I picked this up on the recommendation of an author I respect, and while I was expecting a good read, I wasn't expecting to be so utterly shattered. On its surface, it's just a straightforward mystery about a guy who may or may not be dead, and the insurance investigator who needs to find out for certain. But just like the brittle prose, there's much, much more to it than that.
While I can appreciate that this is an important hallmark in gay fiction, portraying a gay man as normal as normal can be, the reason this now holds a place on my keeper shelf is the skill with which it hooked me into the wide range of emotions and never let me go. Brandstetter is mourning his 20+ year relationship, and his palpable grief permeates every page, every interaction, every word. The mystery might not necessarily be all that groundbreaking for readers of the genre, but in light of the characters the author creates, and most importantly, the protagonist who guides us through all of it, that doesn't matter. It's just that good.
I liked this, especially since there is no angst in the gay main character, unusual for 1970. More modern than hip, although without cell phones, internet, etc.
1st Dave Bandstetter mystery.