How would you react if you were told that your two young children were murdered?
And then, not only have you seen their dead bodies at the morgue, but you are being interrogated by The District Attorney about your love life.
Kitty Keeler is not a woman to take accusations of murder lightly.
Dorothy Uhnak, Policewoman in The NYPD for 14 years, draws from her experience to bring us a character that has all the traits of a femme fatal.
She slid around in the chair and blazed at the men standing on the side of the room. “You bastards been having fun? Listen you,” she turned back to Neary, “you want to know about my love life, my sex life, you just ask me. Ask me and I’ll tell you whatever the hell you want to know to get your kicks, to make your day.” She leaned back in the chair, folded her arms, tilted her head to one side. “And that’ll save you time, so you won’t have to send all these goddamn overpaid son-of-bitches digging into my private life. And then maybe, maybe, you can start finding out who killed my kids.” Her anger fed itself, generated an even greater fury, strengthened her, made her more than equal to deal with all of us.
Is Kitty sincere? Do you believe her distress?
Uhnak gives Kitty a raw language so typical of the femme fatale’s confidence:
“It really shakes the hell out of you. All of you. Doesn’t it? That a woman can have a full, active sex life. It’s different when it’s one of the boys, right? Then you all think, boy, this guy’s great. But let a woman live the way she wants and –”
And she makes her tough:
“Hey, now I got it. You’re the good guy. The rest of them,” she waved her arm around the room, “all the rest of them are the bad guys. …And you’re the soft-soap artist, the one I turn to, right? Joe Peter, that’s your name?” There was nothing soft left in her, and her voice was ice. “Well, I’m wise to you, Peters. I’m wise to all of you.”
Kitty fits perfectly the Femme Fatale model. She’s tough. She’s wise. She’s sexy. She knows how to use men. Especially Detective Joe Peters.
“The second man Alfredo told me to sleep with was you, baby. We both sized you up pretty good, Joe. You played good guy pretty good. You were easy, Joe. You were a push over. You went for everything, Joe…”
Here lies another femme fatale characteristic: leave the men who’ve fallen for you heartbroken.
So did Kitty murder her children? I’m not going to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it or those who intend to read it.
You can read my Goodreads review of The Investigation at:
Uhnak is perhaps best known for her novel Law and Order upon which was based the longest-running crime drama on American primetime television.
Uhnak died in July 2006.