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In Greenwich Village, at the Candy Box Club, a large cast of entertainers graces the stage. In white tie and tails, Blackie Cole is the butch emcee who warms up the crowd with her signature song and a come-hither smile. A stunning, dark-eyed boy named Titanic leads a male chorus line in pink chiffon. They have an uptown ally in Madam Lucille who employs Renee, Blackie's ex, as a high-class hooker. These characters inhabit a shadow world which survives only at the discretion of the mob and cops, like Detective Swazey of the Charles Street Station, who pick up their payoffs. To cross the boss--Stevie the Frenchman, manager of the Candy Box--is to court disaster. But Blackie is brave and in love with a society dame, Didi Fletcher-Payne, who knows Park Avenue better than she does the Village underworld. Between shows they search for the killer of Didi's brother. And in the end, it is a shameful mystery--a jumble of blackmail, lust, and greed--that they unravel.


From Chapter 13
Upstairs in the Fletcher-Payne apartment, there was nobody stirring. In the gilded bedroom, Blackie fingered the zipper on Didi's blue chiffon. Like a bottle cap popping, it fizzed as it opened down her back. The dress dropped around her feet, and Didi kicked it away. She was clad only in a white garter belt and dove-colored nylons with dark seams.

The whirring that had sounded in Blackie's ears when she first met Didi swelled to a roar, like an express train screaming along the tracks. She pulled back the covers.

"Get into bed," she whispered. 

"This town is full of lunatics."

~ Under the Mink



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