The Corpse Wore Pasties by Johnny Porkpie is a fun, lightweight mystery from Hard Case Crime. Granted, it is a couple of chapters longer than it could have been but this look into the New York City burlesque scene is worth the trip.

Johnny Porpie is the self-described Burlesque Mayor of New York City and emcee for burlesque shows across the city. That night he is working at the Topkapi with dancers named Cherries Jubilee, Brioche a Tete, Eva Desire, Angelina Blood, and Jillian Knockers. A last minute act shows up, Victoria Vice.

The girls are not happy because Victoria Vice is known as a plagiarist and stealing someone else’s act is a no-no. Part of Victoria Vice’s Burlesque act is drinking a bottle of poison and it turns out to be real poison.

Johnny Porpie is the police’s number one suspect and like all good innocent police suspects he decides to investigate to clear his name.

The investigation is standard mystery novel fare. It is colourful characters that make The Corpse Wore Pasties fun to read. Oh, there’s also the many difficult fixes Johnny Porkpie finds himself in, including an S/M dungeon to add to the fun.

Hard Case Crime is best known for its stable of hard-boiled detective novels. The Corpse Wore Pasties is an interesting change of tone for the label. It is the kind of book you enjoy reading but do not keep around in case you want to read it again.

The Corpse Wore Pasties
Johnny Porkpie
Hard Case Crime 2009

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