“Death Goes Overboard” by David S. Pederson— Lies, Secrets and Scandals

Pederson, David S. “Death Goes Overboard”, Bold Strokes Books, 2017.

Lies, Secrets and Scandal

Amos Lassen

Small-time thug Gregory Slavinsky is a small-time thug who borrowed $25,000 from businessman/ gangster Ballantine. After missing a loan payment, Slavinsky booked a weekend cruise on a Lake Michigan steamer, which sails from Milwaukee and has stops in Chicago, Mackinac Island and Ontario Canada. Ballantine and his bodyguard, George. Also booked the cruise in order to make sure Slavinsky doesn’t escape into Canada with the money. Also on board or Mr. Alex Whitaker and Mrs. Vivian Woodfork (his elderly aunt), Detective Heath Barrington, his working partner, Alan Keynes and undercover policeman Grant Riker are there to monitor the “criminal element.” When a body goes overboard and the money is missing, no one knows if it is suicide or murder. Another question that everyone seems to have is where is the money now. And where’s the money?

This is by and large a murder/mystery that is set in 1947, a time when

homosexuality was still considered a mental defect with the distinct possibility of one losing your job, getting arrested or “put in an institution and diagnosed as diseased if caught. Pedersen really introduces us to two men who find a way to deal with the difficulties of being gay and living a happy life. It is the mystery holds our interest throughout while at the same time we get a look at gay men in America after WWII.

The plot unfolds through the eyes, ears and perspective of Detective Heath Barrington and the mystery aspects of the book keep us guessing. Ballantine and Keynes are up against gangsters, con artists, and seductive Grant Riker, a fellow policeman who could come between Heath and Alan and upset their romance. 

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