Young Teddie Crawford is dead from multiple stab wounds in a restaurant kitchen awash with blood. LAPD homicide detective Kate Delafield is relentless in her pursuit and capture of his killer. But bringing that killer to trial imperils Kate’s professional standing and personal privacy—and her belief in the justice system to which she has devoted her life.
The suspect claims self-defense—that Teddie Crawford made a homosexual advance and backed it up with a knife. Yet everything Kate learns about Teddie Crawford tells her that his murder was deliberate. And to develop proof of first degree murder, she must find clear answers to mystifying questions for the prosecuting attorney—a woman who has never before prosecuted a homicide case.
Kate is increasingly isolated as she tries to shield her young lover from the brutal realities of this case and finds few allies among her LAPD brethren. Even her partner, Ed Taylor, is loathe to aggressively pursue a case involving a dead gay man and his gay associates. As the trial date looms, she discovers she has a personal stake: the defense attorney is a man from her past. A man with the power to expose the private life she has kept rigidly separate from her life as a police officer.
Murder by Tradition reaches new heights in the powerful storytelling readers have come to expect from Katherine V. Forrest. Lambda Literary Award Winner.
A Kate Delafield Mystery Series Book 4.
Originally published by Naiad Press 1991.
Lambda Literary Awards
The Beverly Malibu: Winner, Best Lesbian Mystery.
Lambda Literary Award winner Forrest (The Beverly Malibu) transcends the run-of-the-mill police procedural and courtroom drama with this thought-provoking fourth in a series featuring Los Angeles lesbian homicide cop Kate Delafield. Kate and her partner, Ed Taylor, are called to the scene of the stabbing death of gay restaurateur Teddie Crawford. Working with information from a blood-spatter specialist, the cops learn that the killer has been seriously wounded, and soon pick up Kyle Jensen at the hospital where he has gone for help. Although Jensen claims that he killed Teddie in self-defense after Teddie made a pass at him, Kate suspects that Jensen is a gay-basher and investigates on her own. Just as she is making headway, Kate learns that the only heterosexual male who knows of her sexual preferences will be representing Jensen. She fears that the defense will broadcast her lifestyle, thereby weakening her testimony about the scene of the crime and, worse, jeopardizing her job. Kate's effort to persuade the jury to accept her conclusion while keeping her integrity intact is the primary focus of this compelling story.
Lesbian LAPD detective Kate Delafield's fourth appearance should quash any doubts concerning Forrest's abilities as a mystery writer, mainstream or otherwise. Well-detailed police procedure, sizzling courtroom drama, and a firm belief in ethics characterize this story of the gory murder of a handsome, gregarious gay man by a muscle-bound "straight." In tandem with assistant district attorney Linda Foster, and supported by lover Aimee, Kate struggles against departmental homophobics to destroy the murderer's plea of self-defense. Quality writing; for most collections.