Naked Came the Detective
by Glendall C. Jackson III
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Print Length: 100 pages
Reviewed by Kathy L. Brown
Murder intrudes on the Washington, DC “floating world” of privilege, power, and pleasure.
In Naked Came the Detective, author Glendall C. Jackson III treats the reader to a fast-paced and fascinating tale that upends the dead call-girl stereotype commonly found in detective stories.
The book’s narrator leads a busy, well-organized life, entertaining the rich and powerful of Washington, D.C. on her own terms. However, the shocking murder of a client disturbs her sense of controlled equipoise. Their latest rendezvous was mere hours before the crime. Yet, the attack also piques her curiosity, providing her an even stronger motive to ask around about the murder.
“Ben wasn’t a favorite, but the proximity of sex and death shook me. I needed to process my emotions. I’d always been a mystery buff—Nancy Drew was my childhood favorite—and a bit of a snoop.”
She finds it’s easy to get information; every client seems to have known the guy, and many had an axe to grind. Ben, as it turns out, was pretty shady. He had enemies and an investment house of cards about ready to fall. Our sleuth expertly pumps witnesses for information, analyzes the data, and trusts her gut instincts to trap a killer.
This novella is presented as a memoir penned by an exclusive, expensive escort. In a clever framing device, she has sent the manuscript to a reporter, Chris, a former client. Chris describes the situation’s background and clarifies industry jargon but also expresses his own high regard for the escort-turned-detective.
Naked Came the Detective’s prose is skillfully rendered, a smooth and confident voice the reader can trust. The book integrates fascinating worldbuilding details, enriching the background in the reader’s mind.
Serious social issues are embedded in the real-life world of prostitution: human trafficking, mental and physical abuse, arrest, and disease, just to name a few. None of these issues touch our detective’s world. It’s not that kind of book. As the narrator explains, “…the perfect phrase for the unusual milieu that exists between escorts and their clients [is]— ‘the floating world.’…used to describe the pleasure-seeking environment of Edo-era Japan with its brothels, geisha and merchants…”
Like a lot of cozy mysteries, the crime occurs off stage, and its victim is a disagreeable person, barely lamented, and an amateur sleuth takes on the investigation as the police are clearly incompetent. The world of the mystery is distinct and interesting, a fun place to get lost for a few hours of storytelling. Much attention is devoted to the ins-and-outs of the escort business, which are convincingly and tastefully described in just the right amount of detail.
Both cozy mystery & hard-boiled detective fiction fans will find much to love in this engrossing, quick afternoon delight of a read where the stereotypical female victim gets up and solves the crime herself.
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