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.
“The pioneering author of the legendary Don Strachey mysteries takes us back to “the good old days” of 1940’s Philadelphia in a vivid evocation of the brutal oppression visited on the gay community as well as that community’s endurance and resilience. PI Clifford Waterman addresses injustice with wit, resourcefulness, defiance, and, best of all, retribution.” —Katherine V. Forrest, author of the Kate Delafield mysteries
“Gripping, evocative and turn-of-the-screw suspenseful, Knock Off The Hat is a brilliantly paced and startlingly immersive barnstormer. With firecracker prose, Stevenson brings the jungle hot streets of post-war Philly to life and deftly reminds us that nothing is stronger than a community besieged.” —P.J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
RICHARD STEVENSON was 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 reviewed 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. Richard passed away on March 18, 2022—he was 83.