The Sartorial Senator (A Nick Williams Mystery) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2017/1/23
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Friday, May 29, 1953
Nick and Carter just want to go home to San Francisco after their adventures in Mexico.
But, before they can sail into the Golden Gate, Nick receives a subpoena from America's most infamous witch hunter in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, an old schoolmate from Carter's childhood shows up out of nowhere and revives painful memories.
Once they get to the nation's capitol, they are plunged into helping yet another flirtatious police detective solve a curious murder that leads to some very dark places.
In the end, Nick and Carter set a trap to catch the killer and get much more than they bargained for.
Imagine (as the author did) the Perry Mason books if everyone was gay (and, we all know that the television incarnation of Mason, Raymond Burr, was himself gay, although closeted as celebrities of his generation had to be). Try to wrap your mind around the idea of Perry Mason and Paul Drake as a couple, living in a neighborhood called Eureka Valley that would later become the Castro.
Wild, see? Nick Williams and his boyfriend Carter Jones are a kind of gay Batman and Robin, and I can’t help but love them. Nick’s secretary, Marnie Wilson (hello, Della Street) plays Alfred to this dynamic duo, but in book 3 we get Marnie’s mother, who had me wide-eyed and smiling whenever she appeared on the page. Of course, Nick and Carter’s friends—all of whom have suffered homophobic injustice in the land of the free—create a supportive Greek chorus (ahem)
Thus far, the three-part Nick Williams series has only covered about a month’s chronological time, and the books have given us a lot of murder and other assorted mayhem. As book three starts, Nick and Carter are sailing up from Mexico to Los Angeles on their new yacht (don’t ask) when things start to get weird, again. A murder in Washington, D.C. takes them on a cross-country adventure to find a killer, while exploring one of the more esoteric aspects of “the life” in the nation’s capital.
In the end, I had to stop trying to think too hard about Frank Butterfield’s fantasy world and just embrace it. His writing and language, and his sense of place and detail is spot on: it feels like 1953 in America, from the cars to the clothes, from the cigarettes to the perils of air travel. Throw in the kind of startling historical details—Senator Joe McCarthy and a very young Robert F. Kennedy—and you have a slick, amusing detective story that reminds us all that there were a lot of gay people living and surviving in America back in the bad old days.
This was an excellent whodunnit. Lots of guesswork. Lots of surprises. New characters to meet. Lots of changes. And the ending! GAH!
What I love about this series so far is the romance. And I’m not talking sex, or even love. I’m talking the romantic feel , the vibe of the times, the talk, the way people were, everything is so descriptive and alive. It’s all so sweeping and all encompassing which makes me ‘feel’ like I was transported back to another time. And of course that’s what makes the relationship between Nick and Carter. That’s it. Everything comes together to make Nick and Carter. The ending of this book was a new beginning. I was kind of sad but then kind of mad but then hopeful and then mad again. Boy, the next book will be interesting with all that went down in this book, I mean the ending, still not over it. So far, this is a 5* series.