Ten Little New Yorkers

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Overview

Kinky Friedman has always proven himself to be a master of the offbeat and irreverent, and still manages to pull off a helluva whodunit in the process. Now the Kinkster may have met his match in this superbly crafted, fiendishly clever tale of a murderer who's methodically killing off unsuspecting Manhattan men. Gallingly, all clues point toward Kinky.

Greenwich Village is the setting for Ten Little New Yorkers, a tale of murder and mayhem as only Friedman can warble it and ...

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Ten Little New Yorkers

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Overview

Kinky Friedman has always proven himself to be a master of the offbeat and irreverent, and still manages to pull off a helluva whodunit in the process. Now the Kinkster may have met his match in this superbly crafted, fiendishly clever tale of a murderer who's methodically killing off unsuspecting Manhattan men. Gallingly, all clues point toward Kinky.

Greenwich Village is the setting for Ten Little New Yorkers, a tale of murder and mayhem as only Friedman can warble it and featuring his usual suspects, including Ratso -- Dr. Watson to Kinky's singular Sherlock Holmes. As the clues and bodies pile up and the cops strong-arm Kinky as their man, he has to jump through hoops to find the real killer, all the while maintaining his outrage and, of course, his innocence. The murderer may be someone close to Kinky, which leads to a shocker of an ending that will surely take Kinky devotees completely by surprise.

With a wink and a nod to Dame Agatha (as in Christie), after which all resemblance to those classic mysteries fades, this is one of Friedman's most complex and irresistible page-turners yet. Cunningly tentous issues of life, death, guilt, innocence, love, loss, and the danger of false confessions, this is Kinky Friedman at his wily, suspenseful, and sacrilegious best.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Friedman's comic, semi-autobiographical mystery series apparently comes to an end with this downbeat 18th entry, which, like 2004's The Prisoner of Vandam Street, is suffused with melancholy and loss. Friedman-the-detective is suffering from the disappearance of a close, longtime companion-his cat. When he decides to leave New York City for Texas to escape the doldrums, he's tracked down by a regular nemesis from the NYPD, Det. Sgt. Mort Cooperman, after the wallet of a murder victim, possibly the fourth in a series, turns up in Kinky's apartment. Four more murders occur, with clues again pointing to Friedman once he returns to the Big Apple. While the circle of suspects seems to be limited to his closest associates, suspense is lessened by the unlikelihood that a member of his Village Irregulars has suddenly been transformed into a psychopath. The depressing ending may disappoint some fans expecting the series' trademark laugh-out-loud humor stemming from Friedman's uniquely wry and twisted narrative voice. One can only hope that the author will soon apply his considerable gifts for creating colorful characters and amusing situations to a new series. Agent, David Vigliano. Author tour. (Mar. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The Washington Post Book World

"Nothing is sacred in a Kinky Friedman book....Therein lies his charm."

The New York Times Book Review

"Rollicking...any reader who fails to have fun probably has 'a brain about the size of a small Welsh mining town.'"

Library Journal
The cops think that the Kinkster is doing in all those little New Yorkers. With an eight-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Could the Kinkster's 17th case be his last? Kinky Friedman has the blues. He hasn't had a case since The Prisoner of Vandam Street (2004). His cat has disappeared. His sidekick Ratso Sloman's prologue to his latest case is full of dire echoes of Conan Doyle's story "The Final Problem." Kinky continues his one-sided chats with the absent cat and visits his sister's animal rescue ranch outside Austin, but his ears don't begin to twitch again until three slain New Yorkers are joined by a fourth, Robert Scalopini, who left his wallet in Kinky's loft the night before he was killed-quite a feat, Detective Sergeant Mort Cooperman glowers, for a guy who was vacationing in Vermont. The news that Scalopini had done time long ago for assaulting a young girl makes Kinky wonder whether the other victims were equally nasty. Even as he's unearthing their unsavory pasts, the murderer is obligingly enlarging his database by providing fresh corpses. But why does all the evidence in the case-the killer's knowledge of Kinky's first song, his use of unlabeled Cuban cigars as a murder weapon and the phrase "too kinky" in a taunting note-point toward the Kinkster himself? Even though the Texas Seinfeld's dour mood dampens his scabrous humor, here's hoping the endnote by a famous New York Times reporter, mixing elegy and hilarity, is just as inaccurate about his fate as it is about everything else.
From the Publisher
"Nothing is sacred in a Kinky Friedman book....Therein lies his charm."

The Washington Post Book World

"Rollicking...any reader who fails to have fun probably has 'a brain about the size of a small Welsh mining town.'"

The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786278367
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 271
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (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

The cat had been gone and the lesbian dance had been silent for some time now. It had been a fairly rough patch for the Kinkster. Ratso was really starting to irritate me as well. "Starting," I suppose, would be the wrong word to use. Ratso had been doing a pretty thorough job of getting up my sleeve ever since the first day I'd met him. Maybe it was part of his charm. Maybe I never used to let it get to me. Maybe with the cat gone and no one around to really talk to, the full brunt of Ratso's personality was finally weighing down upon me. But Ratso was a guy you just couldn't hate, so you might as well love him. And when I think of all the shit the two of us have been through together, I see him as a natural and inevitable part of my own existence. The cat never liked him, of course, and that would be putting it mildly. The truth was the cat fucking hated him, and I believe you should never mistrust the instincts of a cat. But what the hell, the cat by now was no doubt safely across the rainbow bridge and I was standing at my window, waiting for Ratso, and watching the rain.

It was a hard rain, as Bob Dylan might say, but I didn't mind. In fact, I didn't really give a damn if the whole city floated away. Well, maybe it'd be nice to keep Chinatown. When it's raining cats and dogs I miss the animals and people I've loved in my life and I feel closer to them and farther away from today. Today is just a garbageman in his yellow raincoat. Today is the wet woman with the wild hair walking willfully into the white wall. Today's a goddamn vase without any flowers. Hell, give me a passably decent tomorrow, I said. Give me a handful of scrappy yesterdays. Give me liberty or give me death or give me life on the Mississippi.

Since my cat had disappeared I found I was talking to myself a great deal, and myself, unfortunately, had never taken the time or effort to bother developing her listening skills. Without the cat I was a starfish on the sand. A lesbian dance class without the music. A Japanese tourist wandering the world without a camera. I was lost in a swirling gray fog of grief and self-pity. What the hell, I thought. Being alone provides an opportunity few of us ever have in life, the opportunity to get to know ourselves. I mean you might as well get to know yourself. You're going to have to live together.

I watched the rain some more. It felt like it was raining all over the world. Everywhere but Georgia. I heard some rumbling sounds from upstairs. Lesbian thunder no doubt. Then from further upstairs I heard the rumbling sounds of just plain thunder. After listening for a while it was hard to tell which was which. Ask me if I cared. Large dogs often seem to be afraid of thunder, but small dogs usually remain unfazed by it. What does this tell us? Not too much. These are the kinds of fragmented thoughts that quite commonly pop into the heads of private investigators who've gone too long with nothing to investigate. If this situation persists for a while, said investigators may even lose their powers of observation. When this occurs, about all they can do is watch the rain.

"If I'm not mistaken," I said to the cat who wasn't there, "I hear the call of a blue-buttocked tropical loon."

It is not uncommon, psychologists say, for a person to speak to a loved one after the loved one has passed away. The force of habit is often stronger than the force of gravity. The force of wishful thinking, I would submit, may even be stronger than the other two. Psychologists probably wouldn't agree with me. Like that red-bearded baboon who got me deselected from the Peace Corps. Because I was honest with him I never got to meet a blonde driving a jeep in Africa and make her the future ex-Mrs. Kinky Friedman. I had to wander the country aimlessly for many moons, retrain in Hawaii, then go to Borneo where I helped people who'd been farming successfully for over two thousand years. It was during my stint in Borneo that my penis sloughed off in the jungle. I didn't blame God. I didn't blame the psychologist. I didn't even blame the naked little brown children who laughed and pointed to my penis lying there on the jungle floor and shouted Pisang! Pisang means "banana" in Malay. No, I don't blame any of these people. I just blame my editor for leaving this shit out of the book.

The blue-buttocked tropical loon called out again, giving forth with what sounded like another, somewhat more impassioned, mating call. What, I wondered, was a blue-buttocked tropical loon doing in the middle of a rainstorm in the West Village? The blue-buttocked tropical loon belonged in a rain forest, not a rainstorm. Of course I could understand it making an occasional appearance in the East Village, but it was highly unusual for this rare bird to migrate to the more civilized West Village. Another unsettling irregularity was that it was the middle of winter, certainly not the normal mating season for the blue-buttocked tropical loon. Possibly, like everybody else in the world, the loon was merely out to fuck me. I opened the kitchen window ever so slightly. I looked down into a monolithic gray wall of rain but could see nothing. Then I heard the strange sound again.

"Kinkstah!" it seemed to say. "Kinkstah, I'm fucking drowning out here!"

I walked over to the roaring fireplace and picked up the little black puppethead from off the mantel. The key to the building was still wedged firmly in its smiling mouth. It seemed it was the only secure thing I had in the world these days. The puppethead had been lost, but now it was found, and it held the key, I felt, to my last remaining chance for happiness in life. If you're happy, of course, this probably won't make much sense to you. If you're not, you probably already realize how the world turns on a dime. Or a key. Or a memory.

I opened the window a little further and threw poor Yorick out into the cold curtain of rain. Somewhere below that curtain stood either Ratso or an extremely articulate blue-buttocked tropical loon. Moments later all doubt was erased as Ratso came stumbling into the loft like a carnival tent coming in from the rain. He was wearing a fire-engine-red hooded rain slicker that flapped and dripped all the way to the refrigerator.

"My floors will be a mess," I said.

"Your floors have always been a mess," said Ratso. "Why change now? At least you've gotten rid of all those cat turds — "

Realizing his own unpremeditated insensitivity, perhaps, he pulled his head out of the refrigerator long enough to walk the puppethead back to its customary perch on top of the mantel. Then, with one arm resting on the mantel, he warmed himself before the fire.

"Sorry," he said.

"Forget it," I told him. And I meant it. The loss of one cat, one man, one woman, one child, one dream, signifies very little either in the city or in the world. Everybody knows there's plenty more where that one came from. Nobody cares or everybody does — it's all the same thing. We mourn for ourselves, I thought. So get on with your life or become a fucking Buddhist or something, but don't just sit around moping about it. Simply make a point in the future of never letting yourself get involved with anything that eats or dies.

"Cheer up, Kinkstah!" said Ratso. "Let's go to Chinatown."

"That would constitute eating."

"Eating's important, Kinkstah! So's dumping. When you stop eating, you stop dumping. When you stop dumping, you stop living. The Jewish people have been assuaging their grief and their guilt for over two thousand years — hell, maybe more — by eating Chinese food. Why stop now? We have a great tradition to uphold!"

"Ratso, it's raining."

"That's what they told Noah! And what'd he do? He built himself an ark!"

"Maybe I'll build myself something like this," I said.

With impeccable timing, I blasted a loud fart that seemed to reverberate in the loft, echoing like footsteps in the tomb of the mummy of the Pharaoh Esophagus. Ratso was impressed.

"That was a bell-ringer," he said. "Did you touch cloth?"

"That would be unlikely, Watson. As you well know, I've worn no underwear since my years in the tropics. I prefer to go commando-style."

"Right you are, Sherlock. How could I forget a thing like that?"

"Ah, my dear Watson! But it is exactly the trivial little matter like that that the criminal mind often forgets. And it is exactly 'a thing like that,' as you say, that arouses the rational, scientific mind of the detective and leads him to the sure resolution of the most puzzling and convoluted matter."

"That's brilliant, Sherlock. But there are also health ramifications to not wearing underwear. Your pee-pee could catch a cold."

"Ah, Watson! How I have missed your witty banter and camaraderie by the fireside! You never fail to bring a delightful, if somewhat earthy, humor to an investigation."

"We have an investigation?"

"Alas, Watson, the answer is no."

"When will we have an investigation, Sherlock?"

"We'll never have one if you keep going around in that ridiculous Little Red Riding Hood outfit. But don't you fear, Watson. Investigations are like cats. They are fated to come into and go out of our lives. One way or another, they will come around again."

Copyright © 2005 by Kinky Friedman

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Ten Little New Yorkers


By Kinky Friedman

Simon & Schuster

Copyright © 2005 Kinky Friedman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0743246039

Chapter One

The cat had been gone and the lesbian dance had been silent for some time now. It had been a fairly rough patch for the Kinkster. Ratso was really starting to irritate me as well. "Starting," I suppose, would be the wrong word to use. Ratso had been doing a pretty thorough job of getting up my sleeve ever since the first day I'd met him. Maybe it was part of his charm. Maybe I never used to let it get to me. Maybe with the cat gone and no one around to really talk to, the full brunt of Ratso's personality was finally weighing down upon me. But Ratso was a guy you just couldn't hate, so you might as well love him. And when I think of all the shit the two of us have been through together, I see him as a natural and inevitable part of my own existence. The cat never liked him, of course, and that would be putting it mildly. The truth was the cat fucking hated him, and I believe you should never mistrust the instincts of a cat. But what the hell, the cat by now was no doubt safely across the rainbow bridge and I was standing at my window, waiting for Ratso, and watching the rain.

It was a hard rain, as Bob Dylan might say, but I didn't mind. In fact, I didn't really give a damn if the whole city floated away. Well, maybe it'd be nice to keep Chinatown. Whenit's raining cats and dogs I miss the animals and people I've loved in my life and I feel closer to them and farther away from today. Today is just a garbageman in his yellow raincoat. Today is the wet woman with the wild hair walking willfully into the white wall. Today's a goddamn vase without any flowers. Hell, give me a passably decent tomorrow, I said. Give me a handful of scrappy yesterdays. Give me liberty or give me death or give me life on the Mississippi.

Since my cat had disappeared I found I was talking to myself a great deal, and myself, unfortunately, had never taken the time or effort to bother developing her listening skills. Without the cat I was a starfish on the sand. A lesbian dance class without the music. A Japanese tourist wandering the world without a camera. I was lost in a swirling gray fog of grief and self-pity. What the hell, I thought. Being alone provides an opportunity few of us ever have in life, the opportunity to get to know ourselves. I mean you might as well get to know yourself. You're going to have to live together.

I watched the rain some more. It felt like it was raining all over the world. Everywhere but Georgia. I heard some rumbling sounds from upstairs. Lesbian thunder no doubt. Then from further upstairs I heard the rumbling sounds of just plain thunder. After listening for a while it was hard to tell which was which. Ask me if I cared. Large dogs often seem to be afraid of thunder, but small dogs usually remain unfazed by it. What does this tell us? Not too much. These are the kinds of fragmented thoughts that quite commonly pop into the heads of private investigators who've gone too long with nothing to investigate. If this situation persists for a while, said investigators may even lose their powers of observation. When this occurs, about all they can do is watch the rain.

"If I'm not mistaken," I said to the cat who wasn't there, "I hear the call of a blue-buttocked tropical loon."

It is not uncommon, psychologists say, for a person to speak to a loved one after the loved one has passed away. The force of habit is often stronger than the force of gravity. The force of wishful thinking, I would submit, may even be stronger than the other two. Psychologists probably wouldn't agree with me. Like that red-bearded baboon who got me deselected from the Peace Corps. Because I was honest with him I never got to meet a blonde driving a jeep in Africa and make her the future ex-Mrs. Kinky Friedman. I had to wander the country aimlessly for many moons, retrain in Hawaii, then go to Borneo where I helped people who'd been farming successfully for over two thousand years. It was during my stint in Borneo that my penis sloughed off in the jungle. I didn't blame God. I didn't blame the psychologist. I didn't even blame the naked little brown children who laughed and pointed to my penis lying there on the jungle floor and shouted Pisang! Pisang means "banana" in Malay. No, I don't blame any of these people. I just blame my editor for leaving this shit out of the book.

The blue-buttocked tropical loon called out again, giving forth with what sounded like another, somewhat more impassioned, mating call. What, I wondered, was a blue-buttocked tropical loon doing in the middle of a rainstorm in the West Village? The blue-buttocked tropical loon belonged in a rain forest, not a rainstorm. Of course I could understand it making an occasional appearance in the East Village, but it was highly unusual for this rare bird to migrate to the more civilized West Village. Another unsettling irregularity was that it was the middle of winter, certainly not the normal mating season for the blue-buttocked tropical loon. Possibly, like everybody else in the world, the loon was merely out to fuck me. I opened the kitchen window ever so slightly. I looked down into a monolithic gray wall of rain but could see nothing. Then I heard the strange sound again.

"Kinkstah!" it seemed to say. "Kinkstah, I'm fucking drowning out here!"

I walked over to the roaring fireplace and picked up the little black puppethead from off the mantel. The key to the building was still wedged firmly in its smiling mouth. It seemed it was the only secure thing I had in the world these days. The puppethead had been lost, but now it was found, and it held the key, I felt, to my last remaining chance for happiness in life. If you're happy, of course, this probably won't make much sense to you. If you're not, you probably already realize how the world turns on a dime. Or a key. Or a memory.

I opened the window a little further and threw poor Yorick out into the cold curtain of rain. Somewhere below that curtain stood either Ratso or an extremely articulate blue-buttocked tropical loon. Moments later all doubt was erased as Ratso came stumbling into the loft like a carnival tent coming in from the rain. He was wearing a fire-engine-red hooded rain slicker that flapped and dripped all the way to the refrigerator.

"My floors will be a mess," I said.

"Your floors have always been a mess," said Ratso. "Why change now? At least you've gotten rid of all those cat turds -- "

Realizing his own unpremeditated insensitivity, perhaps, he pulled his head out of the refrigerator long enough to walk the puppethead back to its customary perch on top of the mantel. Then, with one arm resting on the mantel, he warmed himself before the fire.

"Sorry," he said.

"Forget it," I told him. And I meant it. The loss of one cat, one man, one woman, one child, one dream, signifies very little either in the city or in the world. Everybody knows there's plenty more where that one came from. Nobody cares or everybody does -- it's all the same thing. We mourn for ourselves, I thought. So get on with your life or become a fucking Buddhist or something, but don't just sit around moping about it. Simply make a point in the future of never letting yourself get involved with anything that eats or dies.

"Cheer up, Kinkstah!" said Ratso. "Let's go to Chinatown."

"That would constitute eating."

"Eating's important, Kinkstah! So's dumping. When you stop eating, you stop dumping. When you stop dumping, you stop living. The Jewish people have been assuaging their grief and their guilt for over two thousand years -- hell, maybe more -- by eating Chinese food. Why stop now? We have a great tradition to uphold!"

"Ratso, it's raining."

"That's what they told Noah! And what'd he do? He built himself an ark!"

"Maybe I'll build myself something like this," I said.

With impeccable timing, I blasted a loud fart that seemed to reverberate in the loft, echoing like footsteps in the tomb of the mummy of the Pharaoh Esophagus. Ratso was impressed.

"That was a bell-ringer," he said. "Did you touch cloth?"

"That would be unlikely, Watson. As you well know, I've worn no underwear since my years in the tropics. I prefer to go commando-style."

"Right you are, Sherlock. How could I forget a thing like that?"

"Ah, my dear Watson! But it is exactly the trivial little matter like that that the criminal mind often forgets. And it is exactly 'a thing like that,' as you say, that arouses the rational, scientific mind of the detective and leads him to the sure resolution of the most puzzling and convoluted matter."

"That's brilliant, Sherlock. But there are also health ramifications to not wearing underwear. Your pee-pee could catch a cold."

"Ah, Watson! How I have missed your witty banter and camaraderie by the fireside! You never fail to bring a delightful, if somewhat earthy, humor to an investigation."

"We have an investigation?"

"Alas, Watson, the answer is no."

"When will we have an investigation, Sherlock?"

"We'll never have one if you keep going around in that ridiculous Little Red Riding Hood outfit. But don't you fear, Watson. Investigations are like cats. They are fated to come into and go out of our lives. One way or another, they will come around again."

Copyright © 2005 by Kinky Friedman

Continues...


Excerpted from Ten Little New Yorkers by Kinky Friedman Copyright © 2005 by Kinky Friedman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2010

    Looks like the last

    One of the best in Kinky's "Village Irregulars" series.Unfortunately looks like the last. A real fun read as usual.Wish there would be more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    excellent Kinky Friedman novel

    Amateur private investigator Kinky Friedman is despondent because his cat is missing and he has no case to occupy his time. He also feels that his life is not going to get any better than it is, which makes him even more depressed. His friends convince him to go to his Echo Hill Ranch in Texas; which he does.--- When he arrives at the ranch, he feels much better until his neighbor Winnie Katz calls to let him know that she found a wallet belonging to a Robert Scalopini, someone Kinky never heard of. He finds out the man was the fourth male killed in the Village in a week and a half. When the police learn about the wallet they make Kinky return to Manhattan to question him. As evidence at a fifth homicide points to Kinky the police tail him. When he loses the tail, a sixth murder occurs and the Kinkster has no alibi. Someone is framing him for the murders; Kinky has a case to work on to exonerating himself and finding the real culprit.--- A Kinky Friedman novel is always a treat to read. His raunchy sense of humor, his quirky outlook on life and his love for his cat endears him to readers who hope he snaps out of his funk. It is exciting watching Kinky fall under police suspicion although he knows he is innocent but can't prove it; still he interestingly eliminates suspects. The climax of TEN LITTLE NEW YORKERS will come as a complete shock to fans of this series, making this one a must buy to find out who and why.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

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