With Lavender House, Lev Ac Rosen has turned the locked-room mystery with its hard-boiled detective hero on its head with stunning results. Detective Andy Mills is fired from the San Francisco police department in the 1950s after being caught in a raid on a gay bar. He is diverted from killing himself in despair by Pearl, who hires him to investigate the apparent murder of her wife at their estate, Lavender House. Behind the fortress-like walls, lives her queer family, who present as “normal” to the dangerous outside world, but who live for themselves and each other on the inside. The novel echoes all kinds of film noir traditions but is ultimately about the protection of the family—in this case, the family you choose instead of the one you were born to. It’s a winner. Recommended by Mary
A delicious story from a new voice in suspense, Lev AC Rosen's Lavender House is Knives Out with a queer historical twist.