SYNOPSIS OF “POISON BUTTERFLY”
by Lo Monaco
TERRY STRONG, P.I., a former model who is also a black belt in Taekwondo, is hired by MARTIN OLDFIELD to find his wife, ELOISE, who ran off with Martin’s inheritance of $100,000, leaving Martin with their five-month-old son, MARTIN (MARTY), JR. After a little confusion, Martin reveals that Eloise disappeared twenty-five years ago.
Terry and her associate, JACKSON JEFFERSON locate Eloise. She has remarried and is now LOUISE KINGLEY. Eloise assumed Martin got a divorce, which he had not. Eloise agrees to meet with Martin. Terry and Jack meet Eloise’s present husband, RON KINGLEY, who is a giant of a man: over 6 feet 6 inches and huge like a bear.
After meeting with Eloise, Martin speaks to Terry again. He had given Eloise a photo of their son, MARTY, who is coming to meet his mother. That evening a frantic Martin calls Terry. He’s been arrested for Eloise’s murder. He says that when he arrived at the meeting place, he had found her lying in a pool of blood, her head smashed in on the parking curb.
Martin asks Terry to find him a lawyer. Terry calls an old school friend, Attorney RANCE DUBOIS. The evidence against Martin is almost overwhelming. A woman’s diamond wristwatch is found in his pocket that later turns out to belong to Eloise. Terry goes to see Homicide Lieutenant CARLSON BLACK (her some-time Significant Other). He tells Terry, “The suspect was caught at the scene.”
KIT PETRELLI comes into Carl’s office and invites Carl and Terry for his wife’s birthday party. Kit had been one of the homicide detectives on the Eloise/Louise murder and says that Martin Oldfield killed her.
Terry, with Rance, interviews Martin in jail. He says he never saw the watch before.
Terry interviews Ron Kingley. He seems devastated by Eloise’s death and had no idea she was still married to Martin Oldfield. He has no alibi for the previous evening.
Terry and Jack interview Martin’s son, Marty at the motel. He had left the motel before his father went to see Eloise. Jack and Terry verify his alibi.
Terry and Jack go to the crime scene. They believe the killer jumped down to the lower level of the parking structure after killing Eloise. Jack finds some brown spots on the concrete that he thinks are blood.
Terry and Carl go to Kit’s house for the party. Terry talks to Kit’s wife, ANNETTE PETRELLI, who is pregnant. Annette tells Terry that Kit’s ex-wife had been a “real bitch” and split with all their money.
The next day, Terry talks with Ron Kingley’s neighbors and learns that Eloise had been married before to a JOSEPH SARDOU. Sardou died in a one-car accident about three years ago.
Jack picks up Ron Kingley’s trash and he and Terry search through it. They find the photograph of Martin, Jr. torn into pieces. Jack takes it to a lab to check for usable fingerprints.
While Terry is lunching alone, she runs into her ex-husband, KYLE STRONG. He professes his undying love for her. She reminds him that she divorced him because of his extra-marital excursions and he acts wounded by her accusations.
Terry’s next-door neighbor, LINDEN HUGHES’s, father has gone missing. He’s an Alzheimer victim and is wandering around naked. Terry finds him in the park and brings him home. She recruits Linden Hughes to do her ‘Net surfing for her. Linden finds Sardou’s obituary and the name of the fabric company Sardou owned.
Terry goes to the company that Joseph Sardou owned with his brother and sister, VERALIN.. Joseph had signed over all his properties to Eloise. She then removed all the money from her and Sardou’s accounts and had served him with divorce papers. His siblings are convinced that he killed himself over Eloise.
Terry visits Lt. Carl Black. Eloise had withdrawn $30,000 the day before she was killed. Carl suspects that she had given the money to Martin Oldfield at their first meeting and when she couldn’t give him more the next day, he killed her and stole her diamond wristwatch.
Jack has the report from the lab. There are usable fingerprints on the photo and the brown spots that Jack had scraped up were human blood.
Terry and Rance go to the jail and speak to Martin. He knows nothing of the $30,000, but Eloise had given him a check for $10,000 for her son, Martin, Jr. Martin signs a note telling his son, Martin, Jr., to let them search the motel room and to give them copies of his personal and business bank statements. Terry and Rance search the motel room and find nothing. Martin, Jr. is returning to Redding in the evening and will fax the bank statements.
Terry and Jack go back to Ron Kingley’s. Ron and Eloise were to go see an attorney to sign over all Ron’s property to Eloise, but she was killed before they could. Ron lets Terry go through Eloise’s bedroom. She finds bank books totaling $600,000, a safe deposit key and greeting cards that say: “With all my heart and love. Daniel.”
The next day, Terry goes to see Costa Mesa PD Captain ATKINS who tells her that Ron Kingley has a history of arrests for drunkenness and battery.
Terry goes to see the attorney that Eloise and Ron were supposed to meet with. He tells her that Eloise had many investments and that she specified in her will where she wished to be buried. Farley also explains that as soon as Ron had signed the quit claim deeds over to Eloise, she was going to divorce him and marry DANIEL WESTCOTT. Farley is very surprised to learn of Eloise’s unacknowledged son and husband, Martin.
Terry and Jack go to Daniel’s. He’s a twenty-year-old surfer with an alibi for the evening of Eloise’s murder.
Something Veralin had said keeps bugging Terry. When she spoke to her previously, Veralin mentioned Eloise’s previous husband. Terry goes back to see her. Veralin tells Terry that her brother, Joseph, waited in Carson City, Nevada until Eloise’s divorce was final before they got married. Then Terry remembers that Eloise had told her she never mentioned Martin–to anyone. So “that” husband could not have been Martin.
Carl and Terry have dinner and decide to get back together, to try to forge a better relationship.
In the morning, Terry goes to the Newport Beach PD to speak to the arresting officers. She and Jack figure that the only people who could have put Eloise’s watch in Martin’s pocket (if Martin hadn’t) would be the police. The interviews are inconclusive.
Linden makes Terry’s reservations for a flight to Carson City. He also delves into the Internet to bring up any background information he can find on the arresting officers. Terry repents thinking negative thoughts about Linden and asks him to be her friend and collaborator.
In Carson City, Terry finds that Eloise had married William “Kit” Petrelli in 1990.
Terry has dinner with Kit’s wife, Annette. Terry spins a tale, trying to elicit what information she can. Annette verifies that Kit injured his knee the day of Eloise’s murder and that Kit’s blood is type O positive–the type Jack found on the parking area floor. Terry and Jack go to Rance’s office to discuss whether or not they should inform Carl of what they’ve learned, as none of the evidence is admissible.
Terry’s cell phone rings. It’s Annette, almost hysterical. Kit is about to kill himself and wants to talk to Terry.
Terry, Jack, Rance and Carl show up at Kit’s. He’ll only speak to Terry. He’s holding a gun to his chest. He’s also taken an overdose of Prozac. He confesses to everything: he searched for Eloise for years and when he found her, he demanded half of the money she had stolen from their accounts. The day Martin met her for the first time, Kit had followed and knew where they were meeting the following day. The day of her murder, Eloise gave Kit the $30,000 and when he demanded more, she told him to “fuck off” and he hit her. She fell back against the parking curb and died. He stole the watch and when he and his partner had been called out to the scene of Louise’s homicide, he planted it on Martin.
When Kit’s reactions begin to slow from the drug, Terry grabs the gun and Carl and Jack rush in to subdue him. The paramedics take him to the hospital.
Several days later, Kit is still alive, but in Intensive Care. Martin has returned to Redding and his hardware store. Eloise has left all her fortune to her next-of-kin, who happened to be Martin, Sr. and Martin, Jr. To show his appreciation, Martin, Sr., has given Terry a $10,000 bonus.
Ron Kingley is left with his memories of Eloise.