Exclusive Sneak-Peek: Murder and Mayhem: An Annotated Bibliography of Gay and Queer Males in Mystery, 1909-2018 by Matthew Lubbers-Moore

From the introduction:

  • This bibliography can follow the acceptance of gay and queer men in mysteries from when they first appeared to the present day and not all authors wrote about gay or queer men in a positive light. Therefore some of the comments below the titles explain how the author may have been homophobic or written their main character to be homophobic/transphobic.

Mystery Genre Definitions:

  • Amateur Sleuth: The amateur sleuth tries to solve the murder of someone close. Either the police have tried and failed or misread the murder as an accident/suicide. Both the loss and need for a solution is personal. -Definition provided by Stephen D. Rogers.
  • Bibliomystery: Mystery stories set in the world of books; libraries, bookstores, or those who deal with books; authors, book collectors, book sellers, editors, or publishers.
  • BDSM: Sexual activity involving such practices as the use of physical restraints, the granting and relinquishing of control, and the infliction of pain –Definition provided by Merriam Webster. BDSM is not a genre of mysteries but I include it as a warning to those who may not want to read sexually explicit and sexually 13 violent titles (MLM).
  • Caper: A caper is a comic crime story. Instead of suave and calculating, the caper chronicles the efforts of the lovable bungler who either thinks big or ridiculously small. -Definition provided by Stephen D. Rogers.
  • Classics: Classics are often written by authors in the late 19th and early 20th century, i.e. Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, Daphne du Maurier, Dashiell Hammett, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These are the authors that all mystery is built on.
  • Coming of Age: when a person reaches an important stage of development, growing into adulthood, becoming a mature adult. –Definition provided by Collins Dictionary.
  • Courtroom Drama/Legal Thriller: Lawyers make effective protagonists since they seem to exist on a plane far above the rest of us. Although popular, these tales are usually penned by actual lawyers due to the demands of the information presented. – Definition provided by Stephen D. Rogers.
  • Cozies: The cozy, typified by Agatha Christie, contains a bloodless crime and a victim who won’t be missed. The solution can be determined using emotional or logical reasoning. There is no sex or swearing, and the detective is traditionally heterosexual or asexual. -Definition provided by Stephen D. Rogers.

Modern Cozies: Unlike classic cozies, modern cozies include some swearing, discussions of sex, and can have a homosexual detective.

  • Crime Drama: Suspense in the crime story comes from wondering whether the plan will work. We’re rooting for the bad guys because they are smart, organized, and daring. -Definition provided by Stephen D. Rogers.

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The book contains the complete story The Man with the Watches by Arthur Conan Doyle.  From the history:

The debate over whether or not Sherlock Holmes was gay and had an attachment to Watson can be and probably will be argued over for as long as the characters are popular enough to be debated over. However, the two characters in this story obviously have feelings for each other …

THE MAN WITH THE WATCHES

by Arthur Conan Doyle

THERE ARE MANY WHO WILL still bear in mind the singular circumstances which, under the heading of the Rugby Mystery, filled many columns of the daily Press in the spring of the year 1892. Coming as it did at a period of exceptional dullness, it attracted perhaps rather more attention than it deserved, but it offered to the public that mixture of the whimsical and the tragic which is most stimulating to the popular imagination. Interest dropped, however, when, after weeks of fruitless investigation, it was found that no final explanation of the facts was forthcoming, and the tragedy seemed from that time to the present to have finally taken its place in the dark catalogue of inexplicable and unexpiated crimes.

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Sample entries:

624. Colton, James, Known Homosexual, Brandon House, 1968. (Pulp) Scorned by his family, defeated by society, Steve was at a major crossroads in his life. His marriage had gone sour, his hopes as a playwright dashed. Confused and friendless, Steve turned to pretty boy Coy Randol for love and support. But then Coy was found brutally murdered and there was only one person the police suspected: Steve. –republished as Stranger to Himself in 1977 by Major Books under [Joseph] Hansen’s own name, the only Colton book to be reclaimed. It was heavily edited as it removed much of the sex scenes. It was then republished as Pretty Boy Dead in 1984 by Gay Sunshine Press. The book is edited to reintroduce some of the items Hansen cut out in Stranger to Himself but still left out much of the sex scenes. Steve is an early version of Cecil from Hansen’s later Brandstetter books (MLM). 3/3

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1981. Michaelsen, Jon, Pretty Boy Dead, Wilde City Press, 2013. Kendall Parker #1 of 2. (Police Procedural) A murdered male stripper. A missing go-go dancer. A city councilman on the hook. Can Atlanta homicide detective Sergeant Kendall Parker solve the vicious crime while remaining safely hidden behind the closet door? –book two in the Kendall Parker series, Deadwood Murders, is set to be published late in 2019 (MLM). 3/3

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2145. Paretsky, Sara, Burn Marks, Delacorte, 1990. V. I. Warshawski #6 of 21. (Hardboiled) Someone knocking on the door at 3 A.M. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.’s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist – and the secrets hidden behind Elena’s boozy smile – will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago’s homeless… into the Windy City’s backroom deals and bedroom politics, where new 628 schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I. off the case – by hook, by crook, or by homicide. –the gay yuppie neighbor and his laid-back boyfriend appear slightly (MLM). 1/3

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2478. Sanders, J. B., Glen and Tyler’s Honeymoon Adventures, Lulu, 2011. Glen and Tyler #1 of 5. (Caper) Tyler can’t inherit unless he gets married … and when Glen proposes, hijinks ensue. Follow the guys on their world-spanning adventure as they defeat mobsters, an evil step-mother, a rakish brother-inlaw and pirates. No, really – pirates! Plus, there’s an underground super-base. And hockey. Come for the romance, stay for the hockey. –two bisexual guys take the plunge after decades of friendship (MM). 3/3

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2991. Woody, Michelle, The Scarecrow’s Kiss, iUniverse, 2004. (Fantasy) In 1980, serial killer Joseph Parrish was killed in a raid by local authorities and his bizarre world uncovered. Now, Russell Kenyon has come to do a segment on Parrish for his show, Spooky History, hoping the report will be his show’s saving grace. With a new victim missing, talk of Parrish’s curse has spread through town. 3/3

Blurb:

Librarian and scholar Matt Lubbers-Moore collects and examines every mystery novel to include a gay or queer male in the English language starting with the 1909 Arthur Conan Doyle short story “The Man with the Watches,” which is included in its entirety. Authors, titles, dates published, publishers, book series, short blurbs, and a description of how involved the gay or queer male character is with the mystery are all included for a full bibliographic background.

Murder and Mayhem will prove invaluable for mystery collectors, researchers, libraries, general readers, aficionados, bookstores, and devotees of LGBTQ studies. The bibliography is laid out in alphabetical order by author for the ease of the reader to find what they are looking for and be able to read the blurb and author notes to determine if the book is what they are looking for whether a hard boiled private eye, an amateur cozy, a suspenseful romance, or a police procedural. All subgenres within the mystery field are included within including fantasy, science fiction, espionage, political intrigue, crime dramas, courtroom thrillers, and more with a definition guide of the subgenres for a better understanding of the genre as a whole.

A ReQueered Tales Original publication, this 2020 edition contains a bonus story by Arthur Conan Doyle.

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About Matthew Lubbers-Moore

“One of the founders of ReQueered Tales, Matt served as a judge for the Lambda Literary Awards for Best Gay Mystery in 2017 and 2018. Matt is over educated with 3 associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in Human Rights, as well as working on his second master’s degree in history after finishing his master’s in library and information science in 2019. He lives in a converted creamery in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his farmer and truck driving husband, Doug. Other than ReQueered Tales, Matt works at a bookstore, a comic book store, and an academic library. His traveling bookstore appears at comic cons, gay pride events, book fairs, and flea markets. He is also kept busy as one of the administrators of the Gay Mystery-Suspense-Thriller FB page. He has four hobbies; collecting gay mysteries, collecting Dr. Doom comic book appearances, going to used bookstores and pizza restaurants, usually right after the other, and traveling the country via train.”

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