Knock Off The Hat by Richard Stevenson

A dishonorably discharged World War II vet takes a job as a private investigator and begins looking into a sudden and extraordinary wave of gay-bashing in Philadelphia.


Coming April 2022 from Amble Press

It’s steaming August 1947, in post-war Philadelphia.

Clifford Waterman, dishonorably discharged from the Army for “an indecent act with a native” in Cairo, can’t go back to his job as a police detective, and is struggling to make a go of it as a private investigator. He’s soon hired to help a young man caught in a gay bar raid who can’t afford the $500 bribe a corrupt judge demands to make a “morals charge” go away.

In the blink of an eye, an entire gay neighborhood is suddenly under siege, and Waterman has to find out why the cops, courts, and the city powers that be have unleashed a wave of brutal gay-bashing—astonishing even for that time and place.

Kept moving by Jim Beam, bluesy jazz, and a stubborn sense of outsider’s pride, Waterman makes his way through Philadelphia’s social, political, and financial swamp to rescue a few unlucky souls and inflict at least a bit of damage to the rotten system that would lead to the Stonewall rebellion in New York City 22 years later.

RICHARD STEVENSON is the pseudonym of Richard Lipez, author of 18 books, including the Don Strachey private eye series.  A former editorial writer at The Berkshire Eagle, Lipez reviews mysteries and thrillers for The Washington Post.  His reporting, reviews, and fiction have appeared in Newsday, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Progressive, among others.  Four of the Strachey books were filmed by HereTV.  Nominated for four Lambda Awards for Best Gay Mystery, his book Red White Black and Blue won the award in 2011.  Lipez grew up and was educated in Pennsylvania and taught in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia.  He is married to sculptor and video artist Joe Wheaton and lives in Becket, Massachusetts.

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