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~Henry Miller

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Fires of London

Fires of London - Janice Law 3, 4 stars.

There is one reason why I decided to read Janice Law.
There are actually 2 reasons, but I wouldn't have read it if not the reason number one. So, it is the only reason why I picked her book.

The second book in the Francis Bacon's Mystery, [b:The Prisoner of the Riviera|17912870|The Prisoner of the Riviera (Francis Bacon, #2)|Janice Law|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1382417026s/17912870.jpg|25100618] won the 26th Lambda Awards as a best gay mystery and I'm a big mystery fan. A gay mystery fan. And I wished the 26th Lammy to another book, the one that has a special place in my heart. It's why I'm going to read all finalists for the 26th Lambda Awards in the gay mystery category and share my opinion about these books.

Don't ask me, why I decided to google the name Francis Bacon, my general knowledge of surrealism is limited by Salvador Dalí. And I'm glad I did it. I'm not going to report you everything I found about this painter "known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery." But you have to know that his painting in November 2013 has set a new world record price for an art auction at that time, after selling for $142.4 million.


To discover that the MC in the Francis Bacon's Mystery is a real artist was a surprise that awakened my interest even more.

Thought it is not a biography novel, it is a mystery fiction.
Janice Law is a very talented and powerful writer and her writing style belongs to the most sophisticated prose I've read but it's for sure not an everybody's taste.
Her writing could be hardly seen as straightforward, it is rather like a pattern of the most delicate word's lace. It's fascinating to follow it but it is exhausting at the same time.

The mystery was actually good written and there is absolutely no reason to question Janice Law's skills as a historical mystery's writer. She achieved a perfection in the creating of the atmosphere of WWII London during The Blitz.

So, why the rating?

So, my problem number one was the MC.
I would have liked Fires of London probably much more if I could have found Fancis Bacan as a protagonist more attractive and appealing. And I swear it is nothing to do with his REAL picture I had found by googling and that I had on my mind while reading it.
I tried very hard to forget it.
Fancis Bacan as a narrator was Okay, smart, intelligent, careful and witty - the first person's POV was good written - but he didn't make my heart race.
Even when he was in a real danger.

My problem number two - the absence of sex scenes.

And here I have to ask your opinion:
WHEN a mystery could be consider as a GAY MYSTERY?

* Is it enough to take a gay person as a protagonist, write a normal mystery and put it in the category of a GAY MYSTERY?
I thought, I can distinguish MM romance novels from a gay fiction in meantime. But I find it very complicated to define a gay mystery.

* How many gay sex is allowed to stamp a mystery as a gay mystery? How to differ a gay mystery at all? When becomes a mystery a gay mystery?

*And do the detailed sex scenes unnecessary to define a gay fiction?

* Is it enough if an investigation takes place in homosexual milieu - BECAUSE a gay boy was murdered - to consider a mystery a gay mystery?

For me it is rather biographical mystery than a gay mystery. Francis Bacon was a gay artist. Of course he has gay friends, but also not only.
You can't reject to read a biography of some famous person only because he had/has other sexual preferences than you! It's absurd!
We can't consider every book where children appear as a children book.
The way we can't consider every book with a gay MC as a gay fiction.

I can excuse Joseph Hansen, his first novels were published in the early 70s. But the [b:Fires of London|15742616|Fires of London (Francis Bacon, #1)|Janice Law|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1366655865s/15742616.jpg|21430164] was published 2012.
I have my big doubts that I can consider it as a gay mystery.

The first book in the series left a lot of questions open, it is why I don't think that the mystery would be much different in the second book.

But I'll read it, because I want to understand why it won the 26th Lammy as the best gay mystery.