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Double Entendre

In BEYOND THE PALE, Nigel Swain, a gay Unitarian minister, is found dead in black pigskin, crushed by a garbage truck. His Boston friends: Clarissa, Mirabelle, Naomi, Roger, Penelope, and Bruno are determined to find the culprit. Their efforts are complicated when Neville, Nigel's identical twin, arrives from Africa followed soon by his wife Dahlia, who has fled from a harem on the Persian Gulf. This comic murder mystery includes a papal TV series, a psychotic biography, and a primer on wayward theology. The interlocking plots thicken, congeal, and finally liquefy in a dance club called the Ides. Here persons of uncertain gender mix and match togas to centurions. In a mad and topsy-turvy world, BEYOND THE PALE gives chaos a reputable name.

  • “I’m enjoying DOUBLE ENTENDRE. But a flirtatious, seductive, social priest who likes the weave of an Italian suit as much as theological debate: where could you ever have found a model?”
    Joyce Wadler The New York Times, Home Section.
  • Joseph: I want to share with you my delight with DOUBLE ENTENDRE. You continue to amaze me in the way you incorporate your knowledge and insight into a work of fiction. Not only are the words written in a ripple of double entendres, but the stories and characters employ triple entendres. Name and word after name and word tease the mind as the plots unfold on so many levels. Good literature challenges the mind. My mind accepts and enjoys your challenge. Congratulations on a masterpiece!
    Patricia Daly-Lipe, Novelist & Critic.

“How did it happen?” asked Clarissa.  Mirabelle was bursting with details.

“He was crushed by a garbage truck,” she said. “Not a very nice one either. All the posters warned: ‘Commonwealth closed to vehicular traffic.’  It’s odd how these things happen. He was found by an Irish policeman who took him for a Roman priest, so there won’t be any scandal at the Unitarian Church. Nigel was wearing black leather at the time.  His clerical collar peeked through the pigskin.  But the officer had the sense to remove it, leaving him in what looked like a Cossack shirt. Now you grasp the headline: ‘Truck Flattens Russian Pansy.’”

“What about Nigel’s book?” continued Clarissa. “Did he finish it before the accident?”

“Yes, and how lucky for theology. It’s called Beyond God, The Sister.  It’s dedicated to Naomi, the last thing he did before he stepped
in the street.”

“How is Naomi taking it?”

“She’s thrilled. It’s the first book she says she’s ever inspired. Nigel’s dedication is evocative. I have it in front of me. ‘To Naomi, when yang is not enough.’”