June/July 1998

Death Wore a Fabulous New Fragrance

Orland Outland
Berkley, 1998 208pp
ISBN: 0-425-16197-8

review by Harriet Klausner

Socially vacant people would take one look baby Binky van de Kamp and homosexual Doan McChandler and stereotype the pair as a drag queen and a fag. Anyone who gets to know them, quickly realizes that they are just two people who prefer to live the high life to the fullest, but do not have the cash to do so in an orthodox manner. The unusual ideas this pair uses to maintain their current lifestyle is ludicrous. Still they would go the extra mile for a friend in need (hopefully finding cash on the way).

Just a month ago, Doan and Binky risked their lives to successfully rescue a friend from a murder charge. This achievement leads them to open up their own detective agency. Their first client is an acquaintance of Doan, accused of murdering a closeted movie hunk. The duo goes to LA where they quickly find themselves surrounded by human piranhas willing to do anything for a buck.

Orland Outland has created a unique and refreshing new kind of mystery series that is pure fun. The mystery propels the story line forward, but it is the campy characters and their serio-comic scenes that give Death Wore a Fabulous New Fragrance its quirky charm (and odor). Though Binky and Doan are not a romantic couple, their constant zings and witty ripostes are priceless. This is the beginning of a warm friendship with a new series clearly on the cutting edge (and sometimes to the outside of that).

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