This case couldn't have been more up Shell Scott's alley. Twelve naked, luscious beauties, one for each month of the year, were Scott's next assignment. They were called the "Wow" pinup girls and, man, were they wow! Scott's mission: find four freckles. Four freckles located on one of these tomatoes' tushies. That was the only clue Scott had to help him solve this murder. But not to worry, it's the perfect mixture of business and pleasure for Shell Scott, P.I.
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June 01, 2002
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Excerpt from Dance with the Dead by Richard S. Prather
We were having dinner in a banyan tree.
Neither of us had ever eaten in a tree before.
More accurately, we hadn't had dinner at all yet. But our white-turbaned, dark-skinned waiter had just preceded us in near-darkness up the wooden steps leading to the tree house, carrying a huge silver tray laden with roast squab stuffed with wild quail eggs, mangoes and broiled bananas, liqueurs and champagne.
Now he turned on a soft light, placed the tray on a low table before the narrow Persian couch covered voluptuously with soft and colorful pillows, waited while Loana and I sank into the pillows, and said, grinning as if he were going to drink it himself, "Shall I open the champagne?"
"Yes, indeed!" I said. "Open away."
As he lifted the bottle from its silver ice bucket I looked at Loana, close on my left. It had to be close. The tree house was only about eight feet long and four feet wide, but with all the comforts you seldom find at home--such as Loana.
Gorgeously Polynesian Loana Kaleoha.
With volcanic eyes and breasts.
With lips as hot and red as the devil's derriere.
With eye-wrecking curves that must have been shaped by a blowtorch.
Happily with me: Shell Scott.
We were in Don the Beachcomber's Tree House in the Banyan, in the heart of the International Market Place at Waikiki. I was a bit dizzy, and Loana was part of the reason. But before coming outside and climbing up into the Banyan Tree we had sat at Don the Beachcomber's Dagger Bar down below and nearby. We'd had Puka Pukas and Nui Nuis and a Cobra's Fang or two. Then we'd moved to our table in the adjacent Bora Bora Lounge and consumed a Zombie and Skull-and-Bones while I'd cooked the pupu--tender chunks of marinated sirloin speared on bamboo skewers and broiled over glowing charcoal in a miniature hibachi on our table.
All those drinks were more than a little loaded with rum, so we, too, were now more than a little loaded with rum.
"Loana, my sizzling Oahu tomato," I said, "shall we let the food cool while we have a glug of Mumm's?"
She smiled, white teeth flashing, devil-red lips parting hotly. "Why not?" Long, darkly curving lashes veiled her black eyes. "It's either that or we let the champagne get warm."
"What an unthinkable thought. Cold squab, yes. But who ever heard of hot champagne?"
There was the satisfying thoop of the cork leaving the bottle's mouth, then the liquid gurgle as our waiter poured two glasses brimful of the bubbling wine. He put the bottle back into the ice next to another quart of the bubbly, stepped to a small record player on my right.
In a moment soft music washed over us, strings singing in the night, the sound of surf breaking on sands, crystal voices singing Polynesian songs that were old when Hawaii was young.
I grinned at Loana, so relaxed my veins seemed to be collapsing, and said, "Here we sit, high over the world."
"Honey, let's live here. Far from the madding madness."
"Far?" She laughed softly. "With a thousand people walking around down there?"
"Far enough. They can't see us."