Remembering Gore Vidal’s Subversive Mystery Novels

CrimeReads, an outstanding website dedicated to crime literature, recently ran my essay on the mystery novels that Gore Vidal wrote under the nom de plum, “Edgar Box.” The Box trilogy, which Vidal wrote after the media exiled him due to their egregious homophobia, entertains with wit and craft, but also depicts the hypocrisy and vacuity of America’s ruling class.

“I’m not sufficiently stupid to be a popular author,” Gore Vidal said in reaction to a suggestion that he write paperback mystery novels. Victor Weybright, whom Vidal considered the “wisest man in publishing” during the 1950s, offered his encouragement, “You’ll find a way.” He was also offering the great American author a lifeline.

Homophobia was so virulent and vicious in the mid-twentieth century that the 1948 publication of The City and The Pillar, Vidal’s groundbreaking and brave novel sympathetically depicting the lives of two men in love, threatened to end his literary career.

Read the rest.

Remembering Gore Vidal’s Slyly Subversive Mystery Novels