The Monkey's Raincoat

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The Monkey's Raincoat
Author Robert Crais
Country United States
Language English
Series Elvis Cole series
Genre Detective fiction
Publisher Bantam
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 237 pp (1st edition)
ISBN 0-553-27585-2
OCLC 33271313
Followed by Stalking the Angel

The Monkey's Raincoat is a 1987 detective novel by Robert Crais. It is the first in a series of linked novels centering on the private investigator Elvis Cole and his partner Joe Pike. Cole is a tough, wisecracking ex-Ranger with an irresistible urge to do what is morally right. The novel won the 1988 Anthony Award for "Best Paperback Original" at Bouchercon XIX and the 1988 Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for "Best First Novel";[1][2] and has since been named one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.[3]

Explanation of the novel's title[edit]

The title of the novel derives from a haiku by the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho which is quoted at the start of the novel:

Winter downpour; Even the monkey needs a raincoat.

— Matsuo Bashō, The Monkey's Raincoat

Plot summary[edit]

Cole is hired by Ellen Lang to find her missing husband and son and in the end, with Cole and Pike's help, she kills former matador and crime boss Domingo Garcia Duran, the man responsible for her husband's death and her son's kidnapping. The facts behind the events leading to Ellen's husband's involvement with Duran and his death are revealed and her son Perry is restored to her.


  • Elvis Cole - Private Detective, protagonist
  • Janet Simon - Ellen Lang's friend; worked with Eric Filer at Universal
  • Ellen Lang - Hires Elvis Cole to find missing husband and son, Perry
  • Mort Lang - Ellen's husband
  • Perry, Cindy, and Carrie Lang - The Langs' children
  • Kimberly Marsh - Mort Lang's girlfriend
  • George Feider - Private Investigator with 40+ years of experience, worked with Elvis
  • Eric Filer - Worked with Janet at Universal
  • Garrett Rice - Mort Lang's best friend and co-producer on a project with Mort
  • Joe Pike - Detective/Elvis' partner
  • Cleon Tyner - Garrett Rice's hired "security"
  • Simms and Eddie - Cops on the scene after Ellen's house was tossed
  • Patricia Kyle - Former Cole client, works at General Entertainment Studios
  • Clarence Wu - Owner of Wu's Engraving
  • Lou Poitras - Cole's police contact, a detective out of North Hollywood

Alternative ending[edit]

Robert Crais' original outline for the novel had Joe Pike getting killed at the end, so that he would have a moment of tragedy that would push Elvis Cole on to the rescue of the boy.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Release details[edit]

  • 1987, United States of America, Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-27585-2, Pub Date 1987, Paperback
  • 1989, United Kingdom, Piatkus Books ISBN 0-86188-817-0/978-0-86188-817-7, Pub Date February 1989, Hardback


  1. ^ a b "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards and History". Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Macavity Awards". Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ "20th Century Favorites - (IMBA)". Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived October 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Edgar Award Database". Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Shamus Award 1988". Retrieved January 24, 2014.