The Bactra Review: Occasional and eclectic book reviews by Cosma Shalizi   7

Death in the Fifth Position, Death Before Bedtime and Death Likes It Hot

by Edgar Box

Nominally, these are murder mysteries, set in the early 1950s, solved by one Peter Sargent II, a New York public relations man. In fact, they are bright and satirical little comedies by Gore Vidal, written when he was blacklisted for The City and the Pillar, a serious novel where sex between men was presented as perfectly normal. (Mr. Vidal rightly insists that the word ``homosexual'', if must be used, is an adjective, not a noun.) Sargent is Vidal's mouthpiece, particularly when he talks about the American ruling class --- or classes. The mystery is feeble. This is irrelevant; Vidal is always vastly entertaining company, and the books are charming relics of the heyday of the American Empire.
Not currently in print. Various paperback and hardback editions between the 1950s and the early 1990s.
Mysteries / North America
July 1994, last substantive change 22 August 1995