Kristin Lambert

Books: Mystery | LGBT 

The Boy in the Red Dress (2020)

The Boy in the Red Dress (2020)

The Boy in the Red DressSet in New Orleans in 1930.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Millie Coleman is in charge of her aunt’s speakeasy for the evening. When a rich young woman comes looking for her aunt’s star performer, Marion Leslie, Millie does what she can to protect Marion.

When that young lady is found dead soon after a confrontation with Marion, Millie does everything she can to protect both her aunt’s speakeasy and her best friend.

I’m not quite sure what it was, but I found myself skimming parts of this story. I like mysteries. I love the characters. But still, I skimmed.

Part of the problem is that I wasn’t quite in the mood for this YA. Millie is a teenager and she made teenager mistakes. Which is normal for teenagers. But I didn’t want to read about those mistakes that come from lack of experience combined with the hubris of the young.

Another problem is that I have concerns about the time in which the story was set: the very start of 1930. Which while still during Prohibition, was after the stock market crash of 1929.

The crash would not have affected Millie or her friends that much (yet anyway), but it feels unlikely that the rich young things who came to the speakeasy on New Years Eve would have been untouched by the crash, which set off The Great Depression. (Obviously the Great Depression was more than just that crash, but still, it felt bizarre for it to not even be mentioned.)

And although I liked the murder mystery, I have a hard time believing that Millie would have been able to solve everything as quickly and easily as she did (especially the bits that involved breaking and entering).

So the characters were marvelous, and I recommend the book for spending time with them. But other parts of the story were weak and that was a bit disappointing.

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers 

Rating: 6.5/10