CAREER: Writer. Currently works for an Internet support company.
AWARDS, HONORS: Lambda Literary Award.
"SYDNEY SLOANE" MYSTERY SERIES
Brotherly Love, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Sister's Keeper, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Father Forgive Me, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Mother May I, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Say Uncle, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
East of Niece, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2001.
Son of a Gun, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Randye Lordon is the author of a mystery series featuring lesbian detective Sydney Sloane. In addition to Sloane, the series' other common denominator is that the stories revolve around family relationships. "I wanted a strong common denominator, something that ALL people share," Lordon told Anna Leigh Newton in an interview on the Stonewall Inn Web site. "Family seemed like a good place to start." Lordon introduces Sloane in Brotherly Love. While reading a newspaper, Sloane is surprised to see that a convicted murderer named Noah who has escaped from jail looks exactly like her long lost brother, David, who was thought to have died in Israel. Before long, Sloane is on the case, trying to prove the escapee's innocence. But others are looking for Noah as well, and the investigation is complicated by the murder of Noah's girlfriend and Sloane's attraction to the daughter of another murder victim. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Lordon's first effort proves entertaining."
In Father Forgive Me Sydney is being stalked by the father of a runaway teenager who killed herself while under Sydney's care. To further complicated matters, Sydney's lover, Leslie, is dissatisfied with their relationship. Sydney also takes on a new case, investigating the death of Vanessa Stephens's younger brother. Although his death has been ruled a suicide by drug overdose, Sydney suspects that it has something to do with Stephens's father's decision to run for governor of Texas. Commenting on Lordon's writing style, Women's Review of Books contributor Kathy Phillips noted that the author "tells her story largely through dialogue, including Sydney's wry and cynical inner voice." The reviewer went on to write: "Lordon manages to keep the action and tensions going through to an unlikely if suspenseful end."
Sydney is hired by her aunt's boyfriend, a man who is in his nineties, to investigate the death of his sister's granddaughter in Mother May I. The murdered woman's husband, a successful doctor, is a prime suspect, and Sydney unearths a series of family secrets as her investigation leads her to Long Island. Once again writing in the Women's Review of Books, Phillips noted "Lordon's failure to use the most evocative language," but also added that the author "tells an engaging story that never fails to communicate the grimness of Sydney's task."
Lordon changes locale for East of Niece, which takes place in the south of France, where Sydney is vacationing with her companion, Leslie. Sydney is also visiting her niece, Vickie, whose in-laws suddenly die in a car accident that may have been rigged. When police become suspicious and want to interview Vickie's husband, Gavin, the man disappears. Sydney gets on the case and soon turns up dead bodies as she tries to solve the growing mystery. A Publishers Weekly contributor said that while the "novel should please her fans,… others may find it predictable and formulaic." However, Whitney Scott, writing in Booklist, praised London's descriptions of the town of Menton, "which the author's evocative prose brings so to life that you can smell the lemons for which the town is famous." In Library Journal Rex E. Klett commended Lordon for her "highly evocative descriptions, brilliant plotting, and clever characterization."
In Son of a Gun Sydney juggles two cases with personal ties. In one, Leslie has asked Sydney to investigate her mother's boyfriend, a man whose previous wives have died mysteriously soon after they married him. The other case involves the police-captain father of Sloane's godchild; he is shot in his apartment, and the perpetrator may be the son of Peggy, the victim's wife. Years earlier, when still a teenager, Peggy had given up the boy for adoption after having the baby as the result of being raped. "Lordon skillfully keeps up the tension," related a Kirkus Reviews critic, "though the two puzzles … wind down too long before her story winds up." Harriet Klausner, writing in MBR Bookwatch, concluded, "The who-done-it is cleverly handled so that the audience sees Sydney at her best trying to resolve the case and having other woes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2001, Whitney Scott, review of East of Niece, p. 1635.
Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2001, Dick Adler, review of East of Niece, p. 2.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of Son of a Gun, p. 1121.
Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of East of Niece, p. 222; January 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of Son of a Gun, p. 84.
MBR Bookwatch, February, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Son of a Gun.
Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1993, review of Brotherly Love, p. 43; April 2, 2001, review of East of Niece, p. 42; January 17, 2005, review of Son of a Gun, p. 38.
Women's Review of Books, July, 1997, Kathy Phillips, review of Father Forgive Me, p. 39; July, 1998, Kathy Phillips, review of Mother May I, p. 32.
Randye Lordon Home Page, http://www.randyelordon.com (March 8, 2005).
Stonewall Inn, http://www.echonyc.com/∼stone/ (March 8, 2005), Anna Leigh Newton, "Q&A with Randye Lordon."