“She might try it a second time.”Secon paragraph of third chapter of The Topless Tulip Caper:
“She might, but there were too many other things she liked better. And if she did try it again, it wouldn’t be with a needle. She’s terrified of needles. Some nurse had to give her an injection once and botched it, kept stabbing around trying to find the vein, and she still has nightmares about it. Still had nightmares about it. Oh, shit.”
I’m taking matters into my own hands and leaving out some items that never did seem to have any more bearing on the case than the fascinating fact about dry edible beans. That still leaves plenty of bits and pieces to report from Haig’s questioning of Tulip.Two rather slight mystery stories set in contemporary (ie mid-70s) New York. The narrator, Chip Harrison, is apparently based on the unpleasant Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye, but has grown up a little bit and is working as assistant to Leo Haig, a New York detective explicitly based on Nero Wolfe but with comic differences. I had read The Topless Tulip Caper many years ago, and hunted it and its prequel down out of morbid curiosity (The Topless Tulip Caper has a memorably unerotic blowjob scene).
Both books begin with a young naked woman being poisoned to death, and end with Haig exposing the murderer in his study in front of all the other suspects and two reluctantly impressed policemen. In between both have a rambling plot involving several more murders, and plenty of sex for the narrator. There is a struggle towards social commentary which doesn’t quite get anywhere. It’s pretty mindless stuff which I might have found funnier if I had ever actually read a Nero Wolfe book. You can get Make Out With Murder here and The Topless Tulip Caper here.