Review by: Moira Richards

5/01/02

Mommy Deadest
By Jean Marcy

New Victoria Publishers seeks to publish fine lesbian and feminist fiction and nonfiction. It is a non-profit literary and cultural organization, and it has also recently launched a web-based video rental club, "to keep lesbian culture alive" that specializes in movies of interest to lesbians and other women.

One of their new novels asks the questions:

Who would want to kill a middle-aged, schoolmarm? Does gorgeous cop, Sarah Lindstrom feel anything more than lust for Meg Darcy? Why did a private investigator blow his own brains out with his hunting rifle?

Mommy Deadest is a finely crafted detective story that is intertwined seamlessly with the joys and frustrations of the detective's personal life, and it has a pleasingly clever ending too! Jean Hutchison and Marcy Jacobs are Jean Marcy, and they won a Lammy* for this, the third in their Meg Darcy mystery series.

The cast is peopled by characters who may or may not, demographically, be part of society's minority groups, but who are nevertheless, relegated to the margins by mainstream culture -- gay men, black women, young children, lesbian cops. And some of the interests and oft-time delights of this story are their comments and perspectives on patriarchy, homophobia and racism, from the edge, as it were.

As I said before, this is the third book in a series that features Meg Darcy. I have not yet read the earlier two books and I have wondered whether they have been spoiled for me by reading Mommy Deadest first. There are many references made to a previous case that Darcy has just solved, which might have been the subject of an earlier book. Perhaps Jean Marcy has given just enough away to entice interest in the earlier books without spoiling any of their plots, or perhaps it would be wiser to read the series in sequence.

Either way, enjoy this as a mystery story of the page-turning best, and get too, the added bonus of some pointed social commentary.

ISBN: 1892281120


* The Lambda Literary Foundation was formed to promote the creation and dissemination of writing by, for, and about the GLBT communities, as well as to provide an avenue of understanding between these communities and outsiders. It publishes a monthly review of contemporary GLBT literature and it hosts an annual Literary Festival and the Lambda Literary Awards (the Lammy's) in twenty different categories of writing. Learn more at http://lamdalit.org/.


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