The odd thing about Walter Schoen, German born but now running a butcher shop in Detroit, he's a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and the Gestapo. They even share the same birthday.
Honey Deal, Walter's American wife, doesn't know that Walter is a member of a spy ring that sends U.S. war production data to Germany and gives shelter to escaped German prisoners of war. But she's tired of telling him jokes he doesn't understand—it's time to get a divorce.
Along comes Carl Webster, the hot kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for Jurgen Schrenk, a former Afrika Korps officer who escaped from a POW camp in Oklahoma. Carl's pretty sure Walter's involved with keeping Schrenk hidden, so Carl gets to know Honey, hoping she'll take him to Walter. Carl then meets Vera Mezwa, the nifty Ukrainian head of the spy ring who's better looking than Mata Hari, and her tricky lover Bohdan with the Buster Brown haircut and a sly way of killing.
Honey's a free spirit; she likes the hot kid marshal and doesn't much care that he's married. But all Carl wants is to get Jurgen Schrenk without getting shot. And then there's Otto—the Waffen-SS major who runs away with a nice Jewish girl. It's Elmore Leonard's world—gritty, funny, and full of surprises.
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About the Author
Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.
Hometown:Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:New Orleans, Louisiana
Education:B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950
Read an Excerpt
Up in Honey's Room
Honey phoned her sister-in-law Muriel, still living in Harlan County, Kentucky, to tell her she'd left Walter Schoen, calling him Valter, and was on her way to being Honey Deal again. She said to Muriel, "I honestly thought I could turn him around, but the man still acts like a Nazi. I couldn't budge him."
"You walked out," Muriel said, "just like that?"
"I valked out," Honey said. "I'm free as a bird. You know what else? I won't have to do my roots every two weeks. Dumb me, I spent a whole year wanting him to think I'm a natural blonde."
"He couldn't tell other ways you aren't?"
"Anytime Walter wanted some, he'd turn out the light before taking off his pajamas. He was self-conscious about being skinny, his ribs showing, so it was always pitch-dark when we did it. He said American food, all it did was give him gas. I had to learn to cook German, big heavy dinners, sauerbraten with red cabbage, bratwurst. For the first time in my life I had to watch my weight. Walter didn't gain at all. He still passed gas, only now it was okay, it was German gas. He'd cut one, aiming his finger at me like it's a gun? I'd have to pretend I was shot."
"And fall down?"
"If I was near the sofa. Or stumble around holding where I was shot. The first time, I did it on my own, acting goofy? But then every time he cut one and I heard it, I had to pretend I was shot."
"You and hubby having fun."
"Except he never laughed or even smiled. I'd see him aiming at me . . . " Honey let a moment of silence go by. "Tell me how my brother's doing. Is he working?"
"He's back in jail. Darcy got in a fight he swears he didn't start. Broke his foreman's jaw and it violated his parole. Darcy has to finish the sentence he got for making moonshine and do time for assault. He's working in the kitchen as a butcher making five cents an hour while I'm trying to live on tips." Muriel's voice turned pouty saying, "'What do I have to do, get you boys to have another round?' Here're these hotshots with coal dust in their pores saying things like 'How about showing us your goodies?' I roll my eyes and act cute, it's worth about a buck and a half. But hey, I want to hear about your situation. Walter hit you and it woke you up or what? You were only married to him about a year."
"One year to the day I walked out," Honey said, "November the ninth. I brought him a plate of Limburger and crackers, he won't eat American cheese. Walter's sitting by the radio, the volume turned up. I said, 'You happen to know what anniversary today is?' He's listening to the news, the German Army going through Poland like rhubarb through a tall woman. France is next and England's getting ready. I asked him again, 'Walter, you happen to recall what anniversary falls on November the ninth?' It was like I lit his fuse. He yells at me, 'Blutzeuge, the Nazi Day of Blood, idiot.' He's talking about the day Hitler started his takeover in 1923 that didn't work and he ended up in prison. But that date, the ninth of November, became a Nazi holy day. It's why he picked it for our wedding. 'The Day of Blood.' Only Walter called it 'the Night of Blood' as we're going to bed together for the first time. I let him think I was still a virgin, twenty-five years old. He climbed on top, and it was like a one-minute blitzkrieg start to finish. He never asked if I was okay or checked the sheet, he was through. Anyway, I said to Walter, standing by the radio with his cheese and crackers, 'Dumb me, I thought you'd remember the ninth as our wedding anniversary.' He didn't bother to look up, he waved his hand at me to get away, stop bothering him. I took that as my cue and walked out."
Muriel said, "You didn't hit him over the head with the cheese plate?"
"I thought about it but went upstairs and took twelve hundred dollars, half the money he kept stuck away in the bedroom closet. He didn't think I knew about it."
"Is he on the lookout for you?"
"Why, 'cause he misses me? We had so much fun together?"
She told Muriel, now that she wasn't keeping house for the Kaiser she had an apartment in Highland Park and was back at J.L. Hudson's doing what she called "tit work," fitting brassieres on big foreign women who'd come here to work. "Some of 'em, you have to hold your breath or their B.O.'ll knock you unconscious." She told Muriel she ought to come to Detroit and stay with her, get a real job while Darcy's doing his time. Next, she had to ask about her mom. "How's she doing at the home?"
"I doubt she knows where she is," Muriel said. "I walk in and kiss her, she gives me a blank look. It's pitiful, your mom not being that old." "You sure she isn't faking, playing 'poor me'? Remember I came here I asked her to live with me? She says oh, it's too cold up north. Afraid she'll slip and fall on the ice and break her hip."
"The other night," Muriel said, "they showed an Errol Flynn movie and your mom got excited, she thought Errol Flynn was Darcy." Muriel put on a slow tone of voice and was Honey's mom, wanting to know, "'What's Darcy doing in this movin' pitcher? When'd he grow a mustache?' But anytime Darcy came to visit, her only living son, your mom didn't have a clue who he was. I told Darcy how she got him confused with Errol Flynn, Darcy says, 'Yeah . . . ?' Like, what else is new? He thinks he's a dead ringer for Errol Flynn except for the mustache. You want to bet he isn't growing one this minute, sitting in his prison cell?" She said, "You see a resemblance, Darcy and Errol Flynn?"Up in Honey's Room
A Novel. Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Honey is a peach! What a character. The story is very noir and it is like reading about Bogie and Slim. A must read. I don't want to give the story away, but it occurs after War World II.
Elmore Leonard really whips up a good tale with Up In Honey's Room. You're brought back to the 1940's where there are good and bad guys and no gray. Of course, Mr. Leonard creates his own gray area with a likeable Nazi who used to drive Panzers in Africa killing British. Funny and sexy and all Elmore Leonard. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a movie yet.
I've never written a book review so I'll keep this, my first attempt, brief. I purchased in the form of audio book. I typically listen to a book as I go about my errands, to and from work, etc. This book was so much fun that I looked forward to every trip to the grocery store, post office and so on, just to get back to the dry hilarity of the characters and Arliss Howard's voice! No, this isn't a "deep" book, it's light, funny, offbeat, campy and way too short.
If what draws you to Elmore Leonard is his easy flowing way with characters, you'll love this one. Stay away, though, if you're looking for a tight plot or loads of suspense and action. Most of these characters are audacious to the point of making you laugh out loud, and, while there is risk, danger, and murder, it seems less important than how everyone will work out his relationship with everyone else. I loved it, but I also like his books with more action and thrills.
This was a quick read for me and it flowed well. It's not Leonard's best, but it's darn good. As usual Leonard has his quirky characters and he has asembled some that won't let you down. This book has suspense, action, sex, and great laugh out loud humor. 'The Hot Kid' federal marshall Carl Webster is back and after a Nazi POW esscapee. Along the way he encounters sexy and smart Honey as well as other characters that compliment each other. I have read most of Elmore Leonard's works and he always entertains.
If you've read Leonard before, then you know what to expect: quirky characters, a dialogue-driven story, and one page-turning surprise after another. Honey, briefly married to Walter, a German butcher in Detroit, comes back into his life to help US Marshall Carlos Webster capture two German POW's who escaped from an Oklahoma prison camp. The chase brings them into contact with some of Walter's other pals --- all members of a pro-German spy ring. Of course, the personalities are all in conflict, all a bit bungling, and all out for themselves. An original story, superbly written, with plenty of humor and excitement. A must read!
I think Elmore Leonard is losing his touch. This was one of the worst books I have read in a long time, and that is sad to say because I usually enjoy Leonard's books. Mr. Paradise was just ok, and now Up In Honey's Room was outrightly bad. I felt like I was reading a mess. All the characters were a bunch of idiots. The plot shouldn't even be called a 'plot' because it was so boringly slow and all over the place. The characters' personalities were inconsistent. Honey was the only slightly interesting one. I just felt like this book was all over the place, with little suspense or substance to the storyline. It was very unrealistic too. I am not even sure if I will purchase any more of Leonard's new books after reading this last one. It is really too bad.