Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii
1st edition 2006 paperback cover
|Series||Monk mystery novel series|
|July 5, 2006|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|LC Class||CPB Box no. 2468 vol. 16|
|Preceded by||Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse|
|Followed by||Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu|
Natalie Teeger is overworked from working for Adrian Monk, and desperately seeks a vacation. So she is naturally delighted when her best friend Candace (no last name given) invites her on a comped trip to Kauai in Hawaii to be the maid of honor at her wedding to a guy named Brian Galloway. The only question is how to tell Monk about the upcoming trip. She decides to drop the bomb at the last second, when Monk is on his usual high after solving a murder case – a well-known heart surgeon who was poisoned by his own patient while she was on the operating table – and tells him she's leaving the next day. He is devastated, and she quickly pushes him off to his normal appointment with Dr. Kroger.
The next day, Natalie drives to the airport and boards her flight to Lihue, Hawaii via Honolulu. Unfortunately for Natalie, her peace of mind lasts all of one hour when she wakes up shortly after takeoff and is shocked to see Monk sitting across the aisle from her. Only now, he is "The Monk" – the infinitely-better-adjusted, but insufferably obnoxious persona brought on by Dioxnyl, an OCD-control drug that Dr. Kroger assumed Monk had thrown out after the embarrassment he caused the SFPD the previous time that he tried it. Natalie calls Dr. Kroger during their layover in Honolulu. Ultimately, she determines that she has no choice but to suck it up and accept Monk along, though she has a sneaking suspicion that Dr. Kroger put Monk on the drug and told him to get on the flight with Natalie so that he himself could avoid being bothered over the week.
Upon arrival in Lihue, Monk and Natalie meet Candace and her fiancé Brian Galloway. Candace naturally assumes at first that Monk is Natalie's steady boyfriend. Brian is full of adventure stories, many of which are repeated by his adoring betrothed. Nonetheless, Candace drives them to the Grand Kiahuna Poipu resort in Poipu. Natalie is a little unsettled to learn that the couple already have pet names for each other.
When they get to the hotel, Monk and Natalie check in. Natalie carefully arranges their room placement, anticipating the next morning, when the drugs will wear off. While they explore the grounds afterwards, they stumble upon renowned TV psychic Dylan Swift doing a live taping of his show Whispers from the Other Side. Monk is still drugged, but he believes that Swift is a hack after watching him seemingly deliver a message from an audience member's late sibling.
The next morning, the drugs wear off and Monk is horror-struck at how he's spent the last twenty-four hours. But Natalie is firm about him behaving himself while they are on vacation.
At the wedding ceremony, Monk, to everyone's shock and embarrassment, speaks up and exposes Brian for several lies he has told – the whopper of which is, that he's already married to a woman in New Jersey, and has been planning to travel back and forth between his two families. Furious and mortified, Candace slaps Brian and storms out of the wedding. Natalie is somewhat mad at Monk for humiliating her friend, but she is also grateful that he saved her from a bigamist marriage. With the wedding canceled, Monk is eager to go home, but Natalie says their booking is for a week, and she plans to enjoy it.
As Monk and Natalie are walking along the beach, they stumble upon an active police investigation at one of the resort's bungalows, which naturally piques Monk's interest. Peeking through the hedges, they see the dead body of an elderly woman floating in a hot tub. While they are spying, they are approached by a local Kauai police lieutenant, Ben Kealoha. After exchanging greetings with them, he tells them that the victim, a woman named Helen Gruber, was sitting in her hot tub underneath a palm tree when a coconut fell from the tree and struck her on the head, knocking her out, after which she drowned. But Monk immediately senses that something is wrong and declares it to be murder. Natalie is dismayed that Monk can't avoid death even away from home.
Monk and Natalie examine the crime scene for themselves. Monk quickly notices that Gruber was married, as she was wearing a ring. He also observes several clues that suggest murder: for one, the death coconut did not come from the palm tree shading the hot tub, but from the ground adjacent to a tree in the side yard. Additionally, he notices that Gruber was actually killed in the bungalow itself, not in the hot tub: for one, she is not wearing any suntan lotion. Also, there's a large print edition book on a chaise longue adjacent to the hot tub that indicates Gruber needed reading glasses, but there are none near the body. Lastly, a slight bruise below the victim's collarbone shows that she was killed in the kitchen as the bruise matches up with the counters.
While the crime scene is being secured, Kealoha takes Monk and Natalie out to a small roadside grill for lunch. Monk is disgusted by the presence of geckos all over the restaurant, and quickly deduces that Kealoha is suspecting him of being the killer. However, a call to Captain Stottlemeyer clears up any confusion they have left. Afterwards, the three go to question Lance Vaughan, Helen's husband who is thirty years her junior. He seems like the obvious suspect in his elderly wife's death, but he admits that he was on a snorkeling trip at the approximate time Helen was killed (pinpointed by the M.E. to be between 8:00 and 11:00 AM).
When Monk and Natalie do manage to get back to their rooms, Monk gets into a small argument with one of the hotel service employees about how his minibar is stocked. In the midst of his argument, he learns something interesting: Helen had been complaining to the front desk a few days before the murder about hearing voices out at the bungalow. Natalie changes into her swimwear and goes out for a short swim. Afterwards, while getting a drink at the beachside bar, she is approached by Dylan Swift. Natalie is angered when Swift decides to use his standard medium pickup to bring up things about the murder, and then claims to have a message from Natalie's late husband Mitch. Swift gives a message from Helen Gruber to Natalie, who in turn agrees to relay the message to Monk, although after the conversation is over, she suspects that Swift is merely an attention-seeking fraud seeking to get publicity from the murder.
When Monk and Natalie see Lance Vaughan again, they confront him about not telling them that Helen was hearing voices. He admits that he didn't want Helen to be remembered for slipping into dementia. They are then summoned by Kealoha down to his police station. While they are leaving, they find that someone has just vandalized Brian Galloway's car, apparently his comeuppance for lying about not being married. After picking up a rental car at the airport, they arrive at the station. Kealoha shows them video footage from the snorkeling trip Lance was on. They catch him ogling another woman on the boat, whom they suspect him of having an affair with. Monk also notices some files on a number of local burglaries, much to Natalie's chagrin, and notices that all of the burglaries happened at specific times of the day depending on the neighborhood, and asks Kealoha to join them for a game of golf at a local golf course the next morning.
Natalie is upset that Monk has decided to offer to solve the burglary cases in addition to the murder. She confronts him about this over dinner, but Monk doesn't appear to mind. However, as they are getting up to leave, they the mystery woman from the video. Natalie's curiosity is piqued, and under the pretense of taking an evening drive, she decides to see if Swift's messages are accurate. Monk and Natalie follow the mystery woman to another bungalow, where they find that indeed, this woman has been seeing Lance. A break comes the next morning when they identify her as a woman named Roxanne Shaw, who is from Ohio, just like Lance.
When Monk and Natalie return to their hotel room, Natalie decides to tell Monk about her meeting with Swift. She admits that she figured out the connection between Lance and the mystery woman based on what Swift told her. Monk suggests that Swift didn't pull that information out of thin air, but learned it by spying on them. He proceeds to explain to Natalie how Swift carries out his shows: he uses cold reading, where he tricks a person into giving him the information he needs to make it seem like he's getting his information from the afterlife. He makes basic deductions in order to make guesses about people, and also uses unique phrasing to reduce the amount of necessary wiggle room. Monk explains that this is just what Swift was doing on Natalie at the bar, although the con works better with a lot of people. Case in point, Monk utilizes the show they witnessed the day of their arrival: Swift had said he was sensing the letter "G" and a man named Gary got up and asked if the message was for him, and in turn, Swift then said that the message he was receiving came from a recently deceased member of his family, and said that her name had an "M" or an "E", or both letters in the same name, and he said the message was from Gary's sister Margaret.
As for Natalie, Monk explains that what Swift did to her was use claims that he had messages from Mitch in order to win her sympathy and make her easier to prey on. Natalie breaks down crying as she recalls what Swift told her - he recognized the bikini she was wearing at the bar as one Mitch bought her, despite the fact that he never met the man once, meaning there should be no way Swift could know that Mitch had purchased said bikini for Natalie during a vacation in Mexico. Monk determines that Swift, as the professional conman he is, did research to determine the approximate age of the bathing suit and made a lucky guess.
The next morning, Monk, Natalie and Kealoha go to the local golf course to stake out the burglar. Monk immediately exposes a mailman making deliveries to a nearby residential neighborhood as one of the burglars. While they are on the course, Kealoha mentions that Helen Gruber is Lance's third elderly wife. He marries elderly women and inherits their money when they die, and the last two died of natural causes.
Returning to the hotel after a late lunch, Monk notices Brian Galloway's vandalized rental car has been returned, repaired, and now in someone else's possession. But he's curious why the body shop replaced the seats in the car as well. Before he can dwell on that, they are approached by hotel manager Martin Kamakele, who seeks to resolve a conflict caused by Monk asking the cleaning ladies to fold bath towels on his floor instead of roll them, making them fall behind schedule. He resolves the situation by moving Monk and Natalie to Helen Gruber's bungalow. In questioning Kamakele, Monk learns more about Helen's complaints about hearing voices, and also learns that Dylan Swift has been taping some of his shows at the resort for the past few years after Kamakele purchased the resort and oversaw a renovation that included the addition of a production facility.
Monk and Natalie move into the bungalow that afternoon. No sooner have they moved in that Dylan Swift shows up to try playing more mind games on them. Knowing that Swift is just a con artist who exploits peoples' vulnerabilities for money, Monk is naturally hostile to him. He is also very suspicious about the fact that Swift has taken an interest in Helen's murder and the fact that he seems to know about details the police haven't released to the public. Things boil over though when Swift's attempts to manipulate Monk fail and he turns to trying to manipulate Natalie's emotions by bringing up details about Mitch again, details that, like before, he could not have easily had access to. Monk is angered to see Swift trying to use Natalie as a tool, and swiftly ejects him from the bungalow. In spite of the ordeal, over a game of sorting peanut shells, Natalie asks Monk about Trudy's death to see if Swift's advice might give him closure. Monk dismisses it, given he knows Swift's con game.
A later conversation that evening with Lance Vaughan and Roxanne Shaw seems to convince Monk that they may have been behind Helen's death. Things get worse for Monk and Natalie when, the night they move into the bungalow, their car is stolen from outside in the lot. They file a police report and get a new rental car from a different agency. After a brief sightseeing excursion, they take lunch at a saimin joint. Monk convinces Natalie to purchase a distinctive type of pie as they depart, and he suddenly realizes something else: some of the shelves in the bungalow's fridge had been put in upside down, and one of Swift's "messages" included a mention about pie. He comes to the conclusion that the killer may have stuffed Helen's body in the fridge and kept it stored overnight before dumping the body in the pool. This is enough damning evidence for the police to arrest Lance for the murder.
With the murder investigation apparently solved, Natalie prepares to enjoy some more sightseeing, but Monk still has his eyes fixed on nailing Swift and sending him to prison. Natalie pleads for Monk to leave Swift alone, and Monk reluctantly agrees.
The next day, the duo heads up to Waimea Canyon for pictures. Their trip is cut short though by Monk's fear of heights, which forces them to drive back downhill to Waimea. They pay a visit to a small gift shop for souvenirs, where Natalie picks up a pair of Red Dirt shirts for Julie. While they are shopping, Natalie gets a cell phone call from Captain Stottlemeyer. He tells her the news of Swift's involvement in the case has reached the national newspapers. Stottlemeyer agrees over the phone about Monk's suspicion that Swift is an attention seeker who will do anything to get publicity. Natalie is furious upon realizing Swift was using her and Monk as unwitting pawns in a publicity stunt, and as they prepare to drive back to Poipu Beach, she retracts her earlier suggestion about leaving Swift alone and tells Monk to do anything he can to ruin Swift. Moments later, Monk and Natalie are about to pass through a green light when their car is t-boned by a pickup truck which then flees the scene. They are able to provide Kealoha a description of both the truck and the driver, who apparently ran a red light when he hit them. Monk is suspicious about the fact that the truck driver never once slowed down or tried to stop, like he didn't notice that there was a red signal for him. While at the scene, Kealoha informs them that Lance Vaughan has lawyered up, but he's been forced to release Roxanne Shaw due to a lack of evidence to link her to the murder.
Upon being dropped off at the Grand Kiahuna Poipu, Monk and Natalie find a newspaper with an article about Swift's involvement in getting Lance arrested. The article even mentions Monk by name. Natalie takes this as an opportunity to tell Monk about Swift leaving a message for him about seeing a hand with six fingers. Monk is incensed, knowing that that is a detail about the bomber who killed Trudy, a detail only he, Natalie, Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are aware of, indicating Swift somehow found out about this, too. Monk and Natalie immediately march over to Swift's bungalow to confront him. When they see him, he has a blister on one hand, which he claims he got when he burned his hand making breakfast that morning. They accuse him of using Helen Gruber's murder to boost publicity for himself. Monk brings himself to ask questions about Trudy's death, to the point that Natalie is uncertain whether or not Monk is being honest or he's just trying to draw Swift out.
That night, Monk and Natalie decide to participate in the hotel's luau. The event will include men digging up a roasted pig that has been placed in a six foot deep pit covered in banana leaves. Things begin rather badly (thanks to Monk, of course, complaining about how unsanitary their practices are), but things take a startling turn for the worst when the men assigned to dig up the pig instead dig up a cooked human body.
To Monk and Natalie's surprise, the dead man is Martin Kamakele, identified from a wallet in his pants pocket. The medical examiner concludes that someone viciously beat him to death with a shovel. Monk insists that Kamakele's death has to be connected to Helen Gruber's death somehow, given the MOs are similar, but he also finds some clues that suggest one distinct difference between the two murders: Helen's death was very well planned, but Kamakele's murder was not premeditated and was committed either in the heat of a fight or in a fit of rage. For one thing, the roasted pig that the body was buried above had been buried for nine hours, and the body was buried just over it, suggesting that Kamakele was killed sometime that afternoon in broad daylight. This indicates that the killer only tried to delay the body's discovery as opposed to dispose of it. Natalie considers it eerie that both murders were committed in broad daylight and both victims were killed with objects that the killer happened to find lying nearby.
Upon returning to the bungalow for the night, Monk tells Natalie a very moving Trudy story about her security blanket. He describes it as a yellow blanket that she became so attached to as a kid that she couldn't sleep without it. She called it her night-night, and she carried it all the way to her death, and Monk claims he even buried it with her. Natalie is moved by the story, which Monk insists is one he hasn't told anyone up until now.
The next morning, Natalie finds Monk preparing to send a letter to Stottlemeyer. Monk has the letter notarized and mailed. While he's doing that, Natalie notices Swift getting into his limo to go to the airport. Later that day, Natalie finds Monk straightening some of the artwork out, despite the maids just having cleaned the place. They are interrupted when Kealoha calls them to mention that their first rental car has been found abandoned in a shopping mall parking lot.
Monk and Natalie are driven to meet Kealoha by the stolen car. Monk quickly notices that the car seats now have stains on them, which they didn't have before the theft. He recognizes the seats as coming from Brian Galloway's car. He develops a theory and gets Natalie to rent another newly arrived car, then take it to the police station. Once there, he borrows a knife and cuts open the seat fabric despite Natalie's protests, revealing that they are packed with cocaine - Monk remembers Kealoha talking about how most goods have to be imported, and reasons that that fact of life also applies to drugs. Every fresh rental car is being used to smuggle in drugs, and the dealers are using inside men at the rental agencies to tip them off to which cars have the drugs. They then send out men to wreck, vandalize, or steal the rental vehicles, knowing that seemingly random thefts and accidents involving rental vehicles are not likely to be something the police or rental agencies will be suspicious of. Once in the shop, they switch out the drug loaded seats for emptied seats from the last drug-transporting vehicle. Kealoha acknowledges that there is one body shop in the town of Kapaa that gets most of the body shop work for rental cars, and concludes that said body shop is probably a front for an illegal drug operation.
The next day, Monk takes his Dioxynl for their flight back to San Francisco. Natalie returns home and gets her affairs in order with her mother, who has been babysitting Julie, before going to sleep. She oversleeps and is hastily woken up in the morning by a wake-up call from Monk, who is ready to expose Swift when he tapes his show later that day at a hotel downtown. Monk and Natalie head to the hotel, and find two front row seats in the audience, as well as Stottlemeyer and Disher, both of whom Monk has summoned to the show. Randy mentions before the show begins that he is eager to use Swift to communicate with a late uncle of his that died ten years ago.
When the show begins, Swift senses a name beginning with an "M". Randy recognizes Swift's descriptions as the late uncle he described. Monk, Natalie and Stottlemeyer watch as Swift talks about the late uncle's secret fishing hole. The conversation is enough to get Randy to act like he believes Swift's claims. Swift moves on to Monk, and invites him up to the stage, claiming to be receiving a message from Trudy on the other side. He senses something yellow, and with some coaxing from Monk, identifies it as Trudy's security blanket. This is a shocker to Natalie, who wonders how Swift knows about the security blanket story when she's the only person Monk has ever told it to. As soon as Swift is finished describing the story, Monk immediately announces that he's solved the case.
Here's What Happened
Monk immediately invites Stottlemeyer and Disher up to the stage. He asks Stottlemeyer to read the letter that he notarized in Hawaii. In the letter, Monk explains that he has told Natalie, and only Natalie, a story about Trudy's security blanket. He describes the story in complete detail, but then, at the very end, he drops the bomb with a shocking confession: he has predicted Swift was going to tell this story on the show, and even more, the entire story was completely fabricated. He's done this stunt all to expose Swift as having killed Helen Gruber and Martin Kamakele. Monk reveals that Swift does get some of the info he needs for his show through his cold-reading tactics (as has just been demonstrated by Randy, who invented the story about his uncle as bait), but that's not the only way he gets what he needs: he tapes his shows at hotels where a lot of guests are people who have come to attend his shows, which is important because he has bugged all of the hotel rooms. To that extent, Monk has discovered listening bugs in the bungalow.
Monk reveals that Kamakele had the rooms of the Grand Kiahuna Poipu bugged to help Swift's show. The scheme worked out until Helen Gruber showed up and started complaining about hearing voices. The hotel staff assumed she was delusional, but Swift knew right away that that was because Helen's hearing aids were picking up transmissions from the bugs in the room. He was afraid that she would find out about what was going on sooner or later and she would have to be killed. But then Monk showed up at the hotel and Swift found an easy way out: if he "helped" Monk solve the murder, he could kill Helen and create some extra publicity for himself.
However, this meant Swift needed to first seek out someone who could take the fall for him. The bugs had made it possible for him to learn everything about Lance Vaughan and Roxanne Shaw, and he learned when they were going to be away, giving Swift an ample time window to commit the murder. That morning, after Lance left to go snorkeling, Swift broke into the bungalow, crept up behind Helen, and struck her over the head with the coconut. He then stashed her body in the fridge for long enough to leave clues that would mislead the police into thinking that she'd been stashed there overnight. Swift then redressed her, drowned her in the hot tub and left several props around to stage a crime scene he was aware Monk would recognize as a fake.
Martin Kamakele had to be killed after he found out what really happened to Helen. This occurred when the news broke about Swift's involvement in "solving" Helen's murder. He confronted Swift in the luau garden and possibly attempted to blackmail him. Swift ended the argument when he grabbed a shovel and used it to beat Kamakele to death. He then buried the body in the luau pit, and in the process, he burned his hand, explaining the blister that Monk and Natalie saw him treating with an ice pack when they confronted him afterwards.
Swift says there's no proof, but Monk reveals that in fact, he's just revealed evidence of his guilt right there: he can't speak to the dead so the only way he could have possibly known so many details about Helen's life is if he was the one who committed the murder. He is convinced that the police will find recording equipment in Swift's bungalow and will test Helen's hearing aids to find they match the frequencies of the recording bugs.
Swift is subsequently arrested. As Monk and Natalie are returning to their car, Natalie asks Monk about the security blanket story. Monk admits that he had to tell her something that sounded convincing to her because he already knew Swift was listening in and he needed to make sure Swift was fed something he thought sounded real. Natalie is convinced the story is real since she observed Monk delivering the story with more emotion than he would if he were making it up. Monk confesses that the security blanket wasn't Trudy's, but was in fact, his mother's.
Other Monk novels
- Monk also uses Dioxnyl to combat his fear of flying in Mr. Monk Goes to Germany.
- In the beginning of the novel, Natalie mentions the time that Monk moved in with her and Julie while his apartment was being fumigated in Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse.
- The (fictional) anti-OCD drug, Dioxnyl, was introduced in the season 3 episode "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine," where it proved to have such a disastrous effect on Monk's abilities as a detective that he swore never to take it again. Hence, when Natalie calls Dr. Kroger from the Honolulu airport to say that Monk is on drugs, Dr. Kroger sounds surprised to find that he is taking Dioxnyl again. Unlike in the episode, though, Monk is able to limit his intake of the pills, only taking them whenever flying is necessary.
- Natalie mentions Mitch's death many times over the course of the novel, some elements of which she mentioned in the season 3 episode "Mr. Monk and the Election".
Crossovers with other series
- The name and character of Lieutenant Ben Keoloha originate from the Diagnosis: Murder novel The Death Merchant, also written by Lee Goldberg.
- In the start of the novel, Natalie mentions how all of the best detectives are nuts, using Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes as examples, and explains that their assistants helped them to investigate (respectively Archie Goodwin and Dr. Watson).
List of characters
Characters from the television series
- Adrian Monk: the titular detective, played on the series by Tony Shalhoub
- Natalie Teeger: Monk's loyal assistant and the narrator of the book, played on the series by Traylor Howard
- Captain Leland Stottlemeyer: Captain of the San Francisco Police Department's Homicide Division; Monk's oldest friend and former partner; played on the series by Ted Levine
- Lieutenant Randy Disher: Stottlemeyer's right-hand man, played on the series by Jason Gray-Stanford
- Dr. Charles Kroger: Monk's psychiatrist, played on the series by Stanley Kamel
- Julie Teeger: Natalie's teenaged daughter, played on the series by Emmy Clarke
- Peggy Davenport: Natalie's wealthy mother, played on the series by Holland Taylor
- Trudy Monk: Adrian's late wife who was killed by a car bomb, played on the series by Stellina Ruisch and Melora Hardin
- Warrick Tennyson (mentioned only): the man who built the bomb that killed Trudy, played on the series by Frank Collison
- Mitch Teeger (mentioned only): Natalie's late husband who was shot down over Kosovo
- Dr. Lyle Douglas: a heart surgeon who was poisoned during an operation
- Stella Picaro: Dr. Douglas's patient
- Candace: A close friend of Natalie's who lives in Los Angeles. She wants Natalie to be the maid of honor at her wedding. She is also the whole reason why Natalie, and Monk, come out to Hawaii.
- Brian Galloway: Candace's would-be-husband had Monk not discovered he was a bigamist. He supposedly sells custom-made furniture to clients ranging from five-star hotels to prison cells.
- Lieutenant Ben Keoloha: Kauai's police lieutenant. He speaks with a pidgin accent that Monk cannot interpret at first.
- Dylan Swift: Producer and host of the TV show Whispers from the Other Side. Monk and Natalie believe him to be a fraud and psychic. No one knows where or how he gets his information on deceased people like Monk's and Natalie's spouses (Trudy and Mitch, respectively). He is also a famous author (Natalie mentions that you can literally see Swift everywhere, his face "daring you not to buy the book").
- Martin Kamakele: Manager of operations at the Belmont Hotel and the Grand Kiahuna Poipu
- Helen Gruber: Murder victim from Cleveland.
- Lance Vaughan: Helen's husband, who happens to marry old ladies so that he and his girlfriend can live off of their money. He has done this scheme with women in Philadelphia and Seattle as well.
- Roxanne Shaw: Lance Vaughan's girlfriend
- Tetsuo Kapaka: An assistant manager at the Grand Kiahuna Poipu
Lee Goldberg has also written several episodes ("Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico", "Mr. Monk Meets the Godfather", and "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing") and the novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse and ten other Monk novels (as of September 2011). At least two more–Mr. Monk on Patrol and Mr. Monk is a Mess–are scheduled for publication in 2012.
Goldberg is also the author of the Diagnosis: Murder novels, which are based on the TV series on which he served as executive producer and principal writer. His other books include Watch Me Die, Unsold Television Pilots, Successful Television Writing, and The Walk. His TV writing and/or producing credits include Martial Law, Diagnosis: Murder, Hunter, Baywatch, 1-800-Missing and Monk.
- "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine