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All booksYoung adultThe Boy in the Red Dress
The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert
Young adult

The Boy in the Red Dress

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Kristin Lambert, on your first book!

by Kristin Lambert

Quick take

Step inside a New Orleans speakeasy and buckle up for a twisty whodunnit with a cast of swoonworthy characters.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


Why I love it

Siobhan Jones
BOTM Editorial Team

In the last few weeks, governors and other municipal leaders have been calling off pride-related festivities in response to ongoing public health concerns around COVID-19. To which I say: um fine, but actually, pride can never be cancelled. Pride is not just a parade—it’s an ongoing celebration around LBGTQ+ lives and culture, and in my humble opinion, what better way to safely tap into that spirit than by diving into a fun and fantastic new queer read??

This YA murder mystery takes place in 1920s-era New Orleans, specifically in the boozy, shadowy world of speakeasies. Millie is a wisecracking teenager just trying to keep the party going smoothly at her aunt’s club, the Cloak & Dagger. Her friend Marion, a.k.a. the boy in the red dress, is the club’s star performer. When a young clubgoer is thrown off a balcony one rowdy night, local detectives are quick to pin the murder on Marion. Suddenly, it’s up to Millie to locate and bring the real killer to justice.

Between the late-night cemetery snoopings and the glitzy Gatsby-esque soirees, this book is a whole mood. Almost all of the characters are resplendently queer and, despite all her sleuthing, there’s even a little romance for Millie (oh hey, seductive co-worker Olive). Debut author Kristin Lambert has penned a glamorous, sexy, wild ride.

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New Year's Eve, 1929.

Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even wealthy partiers' diamond earrings can't outshine the real star of the night: the boy in the red dress. Marion is the club's star performer and his fans are legion—if mostly underground.

When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion starts asking questions, Millie wonders if she's just another fan. But then her body is found crumpled in the courtyard, dead from an apparent fall off the club's balcony, and all signs point to Marion as the murderer. Millie knows he's innocent, but local detectives aren't so easily convinced.

As she chases clues that lead to cemeteries and dead ends, Millie's attention is divided between the wry and beautiful Olive, a waitress at the Cloak & Dagger, and Bennie, the charming bootlegger who's offered to help her solve the case. The clock is ticking for the fugitive Marion, but the truth of who the killer is might be closer than Millie thinks...

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Member thoughts

All (453)
All (453)
Love (189)
Like (235)
Dislike (29)
463 ratings
  • 41% Love
  • 51% Like
  • 6% Dislike
  • Kansas City, MO

    I absolutely loved reading this book! I could not stop turning the pages.. I'm not much for suspense/thriller but this one seemed interesting and I'm so glad I decided to read it! Amazing storytelling

  • New Hudson, MI

    This book was so cute, and made me wish I could travel back in time to the 1920s. I loved all the representation from all the characters. I loved Millie and Marion! The mystery was fun to read about

  • West Orange, NJ

    So this book was throughly enjoyed and I found myself taking my time with it. The setting 1929 New Orleans was amazing. I am not a typical reader of historical fiction but i really liked this one!

  • Missouri City, TX

    Set in 1929 New Orleans, this mystery has all sorts of twists before the killer is found. Millie and the others are scrappy and they have to go all over the Big Easy to find who killed a deb.

  • Grand Rapids, MI

    I read this book in like 3 days because i had to adult and go to work. Had i not it would of been dome quicker. I coupdnt put it down. The ending was a shocker!

  • Nampa, ID

    There were twists and turns that I hardly saw coming! This book transported me to Prohibition-era New Orleans in a way that made me believe I lived there too.

  • Moundsville, WV

    Anything with New Orleans and I'm usually on the bandwagon. It's a good YA mystery, and I'm not usually a fan of mystery. Likeable characters, as well.

  • Union Grove, WI

    Absolutely loved this book! I finished it within two days! Everything from the plot to the characters I loved. I will definitely reread this book!

  • Newark, NY

    A murder mystery in a speak easy that is LGBTQ+ friendly; sign me up please! I really enjoyed this read and the complexity of the characters.

  • Oviedo, FL

    Creative historical mystery with interesting characters. Definitely YA, but in a good way. I could see my daughter reading it in a few years.

  • Davenport, FL

    This book was like a warm hug! A story that exists beautifully in its queerness! A book I wish had existed when I was a teenager!

  • Fort Thomas, KY

    A great queer murder mystery that had me on the edge of my seat. A fantastic story that left me entertained until the end ^_^!!

  • South Glens Falls, NY

    This was a great queer mystery! It was wholesome and kept me guessing until the end. The 1929 New Orleans setting was superb!

  • Purdy , MO

    This book was a fun read. I included this novel in my classroom library and I had a student fall in love with this story.

  • Asheville, NC

    It was fun read with lots of action and mystery. I read around New Year’s to set the mood just right for an epic read.

  • San Antonio , TX

    I thought this book was great. A 4.5 for me. I love New Orleans, so this was a perfect mystery setting for me!

  • Marion, IA

    very fun with a great cast of characters. though it could have benefited from a bit of a slower pace.

  • Clarksville , IA

    Absolutely fantastic book. I fell in love with the characters and it’s just a great story.

  • Louisville, KY

    This book kept me guessing to the end. I really enjoyed it! It’s fun, quirky, and heartfelt.

  • San Diego, CA

    One of my favorites. Love the mystery and whodunnit plot set in New Orleans in the 1920’s.

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