch of PI Kinky Friedman hangers-on are vying for the role of official sidekick, so the Kinkster suggests that they try to figure out who sent his upstairs neighbor a death threat. He doesn't realize until too late just how serious this death threat really is. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Since he already shares so many of the hallmarks of that other Sherlock Holmes—drug use, sexual confusion, and his own Village Irregulars—why shouldn't Kinky Friedman, the Sherlock of Vandam Street, have his own Dr. Watson? And what better occasion to audition potential Watsons from among the Irregulars than the death threats someone's scribbled to Winnie Katz, the man-hating lesbian dancer instructor upstairs? So p.i. Steve Rambam bugs Winnie's apartment to get more info; reporter McGovern and photographer Mick Brennan pretend to be with the Times of London to interview her; upstairs neighbor Stephanie Dupont goes undercover as a new dance student; so does Ratso Sloman, disguising himself as Barney Frank supporter Roscoe Figbiter to take Winnie's friends out for pizza. What none of the Watsonabes knows is that the threatening note was written by the Kinkster himself, smashed, stoned, and furious at the plaster the constant twinkle-toes above have shaken loose from his ceiling and sent falling on his head. But if the whole cockeyed caravan is based on nothing more than Kinky's prank, why is somebody in a Fred Flintstone mask breaking into Winnie's apartment to threaten her for real? And can Kinky rouse himself from his reveries of legendary professional gas-passer Le Petomaine (1857–1945) and lopsided conversations with his cat to solve the mystery? Out of all Kinky's dozen cases (Blast from the Past, 1998, etc.), this is the first one in which the plot doesn't interrupt the flow of laugh-out-loud jokes, because the whole plot is one big joke. Solid gold for fans, and the only Kinky adventure non-fans will ever need.
From the Publisher
Joseph Heller Another big hit from Kinky Friedman. As good as his best!

Los Angeles Times The Kinkster is a catcher, not in the rye, but in the sagebrush, and that's what is truly appealing about him and his work.

Kirkus Reviews Solid gold for fans, and the only Kinky adventure nonfans will ever need.

The Tampa Tribune Friedman can be poetic, hilarious, philosophical, or crude — all within one paragraph....In the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson or Jack Kerouac.

The Sun (Baltimore) Italian, Irish, Gentile, Jew, hetero, or gay, there's something to offend nearly everybody, if the laughter didn't get in the way.

Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX) Kinky Friedman combines the deductive moxie of a Chandler or a Hammett with the boisterous irreverence of a stream-of-consciousness raconteur, and the blend is a pungent delight.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684850610
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Series: Kinky Friedman Series , #12
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Kinky  Friedman

Kinky Friedman lives in a little green trailer somewhere in the hills of Texas. He has five dogs, one armadillo, and one Smith-Corona typewriter. By the time you are reading this, Mr. Friedman may either be celebrating becoming the next governor of Texas or he may have retired in a petulant snit.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was Monday morning, and the cat and I were staring sulkily upward into the moon-sized crater in the ceiling of my loft. Indubitably, it had been the result of the constant pounding on the floor above by Winnie Katz and her lesbian dance class. The previous morning, after attending services at the Church of St. Mattress, I'd finally gotten Rambam on the blower and he'd promised to call Joe the Hyena to round up several handpicked members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Rambam also promised that he and the workmen would show up this morning at eight o'clock sharp. It was now ten-fifteen and there was no one in the loft but me and the cat.

"It's a shame what's happened to the glorious tradition of unions in this country," I said to the cat. "We've gone from legendary leaders like Joe Hill to modern-day mob leaders like Joe the Hyena. Of course, without Joe the Hyena we wouldn't be currently receiving the help we're currently not receiving. What would Woody Guthrie or Tom Joad have to say about all this? At least we can thank the Baby Jesus that lesbians don't have unions. We'd never get this damn ceiling paid for."

The cat absorbed my comments in a state of stoic silence. The cat was a Republican and had never cared a flea about the problems of the working man or woman in America. I, on the other paw, had a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the working person. It couldn't be said that I had a great deal of empathy, however, seeing as I'd never worked a day in my life unless, of course, you wanted to count my two years in the Peace Corps, where I labored rather fruitlessly in the jungle teaching people who'd been farming successfully for over two thousand years how to improve their agricultural methods. The only things that came out of all the time and effort I expended there were a large harvest of tedium, a tattoo, a handful of friends I'll probably never see again, two blowpipes gathering cobwebs on the wall, and an occasional late-night craving for monkey brains. Some would say that's pretty good for eleven cents an hour.

"Monkey brains," I said to the cat, as I drew my second cup of espresso, "are considered quite a delicacy by the Punan tribe of Borneo."

The cat wrinkled her nose slightly in a moue of distaste. She followed this patrician behavior with a barely audible mew of distaste. Like many cats, and many Republicans, she was extremely ethnocentric. Her attitude toward the Punan tribe of Borneo might be effectively summed up as: "Let them eat monkey brains."

Just to irritate the cat, I stayed on the subject a little longer than was probably necessary. I lit a cigar and, with a certain professorial detachment, watched the fragrant blue smoke billow upward into what used to be my ceiling. Then I continued, undeterred, with my anthropology lecture, which I could tell was starting to make the cat want to climb a wall. If the truth be known, it wasn't all that exciting from my side of the lectern either, but if you're waiting for Rambam and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers you've got to pass the time somehow or you'll inevitably become highly agitato, then you'll snap your wig, then you'll hang yourself from the nearest passing shower rod, then you won't ever have any problems with your ceiling again because your floor will be the sky.

"The Punan tribe of Borneo are nomadic pygmies," I continued, "who by this time have no doubt been displaced by some totally unnecessary government dam or have ceased to exist entirely because some Japanese lumber conglomerate has cut down all the trees. No trees, no monkeys, no brains, no Punans. The only anthropological relics of their existence, indeed, may be these two blowpipes one sees exhibited upon this wall."

As I turned to direct the cat's gaze to the wall in question I observed a rather curious scenario. There were not only no trees, no monkeys, no brains, and no Punans. There was also no longer any cat.

Fighting down a mild panic, I had just begun to start searching for the cat when a noise that sounded like a foghorn from a large ship at sea drifted ominously into the loft. I walked over to the kitchen window and shoveled a glimpse four stories down at Vandam Street. It was pretty foggy out there and I couldn't see the ship. No trees, no monkeys, no brains, no Punans, no cat, no ship, no ceiling. Have a nice day.

The foghorn sounded again, and this time I flung open the window to the arctic void that was New York City in February and noticed a rather nondescript van parked on the sidewalk somewhere in the middle of a necklace of garbage trucks. The van began spitting out several little stick men and one of them appeared to be beseeching me from the street.

"Throw down that fuckin' puppet head!" shouted Rambam. "I'm freezin' my ass off down here!"

I wandered over to the refrigerator and plucked from the top of it the last cheerful face in the city. The face belonged to a little wooden puppet head, and nobody knew where the puppet itself was now. Very possibly its strings were currently being pulled by a crippled ballet dancer on the seventh ring of Saturn. But as far as the head was concerned, it was still smiling, even with the key to the building wedged firmly in its mouth and a brightly colored parachute attached from the place where its neck would've met its body. I threw the little head out the window and watched it float gracefully down into Rambam's rapacious hands. Then I closed the window before my own neck froze off my body and somebody tied a brightly colored parachute to my scrotum.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," I chanted loudly, "or I'll puff on your whiskers with my big cigar."

The cat and I did not enjoy a particularly healthy or mature relationship, and certainly the cat did not come out from wherever the hell she was. In a state of high exasperation I gazed up at the ceiling, and that brought me back to the situation at hand. This was hardly the time for a game of cat and mouse. Winnie Katz and her lesbian dance class had done severe damage to the ceiling of the loft and, to add insult to injury, Winnie had refused to take any responsibility or to help pay for the necessary work required to fix it.

"One man's floor is another man's ceiling," I'd told her rationally over the blower.

"It's one person's floor, cowboy," she'd said. "And there's nothing wrong with my floor. Your ceiling is structurally weak."

"Right," I'd said. "And how many lesbians do you think can dance on the head of a pin?"

"I wonder how many can dance on top of your pinhead?" she'd said, and hung up the blower.

No doubt, I'd sort out the cat and the lesbian situation later, I figured. I could hear Rambam and the workmen coming up the stairs, and with any luck they'd be on the job soon. The ceiling did look structurally weak, actually, and besides, staring at that yawning chasm was beginning to give me an empty feeling. Like I'd been living on this planet for fifty-three years and all I had to show for it was a hole in the ceiling.

"Joe sends his best," said Rambam, walking in the door with the puppet head in his hand. "He also sends Vinnie and Gepetto."

"Jesus Christ!" said Vinnie, as I started to introduce myself. "Who the hell lives up there? A fucking elephant trainer?"

"A lesbian dance class," I said.

"Dat explains it," said Vinnie. "What time is it?"

"Ten-thirty," I said. "But it's no problem. We've got all day -- "

"All day?" said Vinnie. "You gotta be kiddin'. Dis could take all week."

"Sorry we're late, by the way," said Gepetto. "We had to stop by da fish market to -- uh -- take care of a little business dis morning. Shit, man, dis looks like a big job. Could cost a bundle."

"Joe told me he'd give Kinky the Israeli Discount," said Rambam.

"I know," said Gepetto, "but he didn't know da hole in da ceiling was big enough to hide Jimmy Hoffa."

"I'll talk to Joe again," said Rambam. "Right now I've got to run. I've got to pick up a delivery of sock puppets at the airport. You guys might as well get started, and I'll check back later. In the meantime, ask Kinky if there's anything you need."

"Hey, Kinky," said Vinnie, as Rambam started down the stairs, "dere is one thing we might need."

"What is it, Vinnie?" I said.

"Mustard," said Vinnie. "It's lunchtime."

Copyright © 1999 by Kinky Friedman

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

It was Monday morning, and the cat and I were staring sulkily upward into the moon-sized crater in the ceiling of my loft. Indubitably, it had been the result of the constant pounding on the floor above by Winnie Katz and her lesbian dance class. The previous morning, after attending services at the Church of St. Mattress, I'd finally gotten Rambam on the blower and he'd promised to call Joe the Hyena to round up several handpicked members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Rambam also promised that he and the workmen would show up this morning at eight o'clock sharp. It was now ten-fifteen and there was no one in the loft but me and the cat.

"It's a shame what's happened to the glorious tradition of unions in this country," I said to the cat. "We've gone from legendary leaders like Joe Hill to modern-day mob leaders like Joe the Hyena. Of course, without Joe the Hyena we wouldn't be currently receiving the help we're currently not receiving. What would Woody Guthrie or Tom Joad have to say about all this? At least we can thank the Baby Jesus that lesbians don't have unions. We'd never get this damn ceiling paid for."

The cat absorbed my comments in a state of stoic silence. The cat was a Republican and had never cared a flea about the problems of the working man or woman in America. I, on the other paw, had a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the working person. It couldn't be said that I had a great deal of empathy, however, seeing as I'd never worked a day in my fife unless, of course, you wanted to count my two years in the Peace Corps, where I labored rather fruitlessly in the jungle teaching people who'd been farming successfully for over two thousand years how to improve their agricultural methods. The only things that came out of all the time and effort I expended there were a large harvest of tedium, a tattoo, a handful of friends I'll probably never see again, two blowpipes gathering cobwebs on the wall, and an occasional late-night craving for monkey brains. Some would say that's pretty good for eleven cents an hour.

"Monkey brains" I said to the cat, as I drew my second cup of espresso, "are considered quite a delicacy by the Punan tribe of Borneo"

The cat wrinkled her nose slightly in a moue of distaste. She followed this patrician behavior with a barely audible mew of distaste. Like many cats, and many Republicans, she was extremely ethnocentric. Her attitude toward the Punan tribe of Borneo might be effectively summed up as: "Let them eat monkey brains"

Just to irritate the cat, I stayed on the subject a little longer than was probably necessary. I lit a cigar and, with a certain professorial detachment, watched the fragrant blue smoke billow upward into what used to be my ceiling. Then I continued, undeterred, with my anthropology lecture, which I could tell was starting to make the cat want to climb a wall. If the truth be known, it wasn't all that exciting from my side of the lectern either, but if you're waiting for Rambam and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers you've got to pass the time somehow or you'll inevitably become highly agitato, then you'll snap your wig, then you'll hang yourself from the nearest passing shower rod, then you won't ever have any problems with your ceiling again because your floor will be the sky.

"The Punan tribe of Borneo are nomadic pygmies" I continued, "who by this time have no doubt been displaced by some totally unnecessary government dam or have ceased to exist entirely because some Japanese lumber conglomerate has cut down all the trees. No trees, no monkeys, no brains, no Punans. The only anthropological relics of their existence, indeed, may be these two blowpipes one sees exhibited upon this wall."

As I turned to direct the cat's gaze to the wall in question I observed a rather curious scenario. There were not only no trees, no monkeys, no brains, and no Punans. There was also no longer any cat.

Fighting down a mild panic, I had just begun to start searching for the cat when a noise that sounded like a foghorn from a large ship at sea drifted ominously into the loft. I walked over to the kitchen window and shoveled a glimpse four stories down at Vandam Street. It was pretty foggy out there and I couldn't see the ship. No trees, no monkeys, no brains, no Punans, no cat, no ship, no ceiling. Have a nice day.

The foghorn sounded again, and this time I flung open the window to the arctic void that was New York City in February and noticed a rather nondescript van parked on the sidewalk somewhere in the middle of a necklace of garbage trucks. The van began spitting out several little stick men and one of them appeared to be beseeching me from the street.

"Throw down that fuckin' puppet head!" shouted Rambam. "I'm freezin' my ass off down here!"

I wandered over to the refrigerator and plucked from the top of it the last cheerful face in the city. The face belonged to a little wooden puppet head, and nobody knew where the puppet itself was now. Very possibly its strings were currently being pulled by a crippled ballet dancer on the seventh ring of Saturn. But as far as the head was concerned, it was still smiling, even with the key to the building wedged firmly in its mouth and a brightly colored parachute attached from the place where its neck would've met its body. I threw the little head out the window and watched it float gracefully down into Rambam's rapacious hands. 'Men I closed the window before my own neck froze off my body and somebody tied a brightly colored parachute to my scrotum.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are" I chanted loudly, or I'll puff on your whiskers with my big cigar."

The cat and I did not enjoy a particularly healthy or mature relationship, and certainly the cat did not come out from wherever the hell she was. In a state of high exasperation I gazed up at the ceiling, and that brought me back to the situation at hand. This was hardly the time for a game of cat and mouse. Winnie Katz and her lesbian dance class had done severe damage to the ceiling of the loft and, to add insult to injury, Winnie had refused to take any responsibility or to help pay for the necessary work required to fix it.

"One man's floor is another man's ceiling," I'd told her rationally over the blower.

"It's one person's floor, cowboy," she'd said. "And there's nothing wrong with my floor. Your ceiling is structurally weak."

"Right:' I'd said. "And how many lesbians do you think can dance on the head of a pin?"

"I wonder how many can dance on top of your pinhead?" she'd said, and hung up the blower.

No doubt, I'd sort out the cat and the lesbian situation later, I figured. I could hear Rambam and the workmen coming up the stairs, and with any luck they'd be on the job soon. The ceiling did look structurally weak, actually, and besides, staring at that yawning chasm was beginning to give me an empty feeling. Like I'd been living on this planet for fifty-three years and all I had to show for it was a hole in the ceiling.

"Joe sends his best:' said Rambam, walking in the door with the puppet head in his hand. "He also sends Vinnie and Gepetto."

"Jesus Christ!" said Vinnie, as I started to introduce myself. "Who the hell lives up there? A fucking elephant trainer?"

"A lesbian dance class," I said.

"Dat explains it," said Vinnie. "What time is it?"

"Ten-thirty," I said. "But it's no problem. We've got all day — "

"All day?" said Vinnie. "You gotta be kiddin' Dis could take all week'

"Sorry we're late, by the way," said Gepetto. "We had to stop by da fish market to — uh — take care of a little business dis morning Shit, man, dis looks like a big job. Could cost a bundle'

"Joe told me he'd give Kinky the Israeli Discount," said Rambam.

"I know," said Gepetto, "but he didn't know da hole in da ceiling was big enough to hide Jimmy Hoffa'

"I'll talk to Joe again" said Rambam. "Right now I've got to run. I've got to pick up a delivery of sock puppets at the airport. You guys might as well get started, and I'll check back later. In the meantime, ask Kinky if there's anything you need'

"Hey, Kinky," said Vinnie, as Rambam started down the stairs, "dere is one thing we might need"

"What is it, Vinnie?" I said.

"Mustard" said Vinnie. "It's lunchtime."

Copyright © 1999 by Kinky Friedman

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