cover image Lavender House

Lavender House

Lev AC Rosen. Forge, $26.99 (268p) ISBN 978-1-250-83422-5

Set in 1952, this appealing character-driven mystery from Rosen (Camp) finds 32-year-old Evander “Andy” Mills sitting in a San Francisco bar contemplating suicide. Two days earlier, he lost his job as an inspector for the San Francisco PD when he was picked up in a raid on a gay club. Blacklisted, kicked out of his apartment, and shunned by his former colleagues, Andy realizes he has no real options. That is, until Pearl Velez sits down beside him and offers him a job investigating the death of her wife, Irene Lamontaine, the creator of the distinctive floral scents that have made Lamontaine soap famous. Some believe that Irene’s fall from her balcony was accidental; Pearl believes she was murdered. Pearl brings Andy to the secluded Lamontaine estate, where he meets the collection of friends who have become a tight-knit family. Could one of the “family” be responsible for Irene’s death? Never mind the straightforward plot and the pretty obvious culprit. This book’s real pleasure lies in the richly realized portrayal of its cast and their personal struggles. Rosen puts a welcome gay spin on the traditional country house whodunit. (Oct.)