Tag Archives: #Crossdressing

Flynn, Sabrina; A Bitter Draught (Ravenwood Mysteries II) (2015)

I have followed Sabrina Flynn‘s writing since her début novel. It simply does not do her justice to say that her writing has improved immensely. That she happens to throw in important issues as well, is frosting on A Bitter Draught.

Humphrey glanced at the envelope again. Muttering under his breath about redheads and their strange temperaments, he opened the envelope, hoping he wasn’t going to get arrested. It held a neatly folded slip of paper. When he unfolded the slip, a single line of elegant words ran its width. A cold prickle pierced Humphrey’s neck and crawled down his spine, producing a shiver that no San Franciscan wind had yet managed.

And so our story begins. San Francisco around the turn of the 19th century was a hot-bed of racism, corruption and bigotry.

“For murdering a Negro woman? The police all but accused my wife of harlotry.”

Isobel Saavedra Amsel (formerly Kingston), aka Bel, aka Charlotte Bonnie, aka Mr. Morgan is back in town and finds San Francisco unforgiving of people running out of capital. Bel has never been a helpless damsel, waiting for her knight in shining armor, and she aims to solve her emptying purse. The San Francisco Call hints at a solution.

Reporter Charlotte Bonnie gets wind of an unusual death on Ocean Beach. That people die after entering the water at Ocean Beach is in and of itself not interesting. It is a dangerous place to wade. What makes Ms. Bonnie’s detecting muscles stretch is the note in the sand that went with the death of Violet. Clues are given early on and continue throughout the story. Keep your eyes open and brain at attention and you may well solve the mystery before our favorite cross-dresser does.

Mr. Morgan is not alone in his cross-dressing. We also meet our favorite gender fluid and gay side-kick, Loratio, aka Madame de Winter, aka Paris. Since before they ran away to the circus, Bel and Loratio have caused their parents heart problems. Both are wild for their time. People often think of the “Wild West” as wild. And it was. But that wildness was pretty shallow when it came to gender- and sexually-fluid people. Our twins hold many of my favorite moments in this story.

Atticus Riot is both cynical and naïve. Despite his childhood as the son of a crib-whore, he thinks that as long as he does his part in fighting the darker sides of people, justice will prevail. He might also be deemed nuts. Ravenwood has not yet left him and conversations between the two seem a bit one-sided when all people see is Riot. Yet Riot needs both his naivety and his ghost to keep living and helping people. A husband comes to him seeking to understand the death of his wife. They had only been married three months, and the man knew little of her background. San Francisco being San Francisco, Riot warns the husband he may not like the answers he gets. As it turns out, neither does Riot. But the road towards understanding brings him, once again, into contact with Bel.

And Kingston. Will Kingston find out that his dead wife is back in town? Good question.

I loved A Bitter Draught. Yeah. Loved it. Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


My review of From the Ashes (1)


The author gave me a reviewer’s copy of A Bitter Draught


Just because: you-tube clip from 1903 of Ocean Beach w/Cliff House, Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.

 

Dear Miriam, (May 2007)

Rock group U2 femulating for the One video, 1991; Photographer, David Wojnarowicz
Rock group U2 femulating for the One video, 1991;
From femulate.org; photographer, David Wojnarowicz

Dear Miriam,

The other day I set off for work, leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn’t gone a hundred yards down the road when my engine conked out and the car juddered to a halt. I walked back home get my husbands help. When I got home I found him in the bedroom. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was parading in front of the wardrobe mirror dressed in my underwear and high heel shoes, and he was wearing my make up.

I am 32, my husband is 34, and we have been married for 12 years. When I confronted him, he tried to make out that he had dressed up in my lingerie because he couldn’t find any of his own underwear. But when I asked him about the makeup, he broke down and admitted that he has been wearing my clothes for six months. I told him it had to stop, I would leave him.

He was made redundant from his job six month ago, and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum, he has become increasingly distant, and I don’t feel I can get through to him any more. Please can you help?

Mrs. B., Essex

Miriam says…

A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults in the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburettor float chamber.


May 2007 issue of Viz Magazine


The process of getting ready to post this funny is a typical example of how my asperger mind works (i.e. speaking only for myself and not all aspergers).

  1. After learning a little about copyrighting and all of that stuff, a great need has risen in me to find the original source of material.
  2. With my funnies I try to look for pictures that will illustrate the subject. In the case of Dear Miriam I was taken on a journey of discovery.
  3. Hilarious discussions of the correctness of the advice. Did Miriam really know what she was talking about when it came to car problems? There are some funny people out there.
  4. Then a more serious side appeared, one that U2 illustrate. Men in women’s clothing. I realized I still a a ways to go in understanding the complexity of boy/girl roles and what we find acceptable in each other.
  5. So, what was only a funny to begin with has become (for me) something that represents a deeper and much fought over issue in society.