Monday, January 22, 2024

Icarus in Heels and Fur: A Murder Mystery

My next neighborhood history zine, Icarus in Heels and Fur, comes out February 22nd. Without exaggeration, I think it may be the best thing I've ever written. Pre-order here. This one is essentially a noir murder mystery from the 1940s:

When, after her husband's murder, a petite but ruthless widow builds a thriving nightclub empire in 1940s Austin, her roller coaster of bebop-era decadence, ambition, and danger climaxes in a sordid, unsolved murder, leaving her young lover on trial for his life.

Cover art by Lakeem Wilson

The central character, Vera Barton, more or less put the fatale in femme fatale, with friends, husbands, and employees all at risk seemingly just from proximity. And yet, she was big-hearted, family-oriented, and a savvy young businesswoman. Until she showed up dead in the back of her Caddy.

Vera was the sister-in-law of Essie Mae Barton, the entrepreneur profiled in my first neighborhood zine, "Meet Me At Hudspeth's Corner," published last July. Vera was a much spicier figure, though: basically a gangster version of Essie Mae. Zine launch will be February 22nd, 6:30 p.m., at the Future Front meeting space, the site of Vera's old Barton's Tavern on East 12th Street. District Attorney Jose Garza will co-host the event: Open records requests for historical documents from his office made the research possible, and all sorts of fascinating criminal-justice policy questions arise from the story.

Josie Duffy Rice, a well-known criminal-justice-reform advocate and former editor-in-chief at The Appeal, served as guest editor. That was particularly fun; I've been looking for a project to work with her on for a while.

Please help spread the word. Pre-orders really help w/ the economics of zine publishing, so if you're interested, order now and I'll mail it to you as soon as it's out. 

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