- Blue Heaven (novel)
infobox Book |
name = Blue Heaven
author = Joe Keenan
country = USA
language = English
media_type = Print
pages = 279
isbn = ISBN 0140107649
followed_by = Putting on the Ritz
"Blue Heaven" (1988) is the first book by novelist Joe Keenan. It is a
gay-themed comedy about four friends who get caught up in ill-fated attempt to scam a Mafiafamily by faking a marriage and absconding with the cash and gifts that the prospective in-laws will shower on the lucky couple.
*Gilbert Selwyn, an over-sexed gay New Yorker and best friend of Philip Cavanaugh. Gilbert is perpetually poor, but constantly scheming to make a quick buck. Gilbert longs to be a writer, but sloth causes him to never put pen to paper.
*Philip Cavanaugh, Gilbert's long-suffering best friend and fellow New Yorker. Once Gilbert's teenage boyfriend (until an unfortunate case of crabs, caught from one of Gilbert's many sugar daddies, broke them up), Philip is a struggling writer with only minimal talent. Reluctant to be part of Gilbert's schemes, he usually gives in because he longs for money, fame and "the good life."
*Claire Simmons, Philip's other (
heterosexual) best friend. Claire is a struggling writer with a modicum of talent, a zaftig figure, and a deep loathing for Gilbert Selwyn. Claire is the most level-headed of Philip's friends, and usually gets him out of Gilbert-caused jams. Claire and Philip are constantly collaborating on the Next Big Novel or Play.
*Moira Finch, a fellow New Yorker and mooch. Moira has dreams of glory but no class (she once invested her entire trust fund in designer pasta). Although Gilbert, Philip and Claire hate Moira, they never quite seem able to avoid running into her and getting blackmailed into participating in her (often illegal) schemes.
*Vulpina, Moira's morose, painfully thin, Goth best friend and clothing designer.
*Gunther Von Steigle, an actor and
Boris Karloff-lookalike with worse acne. He is Gilbert's sworn enemy, after Gilbert slept with (and then kicked out) Gunther's one true love.
*Madeleine Cellini, Gilbert's oft-widowed mother and newly married to New York City mafioso Tony Cellini. Maddie (as everyone calls her) is a little batty, and doesn't quite realize what her new husband does or where his money comes from.
*Tony Cellini, Gilbert's new father-in-law. He's suspicious of Gilbert's oddly all-male bachelor lifestyle, and devoted to Maddie.
*Freddy Bombelli, the seemingly ancient head of Tony Cellini's Mafia family who has an eye for Moira...
*The Duchess of Dorsetshire, Moira Finch's mother. Raised in Pittsburgh, she married a British duke and moved to England. She sounds amazingly like
Hermione Gingold. But she might not be who she says she is.
*Winslow Potts, the
transvestite, drug-addicted, alcoholic banker who handles Moira Finch's trust fund. In fact, he "handled" it right over to her for all sorts of crazy schemes, and now oversees a bankrupt trust.
Gilbert Selwyn and Moira Finch are mortal enemies. But they have a plan: They intend to get married. Gilbert recently went to his "fat cousin Steffy's wedding", where he realized that the Cellini clan is fabulously wealthy. Steffy received envelopes stuffed with cash, and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars. Gilbert estimates that he and Moira might clear $100,000 each by marrying, living together for a decent interval, and then divorcing. But to make the plan work, he has to have a best man and someone who'll swear that his homosexuality was "just a phase." That someone is Philip Cavanaugh. Hungry for a new computer and enough free cash to afford some good Scotch.
But there's a catch: The Duchess can't pay for the wedding, so she asks Moira to pay for it from Moira's trust fund. Only, Moira has already induced her banker, Winslow, to embezzle the funds. Moira's blown her inheritance on zany schemes, and there's no money left. But Gilbert has a plan: Convince Tony Cellini to pay for the wedding, with the "promise" that the Duchess (Gilbert and Moira) will pay him back (out of the proceeds from the wedding gifts).
Everything seems to be going smoothly. That is, until Gunther Von Stiegel decides to ruin the wedding by revealing that Gilbert is gay, until Vulpina becomes enraged that she cannot design the wedding dress and colludes with Gunther to destroy Moira, until Gilbert suspects Moira of sleeping with Freddy Bombelli, and until the wedding arrives and the Duchess has to make an appearance.
Gilbert, Philip, Claire and Moira get caught up in Mafia politics, blackmail, transvestitism, funding a Broadway production, the cologne business, seduction and much more. Events come together at a wedding where bullets are as likely to be tossed as rice.
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