The Bell in the Fog, a dazzling historical mystery by Lev AC Rosen, asks—once you have finally found a family, how far would you go to prove yourself to them?
San Francisco, 1952. Detective Evander “Andy” Mills has started a new life for himself as a private detective—but his business hasn’t exactly taken off. It turns out that word spreads fast when you have a bad reputation, and no one in the queer community trusts him enough to ask an ex-cop for help.
When James, an old flame from the war who had mysteriously disappeared, arrives in his offices above the Ruby, Andy wants to kick him out. But the job seems to be a simple case of blackmail, and Andy’s debts are piling up. He agrees to investigate, despite everything it stirs up.
The case will take him back to the shadowy, closeted world of the Navy, and then out into the gay bars of the city, where the past rises up to meet him, like the swell of the ocean under a warship. Missing people, violent strangers, and scandalous photos that could destroy lives are a whirlpool around him, and Andy better make sense of it all before someone pulls him under for good.
"Gripping...Rosen’s candid portrayal of the casual cruelties perpetrated on queer people in the 1950s provides a novel and edifying foundation for a traditional mystery. Readers will be ready for the next Mills adventure as soon as this one ends" –Publishers Weekly
"The result is an atmospheric historical novel as well as a gritty noir mystery that will thrill both readers who already love Andy Mills and those meeting him for the first time." –BookPage, starred review
Praise for Lavender House:
"Movingly explores the strain of trying to pass as straight at a time when living an authentic life could be deadly." –New York Times Book Review
“Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen is a new take on a Golden Age crime novel. Its 1950s setting is richly cinematic, with gin martinis, bananas foster and a fantastic mid-century soundtrack... Everything about the crime — the perpetrator, the victim, the motive — has a deeper meaning." –Washington Post
"Rosen’s deftly clued, noir-tinged plot successfully walks the line between hope and heartbreak, all while thoughtfully exploring the role of family in our lives. This fresh take on the classic private investigator begs to be brought to the big screen." –Library Journal, starred review
"Rosen’s smart, bittersweet tale plays with the oldest truth of all: the price we pay for our identity in America." –Walter Mosley
"Lavender House is a fabulous, genre-bending mystery-noir, told with wit, panache and style. Lev Rosen is one of a kind and just gets better and better—his eye for characters is both acerbic and compassionate, and his story-telling is top notch." –Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepwalk
"Tightly spun and utterly immersive, Lev AC Rosen delivers a deliciously twisty and queer whodunnit in Lavender House. With a mid-century mystery as sprawling as its titular mansion, the velvet knives in this one are sharp as hell." –P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
"Terrific... a brisk, entertaining novel...Rosen’s novel is a winning homage to old-time crime fiction." –San Francisco Chronicle
"Readers who love queer history, complicated family dynamics, flawed characters and a good murder mystery will be eager for more. Perfect for fans of Knives Out, Lavender House is a queer, mid-century take on the family-centric murder mystery showcasing Lev AC Rosen's masterful character development." –Shelf Awareness
"This book’s real pleasure lies in the richly realized portrayal of its cast and their personal struggles. Rosen puts a welcome gay spin on the traditional country house whodunit." –Publishers Weekly