The Skin Beneath
by Nairne Holtz
Insomniac Press. 265 pages, $16.95
THIS ACCOMPLISHED FIRST NOVEL by a bibliographer of Canadian lesbian fiction is classified by the publisher as a “lesbian mystery.” However, it could as well be described as a black comedy of manners, a road-trip novel, a study of grief in various forms, a realistic lesbian love story, or a novel of development. The central character, Sam (for Samantha), is moved to investigate the life of her deceased sister Chloe when she gets an anonymous note suggesting that Chloe’s death in a legendary hangout for bohemians in New York was not an accident (from a drug overdose), as she had been told.