Death with Dignity

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No 3, Fall 1991. 

Cover of Death With DignityDeath with Dignity. By Jack Ricardo. Banned Books, 1991. Paper. $8.95. (ISBN 0-934422-34-4)

In the small east Florida town of Rivera Beach, a chapter of Dignity, a gay Catholic organization, is struggling for existence. Deacon Pete Jenco joins and the chapter begins to grow. Deacon Pete is a rebel. He is recently estranged from his wife; taken up with hustler Scott; is actively supporting a group against the direction of the church; and performed a para-liturgy using consecrated wafers.

Private investigator Jim Halden, after two years of celibacy, attends his second meeting of Dignity and discovers Deacon Pete’s body. Who did it? Deacon Pete’s estranged wife? Sam, an organizer of Dignity? Bobby, Sam’s partner? Schizophrenic Grant? Johnny? Sister Sandra? Hustler Scott? Halden joins investigative forces with police officer Hap Gannet. Gannet, unsatisfactorily married, earlier had a three-month relationship with Halden, which resumes in the end. The force of this book is not one of murder and detection. The strength of this book is its detailing of the relationships of the characters and their struggle to exist with Dignity. Recommended for comprehensive collections.

Reviewed by David Streeter
Pomona Public library
Pomona, California


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