Sunday, November 23, 2008

THE ANGEL SINGERS: A Dick Hardesty Mysteryby Dorien Grey

Reviewed by Bob Lind for Echo Magazine

Dick Hardesty is somewhat amused when his younger life-partner, Jonathan, tells him about the petty jealousies, gossip and backstabbing among the other members of the gay men's chorus in which Jonathan sings. But when one of those members, who made several enemies in the group, is murdered, private investigator Hardesty is hired by the chorus' board to look into the possibility of another member being responsible. Coordinating his investigation with a local gay-friendly police detective, Dick interviews the chorus members who had run-ins with the dead man, as well as his older benefactor/lover, who was also a primary financial backer of the chorus. The investigation leads to the son of the dead man's co-worker, a hustler who frequents a local bar, a former associate involved in art fraud, and a tragic incident in one member's childhood that should have been looked at more carefully at the time.

I've come late to the author's Dick Hardesty mysteries, and this is actually the first and only book I have read in that series. After clearing up some confusion as to the time setting (The series takes place about 15-20 years ago), I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially the "everyman" quality he manages to convey with each character, making the read seem like it could be about people you know. Though I guessed the "whodunit" before Dick did, he admits later on that he sometimes misses obvious clues (which is understandable, when you are that close to the action) while his readers may not. An original approach, and one that I like. Looks like I have a series to catch up on!

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