A Sticky End

In the first week as Lambda’s Erotica editor I received enough pornography to keep a lonely woodsman happy an entire winter.  The first one I picked up was A Sticky End, a Mitch Mitchell mystery (great alliteration).  Mitchell is a wealthy doctor out to discover who murdered Bartlett a wealthy married man who’d lavished attentions and gifts on Morgan, a married banker who is Mitchell’s favorite bottom. When I came out in 1973 gay bankers and doctors lived in the closet.  I knew them but never lived there because my gay friends were Hippies and I made a career as an out gay man working for three Mayors of San Francisco and various civic groups.  Nothing pornographic about that, but on nights and weekends I earned my gay bona fides in the bars, baths and private clubs.  James Lear’s A Sticky End jolted me back into those years providing all the details of the time and place and the fear of discovery.  The book has all the intricacies befitting a Sherlock Holmes mystery and Mitchell has a libido that never fails him when there’s another character he can fuck.   In  late 20th century England we meet all the hard bodies, greedy mouths and willing asses for an arousing afternoon’s read.  Like the good modern gay hero Mitchell takes it up the ass as well as fucking countless hard supple bodies.  Two excerpts give a bit of the flavor of the book.  Mitchell and Bert, a muscular man, go to a music hall in London.  The Duchess Theater is “elaborately decorated – vulgarly…with glass shades fashioned to resemble flame.”  Customers snooze and one pair of men have their laps covered by raincoats. Bert sticks a couple of fingers in Mitchell’s butt during a performance of a Mayfair dandy who changes into a policeman’s uniform that is taken off to reveal a young female.  In another scene Tahib a masseur “was getting firmer now, using he heels of his palms to press against my rib cage, pushing the air out of my lungs and forcing me to breathe heavily. The rush of oxygen into my body was intoxicating – and of course my cock got harder.” This is a story that kept my interest with plenty of muscles, sweat and a dollop of affection as Mitchell meets and seduces enough men to solve the mystery and save his friend.  The book reminded me of Joseph Hansen’s Brandstetter mysteries that were the first popular gay fiction I read that had no apologetic tone that involved a sober, wealthy insurance investigator and his wild Black boyfriend living well and solving crimes in Los Angeles.


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