Friday, June 1, 2018

Gentlemen Formerly Dressed by Sulari Gentill

book cover
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed
by Sulari Gentill

ISBN-13: 9781464206955
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: June 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The dedicated black sheep of his conservative, wealthy Australian family, Rowland Sinclair prefers to leave managing the immense family fortune and politics to his elder brother, Wil, while pursuing a life as a gentleman artist. A life in company of boho housemates Clyde, a fellow painter; Milton, a plagiarising poet; and Edna, the beautiful, emancipated sculptress who is both his muse and the (unacknowledged) love of his life.

Having barely escaped 1933 Germany while reluctantly pursuing an off-the-books mission in Munich, the usually stoic Rowly remains horrified and deeply troubled by the changes that have come about under the Nazi government. The country which he knew in his early twenties as the centre of modern art and culture, is now, under Hitler, oppressed and sanitised. Tortured by the SA for the degeneracy of his own paintings, he bears both physical and emotional scars. For the first time he is moved to take a stance politically, to try and sway the political thought of the time. A friend of the Left and son of the Right, Rowland doesn't really know what he is doing, or what should be done, but he is consumed with a notion that something should be done. Plus he needs to recuperate.

And so Rowly and his friends make for England rather than returning to Sydney. In London, in the superlative luxury of Claridge's, they feel safe. Then Viscount Pierrepont is discovered in his club, impaled by a sword. Pierrepont is sporting a frilly negligée and makeup - so, a sex crime? Too embarrassing. And too bizarre a death for this aging gentleman, and him newly wed. His murder, and the suspicion falling on his young niece, quickly plunge the Australians into a queer world of British aristocracy, Fascist Blackshirts, illicit love, scandal, and spies ranging from London and its suburbs to Bletchley Park and Oxford, and inevitably drawing in Wil Sinclair as well as players like H.G. Wells and Winston Churchill. It's a world where gentlemen are not always what they are dressed up to be.

My Review:
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed is a mystery set in June and July 1933 in England. This is the fifth novel in a series. This story referred back to events that happened in previous books, especially the fourth book. The events that happened in Germany still impact the characters during this book, so I'd recommend reading that story before this one.

The main characters were interesting, caring people. Since an innocent girl was being accused of murder, they asked questions despite being warned off by people trying to hush up the crime. Since the murdered man was found in a woman's nightgown, they looked into a possible homosexual connection. There were enough clues that I could guess whodunit shortly before Rowley. The main characters also tried to warn people in Britain about Hitler and what's going on in Germany. Interesting historical details were woven into the the story and touch on the crime.

There was some bad language (if you're American) to a fair amount of bad language (if you count British/Australia bad words). There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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