Up in Honey's Room
A NovelBook - 2007 | 1st ed.
Secretly passing intelligence through a spy ring while running a butcher shop in Detroit, German-born Walter Schoen becomes estranged from his long-suffering wife and is targeted by Marshals serviceman Carl Webster, who believes Schoen is hiding an escaped prisoner of war. 200,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer
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.
Secretly passing intelligence through a spy ring while running a butcher shop in Detroit, German-born Walter Schoen becomes estranged from his wife and is targeted by Marshals serviceman Carl Webster, who believes Schoen is hiding an escaped prisoner of war.
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“So there are good ways to die,” Walter said, “and far less desirable ways. Die as a hero or suffocate in a hospital bed.”
... my dad told me what it was like over there. He was gassed on the Western Front when it wasn’t all quiet... Walter said, “Did you know another twenty million died the year following the war?” “From the Spanish flu,” Honey said.
He climbed on top, and it was like a one-minute blitzkrieg start to finish.
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.
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.
... the guy comes home, walks into the kitchen with a sheep in his arms. His wife turns from the sink and he says, ‘This is the pig I’ve been sleeping with when I’m not with you.’ His wife says, ‘You dummy, that’s not a pig, it’s a sheep.’ And the guy says, ‘I wasn’t speaking to you.’”
“Who’s Count Basil?” “He meant Count Basie. Joe doesn’t know the ‘One O’Clock Jump’ from ‘Turkey in the Straw.’”
“Well, he hasn’t called. What’s he doing up here, working in a plant?” “How would I know,” Muriel said, “I’m only his wife.”
Honey with a twinge of guilt standing by the casket, the daughter who’d left home for the big city to live her own life, meet all kinds of people instead of coal miners and guys who cooked moonshine.
We’re Christians, the Jews are a cross we must bear. They’re pushy, insolent, think they’re smart, they double-park in front of their delicatessens on Twelfth Street—also on Linwood—and what do we do? Nothing. We make fun of them. Someone says, But they do make the movies we go to see.
The Battle of the Bulge was Germany’s last full-out assault. They pushed off the sixteenth of December with a thousand tanks and by the twentieth of January they had a hundred thousand casualties and lost eight hundred of the tanks. We lost a lot of good soldiers, but we pushed the Krauts back to where they’d started, pretty much done. It was their last assault but, boy, it cost us.
It was a morning in late October 1944, America at war nearly three years. In the Philippines again since yesterday.
To Have and Have Not on a sixteen-millimeter projector. It’s the picture Lauren says to Humphrey Bogart, ‘You know how to whistle, Steve?’ If he wants her for anything. ‘You put your lips together and blow.’
How the United States produced 25 million pounds of meat a year, the armed forces and their allies, England and Russia, getting eight million pounds of it, leaving 17 million pounds for the 121 million meat eaters in America, and it amounted to two and a half pounds a week for each meat eater, counting a child and a person who was ill as half a meat eater. ... The government won’t reveal that German U-boats caused the meat shortage, it’s a military secret. It becomes a mystery to the meat eaters. They cry and complain ‘Why is there no meat for us? Why are we giving our meat to the Russians?’”
“This is what you do, you fence stolen goods?” “I find art collectors who look at my catalog and get a hard-on. I sell paintings that hung in the Louvre to people living in New York and Palm Beach, at a discount. I still make a pile of money and the collectors give me a big hug.”
“The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” Otto said, “Der kaukasische Kreidekreis,” mumbling the words. “What is it about?” “I have no idea. It’s sort of based on a Chinese play five or six hundred years old, The Chalk Circle.”
“Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die with Brian Donlevy. It’s about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s alter ego.
“The Prisoner, by Ernst Lothar.” She turned the book over to read from the back cover, “‘From the Normandy beachhead to an American prison camp in Colorado, the story of the unmaking of a Nazi.’
Josef Stalin, that pockmarked midget. Do you know how tall he is? The Russians say five foot six. Oh, really? He wears lifts in his shoes or he’d be no taller than a five-foot pile of horseshit. It’s the reason he’s killed ten million of his own people. His mother sent him to a seminary to become a priest, but God rejected him.
Those old guys and their six-inch blades they kept sharpenin’, they could take the coat off a cow, Jesus, like it was buttoned on.
“So you don’t care you’re breaking the law.” Darcy looked surprised. “It’s what I do. How I make my livin’. I round up cows in the dark of night. It don’t have nothin’ to do with the government, my gettin’ back at ’em for puttin’ me in jail. Man, I’m an outlaw..."
“I walk in a bar, they hear my spurs jingle jangle jingle they know who I am.” Darcy grinned, three or four days’ growth on his face. “My boots are about worn through, but I never once had these can openers off ’em.”
Honey being what you’d call a free spirit, with bedroom eyes and that lower lip waiting there for him to bite, the girl acting like there was nothing wrong with free love.
Social Justice, written by a priest she’d heard on the radio, Father Charles Coughlin, with a voice like syrup, but talked about a conspiracy of Jews being international bankers or atheistic Communists, either way out to get us.
I see a story about Henry Ford and learn he’s critical of Jews. He warns of the international Jewish conspiracy, which I take to mean communism, what else. We know he’s opinionated. Henry Ford believes sugar on grapefruit causes arthritis. But in his factory he’s a genius. Why is he so against Jews, as a race? I think he resents Jews because they tend to be smart.
It’s the look Joan Fontaine gives Cary Grant in Suspicion when she realizes he loves her.
“You know the word hoosgow?” “It’s the jail in a Gene Autry movie.” “Yes, what cowboys call it, from the Spanish word juzgado, meaning a court of law. You know hoosgow, uh?”
“Did you ever read Mein Kampf?” “I’ve never felt it necessary.”
“I love it when you’re a prude. You can’t say the word but go wild doing it.”
Carl paused to let Honey wait for what he’d say next, but she beat him to it.
I tell them my husband’s shot more people who wanted to kill him than any of you, without even leaving Oklahoma.
Henry Ford was a pacifist while America was neutral,” Vera said. “He refused to build aircraft engines for England. Two years later he’s producing an entire four-engine bomber, a Liberator, every hour of the working day. It’s what they’re doing at Willow Run, putting together more than one hundred thousand different parts to make a bomber. To make a Ford sedan took only fifteen thousand parts.
Heini has said people may hate us, but we don’t ask for their love, only that they fear us. He tells his SS, we must discuss the plan for extermination, but never speak of it in public. He said they can look at a thousand corpses in one place, mounds of dead bodies the result of their work, and know they remain good fellows. Heini is responsible for the murder of Jews, Romas, priests, homosexuals, Communists, ordinary people, in numbers estimated to exceed, easily, ten million.”
Vera had to pause and think before telling them the indictment against the thirty defendants last year for sedition ended with prison terms. We are told we have a right to free speech, but when we stand up for the truth, say that Communists control the American government, that Franklin Roosevelt, the cripple, gets down to kiss the ass of the midget Josef Stalin, we are imprisoned.
This lovely boy from Odessa who killed with ease having seen hundreds and hundreds of people gassed, shot against walls, shot with pistols against their heads, hung from streetlights, locked in rooms and burned alive, all of it a part of Bo’s coming-of-age.
Detroit River, a popular grave for hundreds of souls during Prohibition, bootleggers bringing whiskey across from Canada, getting waylaid by the murderous Purple Gang if the police didn’t stop them. It was a rough town, used to violence. Two years ago, 1943, a Negro sailor was thrown in the river from the Belle Isle bridge and it started a race riot that went on for days, property destroyed, cars turned over, troops called in…
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