||Dry Bones Press
||Jan 1 2000
A Victorian Justice explores the hypocrisies of a small Michigan town during the 1970s. When an interracial relationship between a prominent Methodist daughter and a black basketball player becomes public, all the hidden lives of the town's citizens begin to come to the surface.
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"Beverly looked closer at the white starkness of her church, one of the mainstays of this community. The church had taught her strict definitions and guidelines regarding the other religions and churches.
She learned early on to never question, especially when the nostrils of the family's elders began alternately pinching and flaring. The only way to tell how strongly a Methodist felt was to watch the nostrils; they gave it all away.
Beverly's confusion deepened one night when she found her father passed out over a dead body in the embalming room in the basement of the funeral home. When she saw the empty bottle of whiskey next to him on the floor, she knew better than to ask her mother any questions. Martha Canon's nostrils silenced Beverly's unasked and unanswered questions."
Three thrillers make Michigan their home
A Victorian Justice by Patricia C. Behnke, is more of a straight novel than a mystery. Set in the 1970s, it explores hypocrisy and racial atttudes in the small Michigan town of Victoria, a thinly veiled Stockbridge.
Beverly Canon, the story's main character, begins an interracial relationship with James Kelly, a star high school basketball player.
Family members and locals are strongly against the relationship, but hypocrisy reigns, with enough hidden liasons occurring to fully occupy the cast of Peyton Place.
A well-crafted first novel that examines small-town life from the inside out, A Victorian Justice works on a few different levels. It tells a compelling story while deftly allowing the author to relay frustations and anger about contradicting attitudes and conflicting behavior.
Lansing State Journal
December 18, 2000
A Victorian Justice touches on many sensitive issues
Behnke said she chose Michigan as the setting for her first novel because of the very dramatic seasons. And, she's used them artfully in her contemporary 1970s plot.
A Victorian Justice is an interesting read, perfect for the summer season, with a theme that deserves a sit-down, family discussion, if there are teens in the house.
A word of warning, however, keep in mind while reading this book that it is a work of fiction and some of the depictions of the different religious doctrines should not be taken as the Gospel truth.
July 27, 2000
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Reader Reviews for "A Victorian Justice"
|Reviewed by Helen Downey
|An intriguing book indeed. I will most definitely have to get this book.|