What took so long for someone to write a murder mystery in a gay bathhouse? But that is what gay rights activist Dennis Altman did during the Covid19 lockdown. He wrote the murder mystery novel Death In a Sauna.
Plot outline – On the eve of a major international AIDS Conference in London, the Conference chair is found dead in suspicious circumstances. Tracking down how he died reveals layers of deception, rivalry and danger for those close to him.
Altman told the Star Observer
“I had always toyed with the idea of writing a story that begins with a dead body in a sauna. You have to carefully orchestrate a web of plausible suspects, motives, and means. Surprisingly, much of the plotting happened subconsciously, and, even I didn’t know the identity of the killer until I was 80% through the book.”
“I think that writing a story, particularly this sort of story, which doesn’t pretend to have deep emotional psychological depth, is really like playing an elaborate game.”
Set amid the backdrop of an AIDS conference – Altman adds
“While I didn’t set out to provide a comprehensive overview of the epidemic, there is a significant amount of information and references to AIDS politics in the book. It’s a subtle homage to that era.”