Mystery set in a queer household in 1950s

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In 1950s L.A., Andy is caught in a raid on a gay bar and loses his job as an inspector on the police force. Thinking his life is over now that his secret is out, Andy is approached by Pearl to investigate the death of her wife Irene Lamontaine, owner of a famous soap company. Andy agrees and finds himself at Lavender House, a queer household made up of Pearl and Irene, their son Henry and his partner Cliff, Henry’s wife, Margot and her mother Alice and frequent visitor Elsie, Margot’s girlfriend. Even all the staff are queer. But in this supposed haven, someone has likely committed murder.

I really enjoyed a book focused on queer lives in a time in which queerness had to be hidden away. This aspect of needing to hide one’s self from the outside world played a big part in the lives of each of the characters. Although there were a lot of people living in the house, I never felt confused about who was who. It’s a slow-burner of a mystery that spends a lot of time giving voice to each character and their struggles- without being simply about their traumas as queer people. There are many glimpses of love and joy alongside the hard stuff and the relationships feel authentic.

I listened to this on audio and was very impressed by Vikas Adams’ vocal range in making different voices. I listened comfortably at 1.75 speed.