At the beginning of this novel, Dick and Jonathan are having a pretty good “bachelor” life together: they travel, they work, they have enough money to spare and enjoy the life; nothing apparently bad, if not that Dick is not really yet convinced this is the life he really wants. You can understand his indecision in the way he ogles all the pretty boys he comes upon to, even if he has a good fine boy, Jonathan, at home all for himself. Dick in a way would like to play the field, and the “ifs” are still plenty in his day-to-day routing, even if he doesn’t actually follow any of them.
Then suddenly Jonathan is appointed guardian for his nephew Joshua, a four years old baby; to Jonathan, aside for the pain of losing his brother, is like the realization of his dream: he has always wanted kids, but he was not expecting for his dream to come true, and above all not so soon. But Jonathan also knows that, even if he was joking with Dirk on building a 2.5 kids family in the suburbs, Dirk is not ready, or willing, to be the other half of that dreams.
Dick in a way surprised me: I was not expecting for him to put his feelings for Jonathan in front of his own personal desire. Actually both of them do that, Jonathan not wanting to force Dick, and Dick realizing that Jonathan and Joshua are an item and that if he wants one he has to take also the other. But Dick was even more surprising in “really” accepting Joshua: for Dick is not only doing a favour to Jonathan, he really likes the kid and while it’s clear that Joshua is Jonathan’s responsibility, it’s also clear that Dick is more than willing to share the burden.
In the end, I think that Joshua, instead of destabilizing Dick and Jonathan’s relationship like the most common plot would have implied, helped on the contrary to make it stronger, giving it a chance to last that without Joshua was probably less likely; as in an old fashioned romance, the kid in question worked as cement to the relationship.
Again, the personal subplot for me was more interesting than the mystery main theme; and again I’m not really able to summarize it without spoiling the fun for the mystery lovers. Enough to say that Dorien Grey put together a good numbers of possible suspects and that me, like him, until the end were not sure of who really was the one who killed Jonathan and Dick’s single mom neighbour.
Amazon: The Popsicle Tree (Dick Hardesty Mysteries)
Paperback: 247 pages
Publisher: GLB Publishers (January 2005)
Series: Dick Hardesty Series
1) The Butcher's Son
2) The 9th Man
3) The Bar Watcher
4) The Hired Man
5) The Good Cop: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1141177.html
6) The Bottle Ghosts
7) The Dirt Peddler
8) The Role Players
9) The Popsicle Tree