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Under the Mink

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  34 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
New York City, 1949. At the Candy Box Club, three steps below the street, the show is about to begin. But in this club, the world is upside down. Emcee Blackie Cole is Blanche Cohen, the chorus line is led by a stunning dark-eyed boy named Titanic, and the only thing protecting the performers from the social reformers is Stevie, the kingpin of the mob's downtown operation, ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published April 11th 2001 by Alyson Books (first published April 1st 2001)
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Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
“She was a real stand-up kind of broad, the kind you want on your side in a fair fight. Kelly could only wonder how Blackie did it. She had gorgeous dames coming out of the woodwork.”

Initially i resisted this. Eh. But once i allowed myself to slip into the late night B movie rhythm, the vernacular like “ugly mug” and “gorgeous dish” written as a fine Lesbian noir set in 1949, i began to enjoy the ride.
The plot is clever with several surprising twists; some grisly, not made-for-LifetimeTV, moment
Emily Joyce
Reading books is kind of like my third date policy. There comes a point where you shouldn't be convincing yourself you enjoy it. You try it, you try it some more to give it another chance, you try on last time... but ultimately it's something you just don't really like.

The premise of this book is very cool, but the writing is a little clunky. And the historical references and slang can be heavy handed. So much use of "dame."
Under the Mink is a great premise, but it never came together for me. It's not humid and over-heated like a Megan Abbott novel, so it just comes off as affected. It's not ambitious in the way Sarah Waters novels are, so it seems shallow. It decides about halfway through that it's committed to the unhappy realities of a world of social imbalances . . . which is fine, and very noir, but it definitely started off like a novel aiming for campy fun and/or a reclamation of pulp fiction - so the shift ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book leaned heavily on kitschy language and repeating the plot in that old dime store novel kind of way. I get the intent, but it came at the expense of real character development. I would be interested in reading something by the author in a more modern style.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
I was led to believe that this was about butch lesbians acting as enforcers for the New York City mob scene (which really happened!), but instead it was a kind of mealy little slice into the city's underground queer club life in the 1940s. Which could have still been sexy, or interesting, or gripping, but instead was just kind of....boring. Davis seemed to put more energy into the costume descriptions than in any kind of plot or character development, though I always enjoy reading books in which ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-chicklit
Fun very quick read.

The execution of the period setting was super heavy-handed, but in a silly sort of way that made it kinda campy.

All of the women in this book were presented with overwrought physical description usually accompanied by a note about their likeness to such-and-such celebrity of the time period.

Needs more girl on girl sex. A surprising amount of cock/dildos for a book with a lesbian protagonist.

No spoilers, but the ending is unsatisfying and sorta deus-ex-y.
k reads
Sep 18, 2015 marked it as dnf
I may come back to this at a later point but since I started it in September and haven't made much progress, I'm putting it aside for now.
Jul 21, 2007 rated it liked it
a pleasant little period, butch/femme/mobster piece.
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian-mystery
In 1949 New York City, Blackie Cole, dressed in an immaculate tux and tie, and with her short hair slicked back, is a popular chanteuse at a nightclub that features musical acts by cross dressers of both sexes. Her popularity and career are going great guns until she finds a dead body in the restroom and glimpses the killer as he runs from the scene.

The nightclub is owned and managed by the mob. Blackie is a kid from the streets, so when her boss tells her to keep her mouth buttoned about ever
Anne Paschke
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Definitely an interesting setting - fun trashy novel, though not particularly well written and the ending was unsatisfying. Still worth the read!
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Hey..this was a good read! Sad twists..but hey..that's life! Love and dirt..there are no barriers.
Thankx Lisa E. Davis.
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
glimpse into the history of LGBTQ people in the 50's. Pleasant, not engrossing.
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Lisa E. Davis has lived in Greenwich Village for many years and loves to write about it. "Under The Mink" is her first novel. For the world of "Under the Mink" see her essay "The Butch as Drag Artiste: Greenwich Village in the Roaring Forties" in Joan Nestle's "The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader." Also visit the book website:

With a Ph.D. in Comparative Literatu
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