The Unexpected Heiress: Volume 1 (A Nick Williams Mystery) Paperback – Import, 21 Mar 2017
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Nick Williams is the richest man in San Francisco. He got that way in spite of being disinherited by his family for being homosexual. But his reprobate of a gay uncle Paul left him a vast fortune in an unbreakable trust. Now Nick works as a private eye, and lives quietly but comfortably with his fireman husband Carter Jones in a bungalow in Eureka Valley, a neighborhood now known as the Castro.
So we are meant to see this is as a fantasy, both tongue in cheek and wistful. Imagine being so rich that the prejudices of the world couldn’t hurt you. It is a reminder (not the first I’ve read, by the way) that San Francisco was not always friendly to its gay citizens, and that post-McCarthy America was a nasty place for anyone who didn’t conform. Butterfield gives us a series of interlocking stories: a tragic death, a raid on a local gay bar, a group of gay friends coping with a hostile world. He writes the lingo of the early 50s detective novel convincingly and with wit, and he also paints us a picture of a group of people who we also wish were our friends. Perhaps the worst part of being gay in the bad old days was loneliness. These folks aren’t lonely, and that makes a huge different.
The mystery is solved rather easily, and the other plotlines are really used mostly a set up for the premise for the rest of the series. But that didn’t stop me from really enjoying this, and buying book two, “The Amorous Attorney.” Can’t wait to read it.
The only trouble is that the Williams family is getting a little upset at all the emails being sent to them for access to their website which is referenced in the back of the book [...]. This is NOT the site the author wants you to go to - can someone PLEASE get the book amended before all hell breaks loose with the real Nick Williams family? LOL