Title: Midland Club
Author: Mark Spano
Publisher: Thunderfoot Press
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Genre(s): Murder/Mystery, Historical
Page Count: 88
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A knotted tale of corruption, lies and murder in a midwestern town. Only one man is willing to reveal the truth–at the risk of his own life. From Midland Club: What could I prove? I asked myself as I looked into a pile of trash next to my bed. And from that trash, glistening like some mysterious jewel, I spotted the invitation to Garland’s birthday party. Was I too late? Had it already passed. I grabbed the invitation and reread it. I was not too late. The party was Saturday. Three days away. It was my only chance to see Garland Sousley face to face. Should I go? It would mean facing a hundred Uncle Buds: a room full of midwestern men of my father’s generation who knew me, who knew my life story, men who had judged me not like Uncle Bud but like W. T. Sousley. These men hated me. Could I walk into their midst to question the oldest and most respected of them as to his associations with an old queer Negro.
Set in 1958 in Kansas City, “Midland Club” is a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic.
Rick St. Pierre comes from a “wealthy tribe of lawyers” who belong to the exclusive Midland Club, whose members are among the upper echelon of Kansas City society, until Rick is arrested one night in a police raid of the club Miss Otis Regrets – “a gathering place for homosexuals of whom I was no exception.” When Rick learns of the mysterious death of Puce Bordeaux, the only Negro waiter at the Midland Club, Rick sets aside his on and off career as a bail bondsman and digs through the wreckage of his past to find the truth about Puce’s death.
The beauty of Midland Club is the telling of the tale, rather than the answer to the mystery. Along the way we meet jazz singers, Italian gangsters, priests, a queer antique dealer, a psychic bordello owner, and learn stories of great love and love that died too soon. There’s a bit of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” amidst the melancholy and I highly recommend this book.
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