The secrecy and the fear and the ever-present threats of arrest, blackmail, physical assault, and murder
Evander “Andy” Mills is fired from the SFO police when he’s caught in a raid on a gay bar. It’s 1952 and he is now de facto a pariah from his previous life and lucky not to be in jail. It looks like there is only one way out until Pearl Lamontaine hires him to find out if her wife died in an accident or was murdered. But those are only the bones the story hangs on, which is as much about what life was like for gay Americans before Stonewall and Obergefell as it is about the solving the crime.
She’s in her thirties, with a severe black bob and dressed in a slightly oversized man’s suit, without the tie. She has huge dangling diamond earrings and a large ring on her finger–enough that a cop in a bad mood wouldn’t hassle her about cross-dressing laws, but just barely. It’s smart. I remember guys from the force going out looking for women in pants just to “show them what a real man is.”
“Cross-dressing laws.” Remember all the hassle Hillary got about her pantsuits? I had no idea until reading this book that that kind of behavior had its roots in actual law. The secrecy and the fear and the ever-present threats of arrest, blackmail, physical assault, and murder must have been crushing to live under, and Rosen writes about all of it with absolute conviction and without letting it get in the way of the narrative.
Good writing, good characters, imaginative “locked mansion” setting, some interesting minutia about soap, a satisfying villain, and a great start to a new series. Sign me up.
Dana View All →
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.
My mom, who is 80, talks about being afraid of being thrown out of class for wearing pants to class in college in the early 60s.
I’m so glad I never had to go through that.
So glad to read this! I loved this book, and I’m happy to see it getting attention!