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The Unexpected Heiress (A Nick Williams Mystery, #1)
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Mystery/Whodunnit Discussions > Frank W. Butterfield, The Unexpected Heiress

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message 1: by Ulysses (last edited Jul 16, 2016 08:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ulysses Dietz | 1644 comments The Unexpected Heiress
By Frank W. Butterfield
June, 2016, 116 pages
Four stars

Oh boy, another new author to keep tabs on! Frank W. Butterfield has begun a series of short novels that are, by his own admission, satirical riffs on Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason novels. Set in San Francisco, “The Unexpected Heiress” is the set up for the time, place and the people.

Nick Williams is the richest man in San Francisco. He got that way in spite of being disinherited by his family for being homosexual. But his reprobate of a gay uncle Paul left him a vast fortune in an unbreakable trust. Now Nick works as a private eye, and lives quietly but comfortably with his fireman husband Carter Jones in a bungalow in Eureka Valley, a neighborhood now known as the Castro.

So we are meant to see this is as a fantasy, both tongue in cheek and wistful. Imagine being so rich that the prejudices of the world couldn’t hurt you. It is a reminder (not the first I’ve read, by the way) that San Francisco was not always friendly to its gay citizens, and that post-McCarthy America was a nasty place for anyone who didn’t conform. Butterfield gives us a series of interlocking stories: a tragic death, a raid on a local gay bar, a group of gay friends coping with a hostile world. He writes the lingo of the early 50s detective novel convincingly and with wit, and he also paints us a picture of a group of people who we also wish were our friends. Perhaps the worst part of being gay in the bad old days was loneliness. These folks aren’t lonely, and that makes a huge difference.

The mystery is solved rather easily, and the other plotlines are really used mostly a set up for the premise for the rest of the series. But that didn’t stop me from really enjoying this, and buying book two, “The Amorous Attorney.” Can’t wait to read it.

message 2: by Aussie54 (last edited Jan 10, 2019 02:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aussie54 | 322 comments This does sound good. I had a look at the author's web-site

and found that he's written two sequels* to the mystery books, plus a story in the future (he calls these the Nick and Carter Romances). I might start with the two sequels, and move onto the mysteries if I enjoy the romances.

* should be prequels, I think.

message 3: by Ajax1978 (new)

Ajax1978 | 4 comments Ok I read this first. Then the two prequels. And then the second mystery. Maybe I shouldn't have read them all over the course of three days. There was a whole lot of rehashing going on and some of it was basically several paragraphs word for word from the first book. To me there didn't seem to be a whole lot of active solving the mysteries going on, just a lot of convenient coincidences. And a whole lot of almost every single person they run into turns out to be gay and has the hots for one or both of the MC's. I liked The Unexpected Heiress enough to get the other three books but I'm not so sure if I'll read the third mystery installment if there is one.

Ulysses Dietz | 1644 comments Sounds like a reason to avoid the prequels...!

message 5: by Aussie54 (last edited Jul 24, 2016 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Aussie54 | 322 comments Ulysses wrote: "Sounds like a reason to avoid the prequels...!"
Have to say I downloaded a sample of the first romance prequel, didn't like it, so didn't bother with the mysteries.

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