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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

LGBTQIA+ Mystery Novels

By Rhys Wright, Amy Blay, Shan Heyworth and Rosie Green

If you’re hungry for jaw-dropping twists and elaborate plots, here are some LGBTQIA+ novels with mysteries that will unleash your inner detective.

Killing Jericho by William Hussey

A novel steeped in the culture and folklore of Travellers, William Hussey’s first crime novel presents a macabre mystery that will keep you wondering what’s next.

Scott Jericho’s life is a mess. He’s a vain, drug-addled ex-detective with a temper that cost him his career and his freedom. Fresh out of prison, he’s stuck living with the travelling fairground community he grew up with. But upon learning that a serial killer is recreating a 19th-century disaster that killed five travelling showmen, he races to stop the killer.

Jericho is an openly gay detective that Hussey allows to have all the flaws that make a hard-boiled detective compelling – he’s allowed to be unlikeable at times and makes no shortage of bad decisions. His rougher edges are contrasted with the aching guilt he can’t escape as he’s haunted by the ghosts of three children whose murderer was acquitted because of Jericho’s recklessness.

Killing Jericho is a story enriched by its setting and the fairground dialect that’s scattered throughout Jericho’s narration. Hussey grew up in a travelling community like this, so the culture and dialect are imparted with ease and confidence. All in all, it makes for a unique flavour of crime novel and marks the first instalment of Hussey’s ongoing Scott Jericho Crime Thriller series.

Fortune Favours the Dead by Stephen Spotswood

From award-winning playwright and journalist Stephen Spotswood comes a debut novel described by the Irish Independent Review as a “deft melange of Agatha Christie-style locked-room murder mystery and 1940s Chandler-esque pulp crime fiction.”

New York, 1942. The knife-throwing, circus runaway Willowjean “Will” Parker is taken under the wing of Lillian Pentecost, the city’s best private investigator. Three years later, the dynamic duo are tasked with solving a murder the police couldn’t crack, with rumours that a vengeful spirit is behind the grisly crime. But when Will starts to fall for the daughter of the deceased, a beautiful spiritualist, and their relationship begins to blur into something not-so-professional, Will realises she may have a target on her back.

Will, a gender non-conforming bisexual with a delightfully distinct narrative voice, works well alongside the Holmes-esque Lillian. The memorable pair are written fantastically by Spotswood in this loving tribute to classic detective stories, spun with a modern twist. Fortune Favours the Dead is a strong start to the Pentecost and Parker series, which currently has four instalments, with a fifth publishing in 2025.

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler

Nominated for several awards and recommended on numerous best mystery lists, Devil’s Chew Toy is Rob Osler’s hilarious and page-turning debut novel, and the first instalment in the Hayden and Friends Mystery series.

The novel begins with protagonist Hayden being kicked in the face by go-go dancer Camilo, resulting in a huge black eye and a first date that ends in cuddling at Camilo’s place. However, Hayden wakes up to a missing Camilo, having to take responsibility for Camilo’s dog, Commander, and a visit from the police. Hayden takes matters into his own hands and teams up with Camilo’s lesbian friends Hollister and Burley, discovering more about Camilo and uncovering a mystery full of twists.

Osler’s writing is humorous and engaging, drawing the reader into the mystery as well as bringing the characters and their relationships to life. Devil’s Chew Toy is delightfully queer and also touches on timely themes, including Camilo’s family’s immigrant background. 

This is a fun and “quozy” (queer cozy) story with a diverse cast of likeable characters. The sequel, Cirque du Slay, was released in March 2024. 

Voyage of the Damned by Frances White

Take a group of twelve young people who all hate each other. Give them hidden magical abilities. Then stick them on a ship irrevocably bound on a twelve-day journey. 

Now start killing them off.

When Ganymedes Piscero, known as Dee, sets out on this voyage, his goal is to alienate the other passengers and maintain the lie he’s been raised in. A plan that is complicated when Ravi walks in. Their eyes meet and Dee is transported to a cave long ago, where two young boys shared their greatest secrets. Dee is panicking about how to maintain his facade in front of the one person he’s torn it down for, when the first body drops from the chandelier and, suddenly, he has a whole new problem: trying to stay alive amidst people he’s been encouraging to hate him. Forming unlikely alliances and learning that the people he’s been avoiding aren’t who he thought they were, Dee tries to pick apart the web he’s trapped in as the days count down to their destination.

With wry humour and a captivating romance, Frances White tells a thrilling story about class, survival and finding a way to choose yourself – leaving a wonderfully Agatha Christie-esque trail of bodies behind her as she does so.



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