Spoiler Synopsis: The Dame

Warning: I’m not messing around when I use “spoiler” as the modifier for “synopsis.”  This synopsis contains damn near every detail about every plot turn and every element you were hoping would surprise you when you thought about reading the book in the first place.

It’s a free country.  Read on if you want.

Personal note: I hate writing these things.  If you would like to contribute one for a book that I haven’t yet written up, by all means, contact me.

If you find any errors in this, please contact me. No error too small!

Now that the ground rules are established and all of that’s out of the way, let’s get on with…

The Dame

dame_frenchThe book opens with Grofield arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico, picking up a car under the name “Wilcox.” The desk clerk hands Grofield an envelope with a sheet of directions on it.

Two days before, Grofield had been in Matamoros, Mexico with Elly from The Damsel, following the events of that novel. A note arrives from General Pozos, whose life Grofield had saved in that book, reading “You can perhaps help an acquaintance of mine. There will be profit in it.” The note was accompanied by a plane ticket to Puerto Rico as well as instructions to present himself as Wilcox to pick up a car.

Grofield sends Elly back to his wife with his robbery proceeds from The Handle, and heads out. After picking up his rental car, a Ford, he follows the directions to a villa, where he is greeted by two natives, one with a shotgun and one with a German shepherd.

A woman calls from the house that everything is fine, and Grofield goes in to meet her. This is Belle Danamato, around forty and still beautiful. Her and Grofield go out to her courtyard to talk about why he is in Puerto Rico. Grofield instantly takes a disliking to Belle, and leaves in his rental car without finding out why he was sent for in the first place.

Grofield reaches an intersection, and suddenly a man with a Colt .45 jumps into his car. The man directs him to a wooden shack in the jungle, where he takes Grofield’s car and abandons him. As Grofield ponders what to do, a black Mercedes shows up and three men get out, one with a gun.

The men interview Grofield as to why his is Puerto Rico visiting Belle Danamato, questions Grofield can’t answer. After a frustrating interview, they give him instructions to leave Puerto Rico and abandon him.
Grofield works his way back to Belle Danamato’s house, hoping to at the very least get a ride back to San Juan. He enters the house and is quickly discovered by a man with a gun and a broken nose, who escorts him to a dining room where Belle Danamato is sitting with several guests. Grofield asks Belle to have the man put his gun away. When Belle responds, “Why should I?”, Grofield quickly (and painfully) relieves the man of his gun and points it at her.

Belle apologizes for the treatment Grofield received after leaving her place earlier. A man at the table, George Milford, takes Grofield aside and asks for detail on what had happened to Grofield after he had left earlier and notifies him that Belle’s husband is a mobster, B. G. Danamato. Belle is in the process of getting a divorce, and believes her life may be in jeopardy. She wants Grofield to serve as a bodyguard who can accompany her as an escort on public occasions, a job Harry, the man Grofield had just disarmed, was ill-suited for due to his appearance and mannerisms. Belle walks in, and Grofield informs her that he will not take the job because he does not like her. Nonetheless, he invites himself to dinner.

At dinner, he is introduced to the others at the table. They are:

  • Harry, Belle’s bodyguard
  • George Milford, her lawyer
  • Eva Milford, his wife
  • Onum Marba, a politician from the developing African country of Undurwa
  • Patricia Chelm, a beautiful but uptight young lady
  • Roy Chelm, her brother

As it’s too late to catch a flight, Grofield agrees to stay overnight. After retiring for the evening, the guests are woken by a scream. Grofield rushes out to the hallway with the other guests, where it is quickly discovered that Belle Danamato has been murdered. Harry pulls a gun on Grofield, who is immediately suspected of murdering Belle at the behest of B. G. Danamato. Harry announces that Grofield murdered Belle but Danamato did not ask for it, which he knows because he works for Danamato. Grofield is locked up.

The next morning, Grofield is taken to meet Danamato, who has arrived. Danamato informs Grofield that he will soon be killed. Grofield proclaims that he is being framed by Danamato to take the fall for Harry, who killed Belle on Danamato’s orders. Danamato proclaims that he loved his wife despite their troubles, and did not issue orders to kill her. Grofield introduces enough doubts into Danamato’s mind that Danamato decides to let Grofield live a little longer in order to get to the bottom of the situation.

One by one, the other guests are brought in to speak with Danamato and Grofield. First is Marba, who turns out to have been the one who contacted General Pozos, who he knew from the United Nations, seeking someone to work for Belle. He was there because he was trying to get Belle to invest in casinos in his country.

Next is Roy Chelm…

Sorry! Life got busy and next I knew it was months later! This will have to wait until I reread it.

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