Briefly Noted: ‘Mother Finds a Body,’ by Gypsy Rose Lee

Original

This novel, published in 1942, was considered a sequel to Lee’s 1941 novel The G-String Murders which had been made into a “cleaned-up” film starring Barbara Stanwyck called “Lady of Burlesque.” A read The G-String Murders when I was in junior high school and thought it was a hoot.  It suddenly appeared on the family’s bookshelves and then disappeared after I read it and put it back. I never asked questions about why books came and went because that would have diluted our cases of plausible deniability.

From the Publisher

This encore performance by the author of The G-String Murders is simply “one of the greatest mysteries ever written” (Philadelphia Daily News).

Current

“It’s supposed to be a quiet honeymoon getaway for celebrated stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and Biff Brannigan, ex-comic and ex-Casanova of the Burly Q circuit, settled as they are in a cozy trailer built for two. If you don’t count Gypsy’s overbearing mother, a monkey act, and Gee Gee, a.k.a. the Platinum Panic. Not to mention the best man found shot to death in the bathtub. Strippers are used to ballyhoo, but this time it’s murder.

“Leave it to Gypsy and her latest scandal to draw a crowd: Biff’s burnt-out ex-flame, a sleazy dive owner with a Ziegfeld complex, a bus-and-truck circus troupe, and a local Texas sheriff randy for celebrities. But when another corpse turns up with a knife in his back, Gypsy fears that some rube is dead set on pulling the curtain on her bump and grind. She’s been in the biz long enough to know this ghastly mess is just a tease of things to come.”

Questions were asked whether Lee really wrote the novels or used the ghost writer Craig Rice (aka Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig called the “Dorothy Parker of detective fiction”) Rice said she did not write either of Lee’s novels.

Mother Finds a Body gets off to a quick start:

“A temperature of one hundred and ten at night isn’t exactly the climate for murder, and mother was suffering from a chronic case of both. She pushed the damp, tight curls off her forehead and tapped her foot impatiently on the trailer doorstep.

“‘You either bury that body in the woods tonight, or you finish your honeymoon without your mother.'”

Don’t ask why mother came along on a honeymoon because that seems more sordid than a dead guy in the bathtub.

Malcolm

2 thoughts on “Briefly Noted: ‘Mother Finds a Body,’ by Gypsy Rose Lee

  1. Isn’t synchronicity a weird thing? We have a quiz show here called The Chase into which I channel-hopped this afternoon whilst having lunch. One of the multiple choice questions was ‘what was the title of Gypsy Rose Lee’s novel?’ And now it transpires she wrote two! The universe doesn’t need to hit me over the head with a gold brick twice. I shall fettle a copy forthwith 🙂

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