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Murder at the Nightwood Bar

(Kate Delafield #2)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  616 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Kate Delafield investigates the murder of a homeless 19-year-old addict-prostitute, whose battered body is found outside a popular lesbian bar.
Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 1st 1988 by Alyson Books (first published January 1st 1987)
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3.83  · 
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 ·  616 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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This was an expetacular read!
I can say with all certainty that until now, this is the best book I have ever read in the category of lesbian literature of mystery/ crime / police investigation.
Katherine V. Forrest did an incredible job on this volume of the series; I had really enjoyed the first volume, but this one surpassed all my expectations.
I will not go into details, because the review would get too long. However, issues such as abuse, incest, pedophilia, racism, homophobia, rape, among oth
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was simply amazing! I read it under 24 hours and lost track of the number of times it made me cry! Forget Rizzoli and Isles this is a proper lesbian detective. This book was part murder mystery and also part social commentary. I bought a recent edition, 2003 and thought it was a modern book set in the 80s, but then I went back and saw that it was actually first published in 1985. It is such an interesting snapshot of the lesbian community at that time. Issues of women being out at work ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt-girls, mystery, crime
I really enjoyed this book, definitely more than I did Amateur City (the first in the series). I guess the murder was a more interesting one to read about - 19-year-old girl outside a gay nightbar, instead of a middle-aged business man, with its supporting cast of characters being mostly all the other lesbians who frequent said bar rather than more boring old business men :P It also reminded me a LOT of an episode of SVU, which I guess added to the interest? I could get into it more because of t ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Quick note only:

I read Forrest's Daughters of a Coral Dawn a few years back and was sort of ho-hum about it: take away its lesbian agenda and you were left with a pretty poor sf novel. This is the first of her mysteries I've tried, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Lesbian LAPD homicide cop Kate Delafield investigates the murder of a young, innocent-seeming woman outside a well known lesbian bar, and encounters dark secrets, wise and foolish lesbians, a brief romance, and eventually a solution
Jun 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a period piece -- sort of a quintessential lesbian murder mystery. The protagonist is a closeted police detective thrust into the investigation of a lesbian at a lesbian bar. Though some of the supporting characters at the bar are (*cough*) a little broadly drawn, they do seem to reflect the culture of the era (though I wasn't exactly hanging out in lesbian bars in the mid-1980s, being in elementary school at the time).

Though I don't want to give away the plot, I will warn you that the
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
just re-read this for the umpteenth time and still a great story. Kate knows who she is a female cop who is a lesbian. This is not a coming out story, but a mystery with a lesbian lead.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Margie by: Mary Jo
Shelves: mystery, series
Although I much prefer the Brits for murder mysteries, this was quite servicable. Much less broadly drawn and overwrought than some lesbian fiction tends to be.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Forrest's books, aside from being satisfyingly well-written, also provide a fascinating window into the past and what life was like for a more-or-less out lesbian in 80s Los Angeles. It feels like holding something very precious in one's hands. I kept thinking... this person was there. This is their perspective on what it was really like.

The book very openly deals with homophobia and lesbians' vulnerability to state violence. It was also interesting to see the gay/lesbian solidarity in the form
Sarah M.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. I had actually seen this book recommended in a review of another book that I bought during the same time and I was instantly fascinated. A lesbian detective in the 1980s? That's literally my jam. This was a fun book despite the horrific tragedy spoken about therein. There are some inaccuracies as far as the criminal justice system goes and some dated stereotypes in re: black men so take warning. The characters are colorful in personality, the lead is noir-angsty (which is ex ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lesbians
Damn, this series is incredible. Finished book 1 and 2 in three days, would probably have tried to finish the entire series by now if I'd had time. Love the characters, story, writing. This is my new favorite series.
Kat Kam
very entertaining, sometimes a little flat in terms of foreseeable turns in the storyline, a good holiday read.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kate Delafield is a lesbian detective as skillfully drawn as Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and other "biggies" in female-led mystery fiction.
Lexxi Kitty
Most books I rate five stars I know right away that it's possible. Oh, something might happen that lowers it, sometimes all the way to 1 star, or even no stars, but I tend to know. This one? Sneaked up on me. I figured for the longest time, while I was reading it, that it would likely end up being somewhere between a three and four star work. There wasn't really anything to put it there, just nothing that leapt out at me grabbed me by the neck and screamed "this will be a five star book". At lea ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing read, that's well-plotted, and that definitely improves towards its end. Its character scenes are definitely worthy of more stars. Unfortunately, it perhaps only improves towards the end because I got used to the style of writing, which is, most of the time, pretty basic and obvious. Any subtlety and symbolism is painfully pointed out and explained, and any connections are made clear through an excessive use of italics and ellipsis (which, to be fair, as the book progresses, do act ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Murder at the Nightwood Bar: a Kate Delafield Mystery, by Catherine V. Forrest, a-minus, Borrowed from National Library Services for the Blind.

This is one of the earliest Kate Delafield mysteries. Kate is a detective in the Los Angeles Police Department starting in the 1980’s. Kate is also a lesbian, not very “out” at work. But she and her partner are called to the scene of a murder at the Nightwood Bar, a lesbian bar. A woman has been living in a van on the property, and she is murdered right
Karla Huebner
Sep 11, 2011 added it
Shelves: mystery
Like many of the mysteries I've unpacked and raced through when too tired to continue reading academic books or novels that I want to pay close attention to, this doesn't read quite as well today as it did twenty years ago. It wasn't bad, and in the 1980s it had the virtue of being one of not all that many lesbian mystery novels, but overall its main interest lies in its being (now) somewhat of a period piece. The psychology of the various characters, especially the victim's parents, is pretty p ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually read a book I think I won't like after I read a book that I absolutely loved. Perhaps this is a strange process, but I'm always afraid something moderately good will suffer by comparison. After all, don't we date bad people so that we'll know exceptional when we see it? This book was actually not as bad as I expected, it was at least entertaining. I'm not really sure how all these mystery books get in my house, but perhaps it has something to do with the number of houseguests I have in ...more
Freyja Vanadis
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Forrest injects too much of her own lesbian emotions into the book instead of staying objective. And one thing that really irritates me is that, in her efforts to make men look as repulsive as possible, she makes sure to point out that certain men have thick, darkly-matted hairy forearms. I'm a true blue dyed in the wool lesbian, but even I'm not as much of a man-hater as she is.
Very disappointed to read this again after 15ish years.
#mystery Solid LA noir detective story with a 1980s (post-Stonewall, pre-Ellen) lesbian theme. This was one of three books taught by my Tampere colleague Maarit in a course on detectives with a difference, and bought at the campus bookshop by me to read on the train. It was good then and good now; I would read others by the same author.
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Katherine Forrest is my all time favorite writer of lesbian mysteries. This is the second book in her LAPD homicide detective Kate Delafield series. As I worked my way through this series; I grew in my knowledge of social justice.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, queer
The writing is...oh, let me not criticize. It's a fun little murder mystery with a good twist at the end. The epilogue made me tear up a little.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
more dectecting with flash or lesbian romance truly Great
Sarah Digard
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sarahs-favorites
Gay + true crime. How much better can it get?
Dani love
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great read
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
While the themes treated were interesting, I felt the book was quite poorly written.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Very well done; a police investigation by a lesbian detective.
Jun 06, 2014 added it
See the comments in the Lesbian Mystery Reading Group, found here: Lesbian Mysteries.
Richard Dagneau
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every gay person should read this one.
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Katherine V. Forrest is the groundbreaking author of Curious Wine, the Kate Delafield mystery series and the Daughters science-fiction series. She’s also known as a prolific editor with anthology and non-fiction credits in her own name as well as the editor of hundreds of novels. Dozens of lesbian writers count her among their mentors. Selected as the 2009 recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s Bi ...more

Other books in the series

Kate Delafield (9 books)
  • Amateur City (Kate Delafield, #1)
  • The Beverly Malibu (Kate Delafield, #3)
  • Murder by Tradition (Kate Delafield, #4)
  • Liberty Square (Kate Delafield, #5)
  • Apparition Alley (Kate Delafield, #6)
  • Sleeping Bones (Kate Delafield, #7)
  • Hancock Park (Kate Delafield, #8)
  • High Desert (Kate Delafield, #9)
“They ought to put a statement on the Bible just like they put on cigarettes - like, the contents of this book may freeze-dry your brains.” 2 likes
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