The Unexpected Heiress (A Nick Williams Mystery) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2017/3/21
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May 11, 1953
The richest homosexual in San Francisco is a private investigator.
Nick Williams lives in a modest bungalow with his fireman husband, a sweet fellow from Georgia by the name of Carter Jones.
Nick's gem of a secretary, Marnie Wilson, is worried that Nick isn't working enough. She knits a lot.
Jeffrey Klein, Esquire, is Nick's friend and lawyer. He represents the guys and gals who get caught in police raids in the Tenderloin.
Lt. Mike Robertson is Nick's first love and best friend. He's a good guy who's one hell of a cop.
It's late at night when Nick's evil father, Dr. Parnell Williams, calls to inform his son that Janet, Nick's sister, has been in a freak automobile accident and is fighting for her life in the hospital. With Carter, his loving husband, in tow, Nick arrives just in time to say goodbye.
The next morning, Nick discovers that Janet's death wasn't an accident. It was premeditated murdered. Nick goes poking around and uncovers a family secret. Can he find the killer and prevent the next obvious murder from happening?
The Unexpected Heiress is where the adventures of Nick, Carter, Marnie, Mike, and all the gang truly begin. Read along and fall in love with the City where cable cars climb halfway to the stars.
Long before the Summer of Love, pride parades down Market Street, and the fight for marriage equality, San Francisco was all about the Red Scare, F.B.I. investigations, yellow journalism run amok, and the ladies who play mahjong over tea.
Butterfield also very capably evoked scenes and settings. If you want a book that pulls you into a Hollywood-style set, this is it. Grant lawyer's offices, top-of-the-world restaurants, craftsman-style houses, and even grand cathedrals are all brought into life and given vivid, sun-drenched colors.
I can't recommend this book enough.
The principal character, Nick Williams, is crisp and human and smart. His lover Carter is loving and funny. The various people they surround themselves with, and who begin to form a loose “security team” in this opening story, are entertaining and real.
Kudos to the author for making San Francisco a vibrant character along with the others, and for “outing” a sensational queer private dick named Nick in the bad old days of the early 50s, when to be exposed as gay was to be literally ruined. But it's true that money can buy damn near anything...and Nick uses his fortune to squeeze the right nuts in a time of squirrels.
It’s clear that the author has done his homework, from telephone exchanges to cars to fashion. I especially appreciate his affectionate homage to a beautiful dame called San Francisco.
The subtext...history's war on gays... never gets in the way of a good story. And the sex, while never prolonged or explicit, seems perfect for two men who obviously and deeply love each other.
Read this first case, then hang on for the ride, because Butterfield is just revving up the engine on what’s sure to be a classic series!
Set in San Francisco in 1953, Nick Williams is a PI and his man Carter is a fireman, recovering from an injury. Nick is impossibly rich due to an unbreakable trust from a gay uncle who took the family's gold rush money and made some great investments. Nick is free to pretty much thumb his nose at the Hearsts and his own Nob Hill family (who find his lifestyle deplorable), help those acquaintances who need a hand up, and do what he wants to do ... which is live in a small bungalow with Carter in Eureka Valley (the Castro) and occasionally solve a case or two.
There's there requisite all-around-sharp secretary Marnie, a cache of friends and a murder mystery which is definitely second place here to the cast of characters. You really get a sense of 1950's San Francisco and the postwar era where men still greet each other with "Where did you serve?" and The Examiner posts the names and addresses of men caught in raids of gay bars. Butterfield does a great job of combining the nostalgia with the hard truths of life for a gay man in the time period.
4 strong stars and I'm starting on Book 2 (of 26!) of the series.
I love this book for a lot of reasons. Nick and Carter top the list, closely followed by the skillful way Frank Butterfield incorporates the historical happenings of the period into the story. He's clearly done a LOT of research, but it doesn't read like a dry history lesson. It's organic, flows naturally, and it's very interesting. It kept my attention throughout. Add to all of the above the wonderful supporting cast backing Nick and Carter up on their adventures and you've got an absolutely riveting read.