We left Laura hot and bothered and Steele bemused on their way to the publishing party.
And they’ve arrived! As they’re shown in, we see Gomez at the bar, apparently getting sloshed and smoked next to a statue of a naked guy. In the background is a lady with feathers on her bodice and a ruffle at the bottom of her skirt. Really? Too much.
As Steele is divested of his jacket by a gloved butler (hot-blooded Laura apparently didn’t wear a coat), Laura pats her tummy. Hungry, or nervous? Her outfit is sparkly … but is it zipless?
Laura wants to know if Steele sees Forsythe; she’s anxious to get this over with.
“Laura, I do think we should wait for an opportune moment,” Steele stalls.
Miss Holt ain’t buyin’ it. “I just don’t want you beating around the bush.”
Steele is affronted. “Bush beating? ME?!”
Just then Mr. Forsythe calls to them. As he approaches, Steele reminds Laura that these people think SHE works for HIM.
“I see you took me up on my invitation,” Forsythe says. “Does this mean you’re serious about my proposition?”
Steele makes the introductions: “Russell Forsyth, Laura Holt, my most valued associate AND an integral part of whatever arrangement we finally agree to.”
Agree to? Laura doesn’t know anything about “agree to.” It doesn’t matter; Forsythe isn’t here to talk business. He advises them to eat and get drunk so he can take advantage of them in later negotiations. Sounds reasonable to me.
Laura figures she’d better take matters in hand, and turns to follow Forsythe. Just then …
Tipsy Gomez appears, bumping rudely into Laura. That’s no way to treat a lady!
Gomez introduces himself to Steele, noting what a treat it is to meet them man his wife Charlotte reads about all the time.
“Are you married to Charlotte Knight?” Laura asks. Suddenly this party is looking more interesting!
“The man behind the woman,” Gomez announces. “Not what you expected, huh?”
Before Laura has to respond to this awkward remark, Steele steps in.
He introduces Laura as his associate, “very much the woman behind the man.”
Laura is giddy with this brush with greatness. “It’s a real pleasure, I’ve read all of -“
“Really?” Steele needles.
Gomez tells Laura not to be embarrassed. “Nobody admits to reading Charlotte’s books, but they sell 3 million copies.”
Steele and Laura aren’t quite sure what to make of this guy.
Mysteriously, Gomez invites the detectives out onto the balcony with him.
Gomez is persistent in his request.
Laura and Steele follow, though Mr. Steele isn’t too excited about it.
Laura very much appreciates the view from 35 floors up, but Steele seems less impressed. Gomez isn’t excited about it, either.
“Idiotic, living 35 floors up in Los Angeles, but Charlotte adores it,” he declares. (Why is it idiotic to live in a high rise in LA? Smog?)
The trio looks back at the party inside …
… where Charlotte has made her appearance.
“She’s inspirational, isn’t she?” Gomez breathes. “Sometimes I sit for hours just watching her move, the way her body rises and falls when she breathes, the way it glistens when she perspires.” Oh, yeah. Sweat is sexy.
We see Charlotte greeting a guest … warmly.
“The man with her is Tony, our gardener,” Gomez explains. “Can’t let the lawn go when you’re 35 floors up!”
“Heh, heh, heh,” Steele and Laura respond uncomfortably.
“Good thing I’m not the jealous type, huh?” Gomez remarks. He adds that he doesn’t think Charlotte’s new manuscript is up to snuff.
Gomez finally gets to the point: He’s brought them out here to share some interesting information.
“As you know, my wife is a famous author with a reputation for writing, shall we say, provocative literature. My wife’s first book,Twice Nightly. A work of fiction? Hardly. The first four years of our marriage.”
“My wife’s second book, Bated Breath? The second four years of our marriage.” Laura seems curiously affected by his words.
Is it getting warm in here?
Gomez reveals that Char’s newest masterpiece is an erotic thriller, Prone Positions. It’s about a woman who kills her husband.
“Erotic thriller. Husband murdered. May I ask how?”
“He’s thrown off a 35th floor balcony.”
“Magnificent. Can we go in now?” Steele responds. I think he doesn’t like getting tangled up in domestic disputes!
Gomez knows they think he’s just soused, but he insists he’s seen it with his own bloodshot eyes, in black and white!
Laura adopts a reasonable tone. “Mr. Knight, if you’re truly afraid your wife is planning to murder you -”
“Leave Charlotte? I couldn’t do that. I can’t leave her and she can’t leave me. We’re supposed to be a team, you know.”
“Then how can we help you?”
Gomez seems a little crestfallen. “Maybe this is premature. Well, I’m sorry to have bothered you. I do hope you enjoy the party. I suspect it may prove to be quite revealing.”
They return to the party. “What an odd little man,” Steele whispers.
“Hard to believe he is married to her,” Laura adds, while Charlotte pointedly notices the handsome Mr. Steele as they pass.
“The secrets that bind two people together … what a confounding mystery,” Steele agrees. (Gosh, do you think Mr. Steele is only talking about Charlotte and Gomez?)
Laura tells Steele she doesn’t like this place or these people. She wants to find Forsythe, tell him the sad tale of his abortive literary career, and skedaddle.
Suddenly there is a shout! And a scream! Steele and Laura
race mosey to the balcony to see what’s going on.
They discover a crowd on the balcony, but someone seems to be missing. Where’s Gomez?
Oh. THERE he is. Wow. This power couple go above and beyond to drum up interest in their books.
Laura is distressed by the untimely, but predicted, demise of Gomez. Or maybe she’s just glad of a chance to get up close and personal with Mr. Steele?
“I don’t think this is the opportune moment to discuss business,” Mr. Steele decides.
This scene presents two couples: Steele & Laura, and Charlotte & Gomez. Both are supposed to be teams, but in each case we see that the woman takes the dominant role. In the case of Mr. & Mrs. Knight, this seems to have broken the man’s spirit. He is dependent on his wife and feels himself being more and more marginalized. On the other hand, Mr. Steele seems not at all threatened by Laura’s strength. Indeed, he goes out of his way to point out that she is the “woman behind the man.” It is Laura who appears insecure, needing to assert her power and keep Mr. Steele in his proper place. Yet when confronted with the horror of Gomez’s death, she turns immediately to Steele for comfort and protection. Is the spectre of Mr. & Mrs. Knight a warning to Laura and Steele of what can happen when a team is out of balance?