Political Poison (Paul Turner Series #2)

Political Poison (Paul Turner Series #2)

by Mark Richard Zubro

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Paul Turner is not your typical middle-aged cop. A widower, he lives with his two teenaged sons, and he is gay. He is also trusted by the brass to handle sensitive cases, so when a Chicago alderman is found murdered, Turner is assigned to the case. The dead alderman was not only a professor at the University of Chicago, but also a leading liberal gadfly with the media's ear. As Turner investigates, he discovers that jealous professors and old-guard politicians have guilty secrets to protect, not the least of which are the real reasons why some people in Chicago hated the alderman--information that they will stop at nothing to keep secret.

In Political Poison, Mark Richard Zubro has penned another thrilling mystery for Paul Turner.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466802803
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/15/1994
Series: Paul Turner Series , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 294,207
File size: 196 KB

About the Author

Mark Richard Zubro is the author of numerous mysteries, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning A Simple Suburban Murder and, most recently, Here Comes the Corpse. He is a teacher and lives in Mokena, Illinois.

Mark Richard Zubro is the Lambda Literary Award winning author of two gay mystery series - the Tom&Scott series featuring high school teacher Tom Mason and his lover professional baseball player Scott Carpenter, and the Paul Turner series, featuring gay Chicago Police Detective Paul Turner. He is a high-school teacher, and president of the teacher's union, in the Chicago suburb of Mokena, Illinois.

Read an Excerpt

Political Poison


I'm going to slide on over to our witness on Fullerton and then head home," Buck Fenwick announced.

In the Chicago Police Department the detectives never "drove" anywhere. Usually they "slide," sometimes they "drift" over. The last Chicago cop who drove anywhere was a rookie three years ago, and he simply didn't know any better.

Paul Turner nodded at his partner and glanced at the clock over the rumbling radiator. For the first time in two weeks he'd be going home from Area Ten headquarters at four-thirty, exactly on time.

Minutes later Paul drove home straight down Halsted, through Greektown, skirted the University of Illinois campus, then west on Taylor Street. Two blocks later he turned right and into his garage.

In the kitchen he gulped down a large glass of orange juice.He heard the thump of feet down the stairs and moments later his son Brian appeared in the kitchen doorway. His seventeen-year-old wore white socks, faded jeans, and a white t-shirt that bulged over his chest and shoulder muscles. Soon the boy would catch up with his dad.

Brian whispered, "You better talk to Jeff."

"Why are you whispering?" Paul asked.

"I'm serious, Dad. Something's bothering him, and he won't tell me what."

Jeff, Turner's eleven-year-old, worshipped his older brother. Their rare fights were quickly over and forgotten.

"When did it start?" Paul asked.

"I thought it was because he tripped on his way into the house. He swung his crutch at me when I tried to help him up."

Jeff had spina bifida, a birth defect that the three of them had come to terms with, though it had taken many years of struggle. These days Jeff was to the point of handling the occasional falls and frustrations of maneuvering on crutches and in wheelchairs with a grimace and a shrug.

"He hit you?" Paul asked.

"It's not a big deal, Dad, but I'm worried about him. He wouldn't talk to me. He tells me stuff he doesn't tell you, but I can't get a word out of him."

Paul found Jeff in the den in front of the Nintendo set. Jeff frequently beat both his older brother and his father at a wide variety of electronic games. The screen showed the beginning of the Tengen edition of the Tetris game, which Jeff preferred to the Nintendo version. The screen finished the opening explanation of how to play, but Jeff didn't click the controls to begin. Late April afternoon sunlight streamed through gauze curtains, continuing to fade the spot under the window.

Paul knelt next to the worn, golden overstuffed chair and touched his son's arm. Jeff flinched, and he wouldn't make eye contact.

"What's wrong, Jeff?" he asked.

No answer.

Paul asked, "Did something happen at school? Should I call your teacher?"

"No," Jeff murmured.

"Are you physically hurt? Should I call the doctor?"

Jeff shook his head.

Paul waited a few moments, trying to figure out what he could say to get his son to talk. He said, "You aren't playing your game. I've got time for a couple tries."

Jeff shrugged.

"You hit your brother. You can't do that, Jeff. You know it's wrong."

Jeff glanced at his father. Paul saw a tear in the boy's eye. "I didn't mean to hit him," he whispered. "Is he mad at me?"

Paul put his arm around his son. The boy didn't flinch, but Paul could feel tension in the slender shoulders. He said, "No, he loves you. He's concerned about you. So am I. What's wrong?"

Jeff gulped and drew a deep breath. He reached a hand for his dad's arm. Paul caressed his son gently. Jeff said, "Dad, are you going to die?"

The question startled Paul. Carefully considering possible responses, he finally asked, "Why do you ask?"

Jeff hesitated and then all the words came out in a rush. "At school today one of the kids said all gay people are going to die of AIDS and on television all the gay people have AIDS and they all die. You aren't going to die, are you, Dad?"

Paul had told both his sons about his sexual orientation when they were ten years old. He wanted to be honest, and to tell them before they heard it from someone else. He and Brian were closer than most fathers and sons, and Paul always put down a large part of this to his honesty about his sexuality. He'd told Jeff last year, and he thought the boy was handling it well. Today's question was something new.

Paul knelt in front of his son. Tears flooded the boy's eyes. Paul brushed the hair back on his son's forehead, placed his hands on the boy's arms.

"Television shows are just pretend, aren't they?" Paul asked.

The boy sniffed and nodded.

"And we've talked about how your friends don't always have accurate information?"

Jeff nodded. He'd been through a lot with kids and even adults with misinformation and ridicule about his birth defect.

"We've talked about AIDS, haven't we?"

Another sniff and nod.

"You know I was tested and the results were negative. That means I don't have the antibodies and that I'm okay."

"Then why do they only put gay people who are sick on television?" the eleven year old asked.

"Television doesn't put very many gay people on its programs."

"Why not?" his son demanded.

"I don't know, Jeff. They just don't, but there's lots of gay people. Uncle Ian, Ben Vargas. You know them. They aren't dying and neither am I."

Paul looked into his son's brown eyes, the thick dark eyelashes which showed his Italian heritage. "Feel better?" he asked.

The boy visibly relaxed. He put his arms around his dad, and they hugged. They played three games of Tetris. Paul insisted they quit when Jeff reached level ten.

Over dinner Paul told them about an incident earlier in the day at a jewelry shop on Wabash Avenue in the Loop. He'd been part of a foot chase that ended up at Buckingham Fountain.

"Did you get shot at?" Jeff asked.

"One of the crooks some other detectives were chasing fired one shot in their direction. Nobody got hurt." He could havelied or told them nothing, but the incident would very likely be on the evening news. He'd rather they hear it from him.

"Did you have your vest on?" Jeff asked.

"I sure did," Paul said. He ruffled his son's hair. "Don't I always do what you tell me?"

"Sometimes," Jeff said seriously.

Bulletproof vests were not mandatory for detectives on the Chicago police force but Paul usually wore his just to be careful. They'd discussed the possibility of his getting shot before. Both boys worried about it.

Paul soothed their fears as best he could. As a single parent, he wanted to assure his sons as much as possible that he would be there for them. Their mother had died giving birth to Jeff.

When Paul finished, Jeff said, "The kids make fun sometimes because you're a cop. I tell them to bug off."

This was one of the hazards of living in a newly upscale neighborhood. A lot of the old ethnic families still remained, but the new condos and town homes were filled with yuppies and their sometimes arrogant kids who looked down on less well-off families.

"Do you want me to talk to the teacher?" Paul asked.

"Nah. It's okay. If it gets bad, I tell them Brian will beat them up." Brian, the star athlete in the neighborhood, had a reputation of toughness and looking out for his brother. Such threats carried weight.

After dinner Paul cleaned up as he prepared to go out. He thought of shaving again, he often did before dates, but Ben, the guy he'd been dating for nearly six months, said he liked the heavy beard. Brian popped his head in his dad's bedroom as Paul was pulling on a gray University of Illinois sweatshirt.

"Dad, can I have Charlette over to study tonight?"

"Charlette, the pretty one from over in the town houses on Harrison?"

"Yeah, you met her last week. Dark hair, nice looking."

"All the girls you date have dark hair and are nice looking."

"Come on, Dad, I need help with my English."

"And Charlette is just the expert you need."

"Well, she gets A's all the time."

"I vaguely recall your report card the past three semesters had A's in English."


"No dice. If Mrs. Talucci's at home and she agrees, you can study over there, but you have to take your brother with you."

Brian considered his options. He thought of trying whining, but that often backfired into extra sets of chores. Brian said, "Jeff's here, nothing's going to happen while he's around."

"Jeff is not going to start chaperoning you at this stage of his career, much as he might relish the opportunity. Mrs. Talucci or nothing."

Rose Talucci lived next door. Paul loved her. She cared for Jeff every day after school whenever Paul or Brian couldn't be home. She often wound up giving the boys and their dad dinner. This was prearranged on a weekly basis. For several years after it started, she refused all offers of payment. Being neighbors and nearly family precluded even discussing such things. One day Mrs. Talucci couldn't fix a broken porch. Paul offered. Since then he'd done all the repairs on her home and had even done several major renovations. Mrs. Talucci lived on the ground floor by herself. On the second floor lived Mrs. Talucci's two daughters and several distant female cousins. Mrs. Talucci at ninety-one ruled this brood, her main concern being to keep them out of her way and to stay independent. Numerous times she'd confided in Paul that if they weren't family she'd throw them all out. She did her own cooking, cleaning, and shopping as she had for seventy-three years. To her daughters' horror she took the bus on her own throughout the city and suburbs to visit friends and relatives, to shopping-center openings, or to go to anything else that struck her fancy as something new and interesting.

Brian said, "Best deal I'm going to get?"

Paul reached for his black leather jacket. "Yep."

Brian gave a teenage martyr sigh. Paul grabbed his keys and walked toward the door.

Brian said, "You could bring Ben home to stay overnight."

Paul stopped. He searched his son's brown eyes. Seeing seriousness there, he bit back the comment that he didn't know he needed Brian's permission. Ben had stayed over a few times already, often enough to leave a pair of pajama bottoms hanging on a hook in the closet.

"Do you love him?" Brian asked.

Paul said, "Pardon me?"

"Do you love him?"

"Is it important to you that I do?"

"Yeah, kind of. He's nice. I like when he's around. And you're happy when he's with us. You don't smile enough, Dad. You're always so serious."

"I'll tell him you approve," Paul said. "He can come and ask you if he can have my hand in marriage."

"Cool. I'll say yes, but you have to get Mrs. Talucci's permission too."

"No problem. She's been trying to get him to move in with us for ages."

Paul walked down Taylor Street to Ben's garage. Ben had inherited it from his dad a number of years ago. With the influx of new homes and yuppies into the neighborhood the garage did better business than it had in years. New cars needed oil changes and repairs as much as old ones.

The service bay set furthest back from Taylor Street was well lit. Paul strolled back, raised the overhead door and stepped inside.

"We're closed," called a distant gruff voice.

Paul shut the door. Two legs encased in coveralls squirmed under a Porsche.

"It's Paul," he said.

A torso appeared above the legs and then a head. Light brown hair tied back in a pony tail, face and hands smudged with grease, Myra Johnson smiled hello. She often worked late. She had an incredible reputation among the expensive foreign car set who begged her to work on their cars. She prized her private time so she often turned them down. They offered her enormous sums, but she serviced only a select number of people.

"How's the cop biz?" she asked.

"More dead people than I ever thought possible," he said.

"Works that way," she said.

Ben walked in. "Heard voices," he said. He walked up to Paul, and they embraced and kissed.

"You guys are disgusting," Myra said.

"Jealous?" Ben asked.

"No, Bonnie keeps me happy. It's just you guys are always so mushy. You must be in love."

Both men blushed. She eyed them carefully. "Sorry, didn't know you hadn't told each other yet."

The three of them talked for a few minutes. Myra said she had to get finished, and they left her to it. They walked past the parts department to the front offices.

Paul said, "She must be making a ton of money doing overtime."

"We got a new deal," Ben said. "She works for me half the day, then I rent out that space to her for the rest of the time. She charges her customers and gives me a flat fee. I make almost as much from her work as I do from all the rest of the service. She's good."

"I like her," Paul said.

Ben flicked off the lights. He twirled a series of locks to let them out the front. He punched a computer code into a fixture above the door.

"Myra's still here," Paul reminded him.

"She likes to have the alarm on when she's working here alone at night," Ben explained. "She resets it when she's ready to leave." They strolled through the parking lot to Ben's truck.

Ben and Paul had gone through grade school and high school together, but they hadn't noted an attraction at the time. Ben stood an inch or two taller. He wouldn't be called handsome but some might call him rugged. His hair hung a trifle longer than was the usual in the neighborhood. Tonight he wore a white sweater over a blue shirt. These clung to his broad shoulders and tapered into a pair of gray jeans.

In Ben's V-8 engine 1949 red Chevy truck they drove up Lake Shore Drive, past the Loop to the north side. They took Addison past Wrigley Field. They were going to the Music Box Theater to see a showing of Harold and Maude. When Ben learned Paul had never seen it, he insisted they go at the first opportunity. That was one reason they were going out tonight, the movie was only playing this once. The other reason was their varied schedules. As a small businessman, Ben rarely had time to get out, and Paul's schedule as a cop was erratic. Their first serious argument a month ago had been over lack of time spent together. They determined that at least once a week they'd make time for each other.

"You wouldn't believe the nut case I had in the shop today," Ben said as they drove up. "Some guy in full leather drag: cap, jacket, pants, maybe even his shirt. He had hair down to his waist in the back. He wore diamond studded sun glasses and rhinestone encrusted boots. He didn't give his name. Just demanded to be treated like royalty."

"What's this guy driving?" Paul asked.

"A $260,000 Bently Continental R that would start but wouldn't keep going. Maybe somebody poured cocaine into the tank. Whatever. He's heard that Myra is the best mechanic in the city and this guy says he only gets the best. No way it could be done. Myra's booked up months in advance and onlydoes emergencies for friends. The guy got really mad and tried to bully Myra. He even pounded his diamond-studded boot on her workbench and shouted threats."

"You didn't throw him out on his ass?"

"I didn't have to. Myra tossed him out on his skinny little butt."

"Physically pitched him out?"


"I'd like to have seen that. What happened to his car?" Paul asked.

"It wouldn't even start anymore so he had to have it towed away."

Paul enjoyed the stories Ben told about the foibles of the patrons of the car repair shop.

They found a parking space just off Southport a block south of the theater. When Ben turned off the engine Paul reached for the door handle.

Ben said, "Hey, cop." He pulled Paul close. Paul enjoyed the strength and warmth, Ben's now-familiar smell of sweat and Old Spice. He felt the bristly mustache as Ben's kiss strengthened. They fooled around until it was time for the show to start.

As Ben had predicted, Paul loved the movie. Afterward in a coffee shop on the other side of Southport, Paul told Ben about the separate conversations with his sons, Jeff's concern about his safety, and Brian's concern about his love life.

Ben said, "I'm glad Brian likes me. I hope Jeff does."

"No problem. He lets you carry him. Lots of people offer, but he only permits a few people to do it. You're okay in his eyes." Jeff liked to be as independent as his birth defect permitted. The boy's standing rule was to 'let me try it, and if I need help I'll ask.' The only people permitted to break this rule were his dad and sometimes Brian. Over the years Paul had learned when the frustration point would come for his son. Beingcarried was something that took an enormous amount of trust on the boy's part, but he'd taken to Ben from the start.

"You know, Myra was right," Paul said. Ben watched Paul's eyes. He reached for Ben's hand and held it on top of the table. "I do love you."

"Myra's too smart for her own good," Ben said. He patted Paul's hand. "I love you, too."

Ben dropped Paul off at his doorstep. They whispered and kissed briefly before parting.

Paul checked his sleeping sons, Brian lightly snoring, Jeff peacefully quiet. Paul sat on Jeffs bed watching his son sleep for ten minutes before he mounted the steps to his own room.


The next morning Brian made omelets with spinach filling. His eldest son had been on a health kick for two months. Paul didn't want to discourage this voluntary vegetable ingestion, but sighed inaudibly. He'd have to eat it too.

Paul and his sons ate breakfast together every weekday. They rose a half hour early to share at least the one meal together. Last night's supper had been something of a rarity. They used the time in the morning to talk, compare schedules, settle family squabbles. Paul's workday started at eight-thirty, and as much as he tried to stick to a set schedule the amount of overtime required of a detective in Area Ten made this almost impossible. Brian's spring baseball practice began next week and would keep him out until six most nights. Jeff's schedule varied because of his physical therapy. Paul wanted them together at least once a day for a meal one of them cooked. They each took a week and rotated assignments. One cooked, one set the table, one cleaned up. Jeff's meals were, understandably, simple. The kitchen had special chairs, hooks, and pulleys to aid Jeff, although Paul stood ready to help and often assisted Jeff if things got complicated.

At Area Ten headquarters, Turner half listened at roll call.He leaned against a now-silent radiator. The spring weather had warmed sufficiently to ensure the blessed silence from the aged heating system. The atmosphere in the station would be much improved until the rush of summer humidity drove them nuts.

The building housing Area Ten was south of the River City complex on Wells Street on the southwest rim of Chicago's Loop. The building was as old and crumbling as River City was new and gleaming. Fifteen years ago the department purchased a four-story warehouse scheduled for demolition and decreed it would be a new Area Ten headquarters. To this day, rehabbers occasionally put in appearances. In fits and starts the building had changed from an empty hulking wreck to a people-filled hulking wreck. Wild rumor had it that the conversion from radiators to more modern heating would be done sometime before the end of the century. Maybe they'd get air-conditioning before the beginning of the century after that.

Area Ten ran from Fullerton Avenue on the north to Lake Michigan on the east, south to Fifty-ninth Street, and west to Halsted. It included the wealth of downtown Chicago and North Michigan Avenue, some of the nastiest slums in the city, along with numerous upscale developments. It incorporated four police districts. The cops in the Areas in Chicago handled homicides and any major nonlethal violent crimes. The districts mostly took care of neighborhood patrols and initial responses to incidents.

Turner spent most of roll call leafing through notes from a previous case he was due to testify in at nine-thirty. He enjoyed being on the stand and after years was good at it, but he hated the waiting. The State's attorney had assured him he would be first on the stand this morning. He was testifying in what the other cops in the squad had named the "Doggy Doo Murder." Police often give nicknames to murder cases, a gallows humor that helped them distance themselves from the realities of their jobs. As soon as they'd heard the medical examiner talk aboutfeeding dogs parts of the body to try to get rid of the evidence, somebody had come up with the nickname. Turner thought it stupid, but even he thought of the case by its nickname. Finding the murderer had been simple enough. They'd questioned the neighbors around the alley where pieces of the partly eaten body had been found. They didn't discover anything until they'd expanded their search to a four-block radius. At the first house Turner had gone to with the new perimeter, two Doberman pinschers and a pit bull terrier had nearly flung themselves through the front window of the house.

Even with the dogs on tight leashes, Turner and his partner Fenwick had been reluctant to walk in the door, but the man insisted. He'd let them in, and within fifteen minutes he'd told them the entire story. He'd murdered his wife. She didn't like dogs. She'd given him an ultimatum, her or the animals. Contrary to television murder mysteries, most criminals like to talk. Often you can't shut them up. It's rare that cops have to work hard to solve a mystery. Unless it's gang- or drug-related, the vast majority of the time, the killer knows the victim—hus—bands, wives, relatives, friends—whom in one moment of passion, they destroy.

The guy with the dogs figured the animals had mangled the body enough so it could never be identified, but since the killing, he'd been consumed by guilt. The guy had wound up pleading not guilty, and although it would probably be a simple case, Turner still had to testify.

Before he left for court he filled Fenwick in on his date last night. Paul's sexual orientation had never been an issue for Fenwick or his wife Madge. Their families had yearly picnics in the summer and get-togethers at holiday times. If Turner was dating someone, he often brought him over.

"Madge wanted me to be sure you brought him along next time you come," Fenwick said. "She hasn't met him yet."

Turner said he would. He checked to make sure no calls had come in, then headed for Twenty-sixth and California. Hedidn't get away from the criminal courts building until after twelve-thirty. He'd been third on the stand after two dog experts testifying to whether a dog would eat a human. It would. Back at Area Ten he picked up Fenwick and went out to grab some lunch, over most of which Fenwick grumbled. He was on a new diet. Over the years his bulk had increased significantly. His periodic weight regimes ran from the exotic to the marginally nauseous. This week it was lots of steamed vegetables.

As they walked into the squad room Sergeant Felix Poindexter spotted Turner and hurried over.

"A murder at the University of Chicago," Poindexter said. He pointed at them. "The commander wants you guys on it." If a case had the possibility of being politically sensitive or controversial, the commander liked to put Turner and Fenwick in charge. They had a solid reputation for avoiding the pitfalls of swarming reporters and nervous politicos out for their own skin.

"One of the students?" Fenwick asked.

"Professor," Poindexter drew a deep breath, "and alderman."

He didn't need to say any more.

Everybody in Chicago knew Gideon Giles, university professor, liberal alderman, self-appointed devil's advocate, committed gadfly, and headline grabber.

Turner and Fenwick didn't waste time asking what happened. They'd find out all they needed to know at the scene. Turner took the paper with the address from Poindexter, grabbed his regulation blue notebook, and hurried toward the door.

Fenwick snatched the keys to one of the cars and signed it out. Turner was used to Fenwick's race-car tactics. They roared to the on ramp for the Dan Ryan Expressway at Eighteenth Street. The exits in the local lanes crawled by to Fifty-fifth Street. To avoid the traffic, Fenwick rode the shoulder,even on one occasion streaking into the regular lanes to bypass a state cop giving some guy a ticket. Fenwick eased himself onto the campus on University Avenue and down to Fifty-eighth Street. He parked behind a blue-and-white in the cul de sac in the middle of the university quadrangle.

The first golden leaves of spring softened the stark grayness of the university buildings surrounding the quadrangle. Turner found the campus pleasant and soothing amid the bustle of the city. Mike Sanchez, a beat cop Turner knew, waved to them from the doors of a building just to the southwest of the turn around circle. He met them on the steps and walked up with them to the third floor. As they climbed, they spoke about Fenwick's golf game, the Cubs' chances this season, and Sanchez's possibility of making detective. None looked very promising.

As they ascended, the wooden stairs echoed with their footsteps. He led them down a gray-tiled hallway. Most of the office doors they passed remained closed. From a few openings, people gaped. Turner guessed the ones trying to look above it all were professors and the ones looking uncomfortable, slightly embarrassed, or frankly curious to be secretaries, grad students, and assorted hangers-on.

Another uniformed cop stood outside one of the offices.

"You the first ones here?" Turner asked.

"We didn't touch anything," Sanchez said to the unasked question. Turner had worked with Sanchez before, and knew the statement to be true. Sometimes it seemed that cops screwed up a crime scene more than any criminals. What they drilled into you at the academy over and over was: Don't touch anything. A few of them actually learned the lesson.

"Didn't much matter, though," Sanchez added.

"Why not?" Turner asked.

Sanchez filled them in on the details.

"I got here about thirty minutes ago." He pointed toward six people sitting in chairs farther down the hall. "Most of themhad been in the room, were running around spreading the news, or doing their best to be out of control."

"Scene screwed up."

"Pretty much. The guy who gave the alarm doesn't remember what they touched. Half these people have had training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and probably the Heimlich maneuver. They tried all of them. The body's probably been moved half a dozen times."

Fenwick said, "Dumb academic shits."

Sanchez said, "Somebody managed to call the campus cops. One of them's around here somewhere. He ran to call us and did nothing to preserve the crime scene. At least a dozen people have been in the room since."

Sanchez had secured the scene as much as possible on arrival, but knew little else of the details.

"How do they know it's murder?" Turner asked.

"Could be suicide, I guess, but I've seen enough corpses," Sanchez said. "I don't think he killed himself."

"Natural causes?" Turner asked.

"You can see for yourself," Sanchez said, "But I'm putting my money on murder."

In Chicago, detectives are taught always to treat any unexplained death as if it were homicide, until and unless there is overwhelming evidence that it is a suicide. Making the mistake of calling a murder a suicide was one quick way to get yourself dumped as a detective. If you erred, you erred on the side of caution—the death was a homicide until proven otherwise.

Turner and Fenwick strode into the office. Dark mahogany paneling halfway up the walls matched that in the hallway. A desk barred their way; also a telephone, papers, cup for coffee with the words NO ONE KNOWS I'M A LESBIAN printed in red on it. A three-by-four-foot calendar took up the space on the wall to the right of the desk. Immediately behind the desk, against a back wall, a table neatly filled with stacks of papers, above the table an enormous map of the Fifth Ward, which included theUniversity and stretched along the lake from Fifty-third Street on the North to Seventy-ninth Street on the south with its furthest west boundary irregularly drawn, but never going beyond Cottage Grove. The boundaries included the area for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and large parts of the old South Shore neighborhood, once heavily Jewish, now mostly black.

The Fifth Ward had a long tradition of maverick politics and politicians, often pains in the ass to the old Democratic machine. The most famous graduate of the ward was Paul Douglas, slated by the Democrats for the United States Senate in 1948, his victory was almost as much of a surprise as Truman's. The Democratic machine had run him for Senate because, as an independent, he caused them too much trouble in the City Council.

Gideon Giles came out of the same tradition, only more so. The first University of Chicago professor to be elected to the City Council. He never let pass an opportunity to tweak the noses of regular Democrats. The machine may not have been what it once was, but it knew how to handle political outsiders. They ignored him. Giles could call for investigations, denounce unliberal actions, and decry the evil of the right wing, but not a resolution, proposal, or idea of his ever received more than a handful of votes in the City Council.

Giles participated in everything. If there was a save the whales, antinuclear energy, pro-choice, antidiscrimination, or any kind of march, sit-in, or protest, he was there, somehow managing to worm his way in front of the cameras. Now the media sought him out for the quick interview, the easy quote.

The desk and back table took up seven-eighths of the room. A door to the left led to an inner office.

From the outer office Turner saw the body, clothes ripped, face distorted, laying faceup on the floor, head toward the door.

POLITICAL POISON. Copyright @ 1993 by Mark Richard Zubro. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

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Customer Reviews

Political Poison (Paul Turner Series #2) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters and plot. Would like to see more interaction and scenes with his family and boyfriend