Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

When the Women Come Out to Dance

When the Women Come Out to Dance

3.6 13
by Elmore Leonard

See All Formats & Editions

In his more than three dozen books, Elmore Leonard has captured the imagination of millions of readers as few writers can. A literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," he has influenced many contemporary writers and is known for both the quality and the accessibility of his writing.


In his more than three dozen books, Elmore Leonard has captured the imagination of millions of readers as few writers can. A literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," he has influenced many contemporary writers and is known for both the quality and the accessibility of his writing.

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.

Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the bestselling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage. In all nine stories -- each unique in their own right -- reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame.

Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times has called Elmore Leonard "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever." Of course, there's much more to his writing than just crime, and there's no better way to show the broad range of this author's talents than with a collection. It offers variety for diehard fans and is a great sampler for readers who've been looking for the best place to start.

In When the Women Come Out to Dance, you'll find terrific crime stories (of course) that offer perspectives from both sides of the law, plus baseball, a western, and more. In all, there are nine stories, some short and some long, some contemporary and some historical, each showcasing this talented author's understanding of human foibles and of the ways they can blur the line between right and wrong. These stories have never been collected before in one volume, and the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," is brand new.

Leonard writes about arson in "Sparks," aging in "Hanging out at the Buena Vista," and baseball in "Chickasaw Charlie Hoke." Conspiracy to murder offers a permanent solution to an unhappy marriage in "When the Women Come Out to Dance." Raylan Givens (from Riding the Rap and Pronto) sees a new side to an old friend in "Fire in the Hole," while federal marshal Karen Sisco (from Leonard's bestselling novel Out of Sight) mixes business with pleasure in "Karen Makes Out." The past offers a backdrop in "Hurrah for Capt. Early" and "The Tonto Woman," and life, death, and the movie business get a workout in "Tenkiller."

Whether writing humorously or poignantly, in action-packed episodes or laid-back descriptions, Leonard's remarkable talent rings true in every detail of this excellent collection. Sue Stone

Library Journal
Never mind the official pub date; there's a one-day laydown on November 19. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rummaging through Leonard's attic via these nine stories revives some fond memories and turns up a couple of forgotten treasures. Though half the volume is devoted to two novellas, the shorter pieces are the best, their characters racing against time-literally so in "Hanging Out at the Buena Vista," a tour de force that demonstrates why mating rituals among the elderly are so abbreviated-to dive into the sparring matches they live for. The title story, which pairs a woman who wishes her husband would die with another whose husband already has, offers a model of Leonard's slanting dialogue, with every sentence charged with overtones that send their relationship hurtling toward a final twist. "The Tonto Woman" recounts a rustler's determined courtship of a landowner's untouchable wife, and the equally erotically charged "Sparks" pits an insurance investigator against the only dweller in the Arroyo Verde to lose her house to a recent fire. Readers who want to see the prototype for Karen Sisco's Out of Sight (1996) or savor a quasi-postlude to the Spanish-American War yarn Cuba Libre (1998) or find out how Chickasaw Charlie Hoke got his job as Billy Darwin's celebrity host in Tishomingo Blues (2002) will all be satisfied. And the two longer entries-"Fire in the Hole," which follows former buddies respectively into the white supremacist movement and the US Marshals Service, and "Tenkiller," a second-chance romance for a rodeo rider turned Hollywood stunt man who's picked up considerable baggage along the way-are as generously plotted as most novels, even if they do sometimes get tangled in their spurs. Fresh evidence why it's a mistake to pigeonhole Leonard as a writer of westerns or crimenovels. Like his mentor, John D. McDonald, the man's interested in everybody who relishes a good fight, whether it's with sharp-tongued words or shotguns.
“If Leonard were a new kid instead of a past master, this fiction collection would make his name.”
USA Today
“Elmore Leonard’s 39th book ...finds one of America’s most accomplished novelists presenting his most accomplished female characters in years.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
457 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


They sat close to each other on the sofa, Canavan aware of Mrs. Harris' scent and her dark hair, parted to one side, she would hold away from her face to look at the map spread open on the coffee table.

Canavan was showing her the areas destroyed by fire, explaining how the hot Santa Ana wind swept the flames through these canyons and on down toward the Pacific Coast Highway. Close to four thousand acres destroyed but only nine homes this time, including Mrs. Harris' Mediterranean villa, here, at the top of Arroyo Verde. Nothing like five years ago when over two hundred homes were lost. He showed her photographs, too, fires raging against the night sky.

Robin Harris said, "Yeah ... ?" looking at the photos but not showing any real interest.

Canavan kept glancing at her, Robin a slim turn-on in a trendy kind of way: pale skin and heavy eyeliner, silver rings, designer-ripped jeans, barefoot, a black sleeveless top that showed the chain, tattooed blue steel, around her upper left arm, the one close to Canavan.

The profile he had in his case file described her as the former Robin Marino: sang with a rock band that played L.A. clubs, produced one album, gave it up five years ago to marry Sid Harris: the legendary Sid Harris, lawyer to platinum-selling recording artists. Now a widow at thirty-seven, Robin was estimated to be worth around ten million. She had lost Sid to a coronary thrombosis, at home, only three months ago, Sid sixty-three when he died. And had lost the house in the Malibu hills three weeks ago, close to a million dollars' worth of furniture and contents destroyed. But she had bought theWilshire apartment, where she was living now, right after Sid's death. Why? It was on Canavan's checklist, one of the things he'd ask her about.

She said, "What's the point?" Meaning the map and the pictures. "I saw the fire, Joe. I was there."

Arriving, he had introduced himself and handed Robin his business card that said Joseph Canavan Associates, Insurance Investigations. She had looked at it and said, "Are you a Joe or a Joseph?" He told her either, but usually Joe. She said, "Well, come in and sit down, Joe, anywhere you like," picking up on his name in a way that sounded natural and gave him a glimpse of her personality. She looked at his business card again and said, "You're not with the insurance company, like the ones before." He told her they called him in when they red-flagged a claim, had questions about it. All it meant, certain conditions existed the company felt should be investigated. Canavan said they wanted to know in their hearts the fire was either accidental or providential before paying the claim. Robin said, "Well, I can tell you the same thing I told the fire department, sheriff's deputies, the state fire marshal's office, the California Forestry Department and a guy from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The fire marshal's guy brought a dog that sniffed around. He said when the dog was working it ate seventy Kibbles a day. What would you like to know?"

This was when Canavan first arrived.

Now he turned from the map to look at Robin sitting back in the sofa. She resembled a girl in the movies he liked a lot, Linda ... very sexy, had an Italian name. He said, "I wanted to show you the path of the main fire, where it came down west of your place, on the other side of the ridge."

"So how did my house catch fire," Robin said. "Is that the question? How about sparks, Joe? The wind blows sparks over the ridge from the brush fires in Boca Chica and they land by my house. You buy that? Or a rabbit or a coyote caught fire and ran like hell right through my yard. They said on the news, look out for animals that catch fire and spread it around. Otherwise, I have no idea. Joe, I watched my house go up in flames. I might've stayed till it burned down, I don't know, maybe not. A deputy came up the road and made me leave."

Linda Fiorentino.

That was who Robin looked like, in that movie -- he couldn't remember the name of it -- where she goes in a bar called Ray's, remembering that because of the sign, the Y in ray's shaped like a martini glass. Linda goes in and asks for a Manhattan. The bartender ignores her and she asks him who you have to blow to get a drink around here. Those weren't the exact words, but that was the idea. Robin had that same effortless way about her, confident, with the New York sound like Linda's, a cool chick, tough. Watch your step with her.

"So you weren't living in the house at the time."

"I was here. I happen to see it on TV -- fire trucks, people loading their cars, coming out of the house with their insurance policies, running around looking for pets. One guy had all their good china in a basket and was lowering it into the swimming pool. I thought, I better get up there, quick."

"Load your car," Canavan said, "with anything of value, uh? But I understand the house was already on fire. I think that's in the statement you made."

"By the time I got there, yeah." Linda waved her hand in the air. "The back of the house, by a brush thicket. Sid was supposed to have it cut back, but never got around to it. The sky by that time was thick with smoke."

"See, what the company wonders about, why your house was the only one on Arroyo that caught fire."

"I guess 'cause there aren't any close by. I'm at the very top of the road. Have you been up there?"

When the Women Come Out to Dance. Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet 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.

Brief Biography

Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:
October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, Louisiana
B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

When the Women Come Out to Dance 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elmore Leonard has a knack for vivid characters and punchy dialogue, and his short stories are no exception. Every story draws you into its world, albeit briefly. Unfortunately, these feel like fragments of a larger whole, and don't really stand on their own as short stories (with a couple notable exceptions, including the Karen Sisco story, 'Karen Makes Out'). The short story format, if anything, works counter-productive to the subtle pacing of Leonard's novels and it's clear that the transition doesn't come naturally to him. Fans will enjoy this hodge-podge collection, but this isn't the best place to start for readers new to Leonard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elmore's writing is decades ahead of its time. Reading him is like listening to music; there are rhythms and currents, the whole greater than the parts. Nothing like it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Dec. 4's episode of Charlie Rose, Elmore Leonard equated style to sound. Style, he said, lives in the sound of the language. Rhythm, pulse, beat. This author is pure music.
stevelinc More than 1 year ago
Bought it for Raylan, but so enjoyed them all. Mr. Leonard is awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago