Walla Walla Suite: (A Room with No View)

Walla Walla Suite: (A Room with No View)

by Anne Argula

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Overview

Walla Walla Suite: (A Room with No View) by Anne Argula

Quinn, a newly divorced ex-cop, retains custody of her wild hot flashes, her twisted tongue, her fey sense of humor, and her propensity for trouble. Now trying to get a foothold as a P.I. in a new city, Quinn takes what she thinks will be a safe job with Vincent Ainge, to whom she is oddly attracted. Vincent, who has his own demons, is the only mitigation investigator in the Northwest working to save the lives of convicted killers from ending at the gallows in Walla Walla state prison.

When a young secretary named Eileen vanishes, the woman’s boss hires Quinn to track her down. What looks like a missing-person case turns out to be anything but, sucking into its wake Vincent, his demented father, Eileen’s barely legitimate boss, her sexually vulnerable mother, a serial rapist and possible serial killer, and, of course, Quinn herself. Quinn’s improvised investigation takes her to the dangerous dark corners of the human psyche and casts suspicion where she least expects it, which will ignite a burst of violence and a resolution that readers won’t see coming.

“This book will delight anyone who has ever feared that the private detective novel has no new tricks–or voices–up its sleeve.”
–Laura Lippman, author of What the Dead Know

“Anne Argula brings a welcome voice to the noir novel with Quinn, who is earthy, gritty, but above all, a mature woman. We don’t have enough of those.”
–Sara Paretsky, author of Fire Sale

“A terrific, suspenseful tale of murder, driven by interesting and quirky characters, leavened by edgy self-deprecating humor, and resolved by a surprising twist.”
–Joseph Wambaugh, author of Hollywood Station

“A wonderful novel–smart, funny, and remarkably humane.”
–James Crumley, author of The Right Madness

“Anne Argula’s menopausal detective will give mystery fans multiple hot flashes of horror, humor, and surprise.”
–Tom Robbins, author of Villa Incognito

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345498427
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/18/2007
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Picture this. Instead of sprinkling sand in your eyes the Sandman gives you a shot of liquid fire in the ass. Da frick.
Lying there in the raw, middle of the night, sticking to the sheets, my body was self-basting, my skin tingling like a Christmas goose. Not enough? My head was on a countdown to blow up because some Indians on the street below were beating tribal drums and one of them was torturing a tribal chant. Woi Yesus.
I can’t sleep all that well these days, not since losing the company of someone else in the house, that someone else having been my husband, Connors, who finally did what I
long expected he would do: leave me for Esther, his pharmacist’s assistant. I should care.
When you blow Spokane you can blow it off big, like for LA or Miami or New York, or you can leave small, like for Missoula or Seattle. I left small, but that’s mostly because
I wanted to leave fast. Funny, because I had pretty much made up my mind that I would never leave the place.
Not that I ever liked it that much. In fact, I didn’t like it at all, but I had settled in, at least for this lifetime. That was before Connors let his cock run away with his conscience.
So I bitch-slapped the city and took it on the arfy-darfy to the upper left-hand corner of the map. Discovering that my husband was bumping uglies with another woman,
younger and well oiled, catapulted me to the nearest place large enough to lose myself in, Seattle. Never went back,
never going back.
I peeled myself off the bed and moved like a human heat wave to the living room window. On the way I passed by the mirrored wall that still can make me jump, thinking
I’ve seen an intruder. Middle of the night, the light, or lack of it, was in my favor. I couldn’t see the veins in my legs, or notice the jiggling parts. Not that I looked that bad, for a woman my age. I sighed. I was taking me as I was becoming.
And the hot flashes were killing me.
Both the drum and the chant stopped abruptly, but I
was this far so I went to the window anyway. By the time I
reached it I was wide awake, and they started up all over again.
I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor, Pioneer Square. I’d been there for six months,
not all of them good.
The sound of the drum and the chant could have just as easily been coming from inside the room. From inside my head, da frick.
I slid open the window. The night was chilly and damp against my burning face and body, which I was now flashing to Yesler Way. I should care. This time of night, there
Picture this. Instead of sprinkling sand in your eyes the Sandman gives you a shot of liquid fire in the ass. Da frick.
Lying there in the raw, middle of the night, sticking to the sheets, my body was self-basting, my skin tingling like a Christmas goose. Not enough? My head was on a countdown to blow up because some Indians on the street below were beating tribal drums and one of them was torturing a tribal chant. Woi Yesus.
I can’t sleep all that well these days, not since losing the company of someone else in the house, that someone else having been my husband, Connors, who finally did what I
long expected he would do: leave me for Esther, his pharmacist’s assistant. I should care.
When you blow Spokane you can blow it off big, like for LA or Miami or New York, or you can leave small, like for Missoula or Seattle. I left small, but that’s mostly because
I wanted to leave fast. Funny, because I had pretty much made up my mind that I would never leave the place.
Not that I ever liked it that much. In fact, I didn’t like it at all, but I had settled in, at least for this lifetime. That was before Connors let his cock run away with his conscience.
So I bitch-slapped the city and took it on the arfy-darfy to the upper left-hand corner of the map. Discovering that my husband was bumping uglies with another woman,
younger and well oiled, catapulted me to the nearest place large enough to lose myself in, Seattle. Never went back,
never going back.
I peeled myself off the bed and moved like a human heat wave to the living room window. On the way I passed by the mirrored wall that still can make me jump, thinking
I’ve seen an intruder. Middle of the night, the light, or lack of it, was in my favor. I couldn’t see the veins in my legs, or notice the jiggling parts. Not that I looked that bad, for a woman my age. I sighed. I was taking me as I was becoming.
And the hot flashes were killing me.
Both the drum and the chant stopped abruptly, but I
was this far so I went to the window anyway. By the time I
reached it I was wide awake, and they started up all over again.
I was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor, Pioneer Square. I’d been there for six months,
not all of them good.
The sound of the drum and the chant could have just as easily been coming from inside the room. From inside my head, da frick.
I slid open the window. The night was chilly and damp against my burning face and body, which I was now flashing to Yesler Way. I should care. This time of night, there was nobody there anyway besides those three drunken Indians under the pergola, sprawled all over the bench, their legs splayed this way and that way, gathering themselves for another run at their fading memories. Have at it, boys.
Nobody sleeps anymore. It’s a national epidemic.
I’d noticed them before, down there, encamping for the night, unwilling to check into one of the missions, or rejected,
just as likely, and they were never what you’d call quiet, but this was the first time I heard them singing back to their roots.
The fat one was beating on an overturned city garbage can with a stick. The other fat one had a stick, too, and he beat it against an empty Office Depot box. The skinny one was the singer, who was most frustrated because he couldn’t get it right. Empty forties lay scattered at their feet.
“No, that ain’t it,” said the skinny singer. “How the fuck does it go?”
Their voices carried easily in the still night.
They put their heads together and concentrated, their baseball caps turned backward, their foreheads almost touching. They wore sneakers, and jeans, and though it was cold all they had, the fat ones, were hooded sweatshirts;
the singer, a light Windbreaker.
The three beered-up tribals started again, first the ancient drumbeat and then the eerie high-pitched chant that made the hair on the nape of my neck rise up.
Again the singer stumbled. “That ain’t it, goddammit.”
He was hard on himself. Maybe he had moved too far in one direction ever to go back and retrieve something left behind as worthless then, now for some reason damn valuable.
The totem pole loomed behind them on the cobblestones in front of the Pioneer Building, commemorating the settlement that once thrived on that spot, where the ancestors of these three lived off the bounty of the bay and knew how to sing the songs.
The three drunken descendants of those proud and persevering people swatted one another with their caps to remember how the song should be sung. They tried again and this time the singer used his hand to beat the box along with the fat one, to spook out the rhythm that hid from them, to hook back the thing that was lost and floating out there. This time when the singer began to chant, I just knew he had it at last. It filled me with dread and excitement.
They’ve nailed it! They’ve tapped into their own genetic memories! They remember!
Shit they did. It all fell apart again, sunk under its own psychic weight. The singer looked whipped. I could feel his pain and disappointment all the way up on the eighth floor.
He kicked the garbage can and sent it flying. “Fuck! Fuck it all!”
They trudged unsteadily up First Avenue, but one of the drummers staggered back and slung the garbage can over his shoulder. He hurried to catch up with the other two. The singer turned to him and yelled, “Whaddafuck?”
“I’m bringin’ the drum.”
“That ain’t no drum. That’s nothin’ but a fuckin’ garbage can!”
The drum bearer put it down and examined it. The other two kept on plodding up First Avenue. This lagging drummer was slow to leave behind his garbage can, if that’s what it was instead of a drum. For a brief moment there, for a measure, it was a drum, and he was brave. In the end, though, he left it overturned in the middle of the sidewalk.
A solitary figure crossed First Avenue at Marion to avoid the three drunks.

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Walla Walla Suite: (A Room with No View) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
emigre on LibraryThing 8 days ago
Argula's menopausal heroine stands out in a crowded field of gumshoes with her tough exterior hiding a soft heart. When the newly-divorced P.I. stumbles upon a case of a missing office girl, she has to use all her wiles to separate the smoke screens from the real clues. Her complicated relationship with a mitigation investigator, Vincent, adds more drama to a confusing case, especially when the case seems to be solved too easily. Shocking ending.
harstan More than 1 year ago
After her husband Connor dumped her for his younger office assistant, Quinn left Spokane to start over in Seattle. The retired police officer becomes a private investigator though her caseload is slim to none except for what mitigation investigator Vincent Ainge sends her way. In the building where they both work is a poster for a missing eighteen year old woman Eileen Jones who also worked there. Unable to resist and besides needing to cool down from her latest hot flashes, Quinn visits the place where Eileen was working when she vanished, Promotion in Motion. She sees four desks three occupied by young beautiful women. She asks a few questions when the owner Arnie Stimick steps inside and asks who she is. She explains and they chat he hires her to find Eileen. Quinn visits Eileen¿s roommate Darla, but the missing girl¿s boyfriend Guy is there too. Both say Eileen is a great person with no enemies. Quinn next visits Eileen¿s divorced mom Abby, whose ex-husband lives in Hawaii. Abby looks like she has not slept in ages, but offers nothing new as she insists her daughter had no enemies. Quinn learns they have found Eileen¿s corpse. She visits an upset Arnie who retains her to find the killer. Not long afterward police sergeant Beckham announces they caught the killer, Randy Merck who was driving Eileen¿s car. Arnie says Merck must be properly punished so he forms the Friends of Eileen, whose presence will be seen everyday by the jurors while Public Defender Wendy Maron hires Vincent to serve as the mitigation investigator if they lose and Quinn to investigate as needed. --- This is a well-written legal thriller with a fascinating refreshing angle that of the mitigation investigator. His investigation is top rate due to the mighty Quinn struggling to make it as a private investigator. However, it is Vincent Ainge the mitigation expert who steals the show. Anne Argula provides a fresh spin to the sub-genre. --- Harriet Klausner