Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Best friends and sometimes lovers Edward “Mitch” Mitchell and Harry “Boy” Morgan have been in terrible jams before — their adventures of murder, mystery, and unstoppable sex have madeThe Back Passage and The Secret Tunnel international bestellers. InA Sticky End, Mitch must face the possibility that Boy is involved in the chain of events that led to the suicide of his own colleague and secret paramour, Frank Bartlett. To absolve Boy, Mitch races around London finding clues while bedding the many men eager to lend a hand — or more. The policemen, working class gigolos, steam room bathers, embezzlers, and blackmailers that Mitch comes across create a tasty mystery and satisfying erotic romp.
Yes, it is the third and the last part of the series and yes, I read it as the first. Go, shoot me. ;p Anyway the novel works as a stand-alone decently well. It is set in England in the 1920s, London to be more precise, and is narrated in the first person limited voice by an American doctor who is supposed to attend a conference. In reality, however, he is cheating on his current boyfriend, Vince, with his long-time uni pal Harry ‘Boy’ Morgan now a prosperous and very properly married banker. Or at least such are his intentions before Morgan gets implicated in a nasty suicide which happened under his own roof and might be actually a cold-blooded murder. Also be warned: in perfect accordance with the quite impressive act on the cover the novel is full of male-on-male sex scenes; still, believe it or not, they are integral to the plot. Well, almost integral, that is.
I must admit I have read a lot of mysteries in my life but never before I encountered an investigator, professional or amateur, like Edward Mitchell, Mitch for friends. Sherlock Holmes in his hour of need had Dr Watson, cocaine and violin, Hercule Poirot had his grey cells, liqueur de cassis and square pastries, Miss Marple liked to indulge in tea, observing human nature and bird-watching; our dear Mitch needs nothing but his libido. Consider this little statement to be very literal – yes, the main lead simply f**ks his way through the investigation, hitting on basically every male in his proximity which moves on two legs: policemen, suspects, his beloved Morgan of course (a friend with benefits after all even if married) and different strangers met here and there, sometimes more than one at the same occasion. Now comes a shocker – the tactic actually produces results.
Such a ‘magic penis effect’ would be unbearable if only the author treated his hero and book in a serious way. Fortunately Mitch is also a master of subtle irony and humorous remarks which have a very positive effect on his narration; some scenes which, penned by other authors, I would most likely found at least horribly tacky, maybe even completely unpalatable, here were funny. I especially enjoyed (translation: almost cried with laughter) his seduction of Jack McDermott, a gorgeous but not especially bright male prostitute working also as a Royal Guard. A hint: Mitchell, a physician by profession, was ‘playing doctor’ with McDermott in a very deliberate way…
Overall, to my own surprise I found the book quite palatable and the plot pleasant enough, even if the mystery was ‘barely there’, slightly overshadowed by ‘those’ scenes. The baddie proved to be SPOILER a homophobic jerk but at least he wasn’t a ‘she’ – a move I personally expected. Still the bittersweet ending proved the author is an intelligent man and it pleased me accordingly.
A sexually explicit his-fic mystery. An Agatha Christie with gay orgies. A sex laced cozy whodunit set among characters straight from Downton Abbey. If those terms don’t scare you then I would say, go for it when the mood strikes. Still don’t be surprised if you find yourself skipping some parts of the text.