A corpse was found in the basement. The case involved a drag queen, drugs and Louisville.

Murder, Secrets and Scandal in Old Louisville
By David Dominé

Polyglot and former expatriate who dreamed of distant diplomatic posts, David Dominé never intended to put down roots in Louisville, Kentucky. But a few years planned for law school turned into two unforeseen decades: “he wrote, using a less familiar nickname for his adopted hometown,” had a way of sucking people up. “

Once, while searching for a home in Old Louisville, the city’s historic district, Dominé and his partner visited an old brick house, admiring the beautiful fireplace and walnut woodwork, while noting the ” strange general atmosphere of the place. They didn’t buy him, but the house branded Dominate enough that he recognized him more than a year later on the morning TV news, when police announced the discovery of a body, treated in lime and sealed in a Rubbermaid warehouse. container, buried in the dirt basement.

Details leaked soon after; the deceased was a dragster named Jamie Carroll who some knew as a die-hard drug dealer. Two gay men РJoey Banis and Jeffrey Mundt, who lived in the house at the time Рhad been arrested and charged with his murder. For Domin̩, the details were too good to resist.

“Drag queens. The love triangle. Revenge. Basement body. Scary old mansion. Drugs. Naughty sex. Counterfeit money,” he exclaims breathlessly. invent that sort of thing. “

One of the many questions surrounding the case: Dominated, a perpetrator of real crimes with a softness for the paranormal (previous works include “Ghosts of Old Louisville” and “Voodoo Days at La Casa Fabulosa”), he would write to this subject ?

He had his reservations, including his fears of “going through hardship” and annoying the neighborhood by “exposing the soft underbelly that is always exposed when writing about real life individuals.” But after finally pushing aside his doubts, he decided to take the plunge. The result is “A Dark Room in Glitter Ball City,” a story that is both part of the real crime mystery and the portrayal of Louisville.

The gradual unfolding of murder trials often takes a back seat to Dominate’s descriptions of life and espionage in Louisville, depriving the book of an expected source of narrative push. But when one of the eccentric residents grabs his attention, the story comes to life: virtually every page of “Dark Room” is crossed by Dominé’s obvious affection for the constellation of local characters with whom he eats, drinks, chats and talks. remains speechless. Busy socialites and talkative drag queens; a joint practitioner of S&M and witchcraft; the owners of a bizarre roadside attraction featuring mutilated toy dolls: all are lovingly described as the elegant parquet floors and moldings of aging mansions in old Louisville. Meanwhile, Dominé’s passion for the city’s social and architectural history animates some of the book’s most memorable passages.

Although he adores the city, Dominé does not hesitate to document the prejudices and the reflexive homophobia that erupt during the trials. In a remarkable scene, Dominé reproduces the answers of potential jurors to voir dire questions as to whether they could rightly consider a homosexual defendant. “I’m very disgusted with homosexuals,” said potential juror # 823394. Another potential juror, who at first argued that he could be impartial, then ventured that on second thought he might wrestle a times actually confronted with “homosexual details during the trial”, writes Dominé.

The intolerance displayed during the trial complicates Dominate’s image of a Louisville which, although in some ways a merry mish-mash of eccentrics, is not immune to the biggest hits of bigotry. Dominate gently corrects a detective’s use of the word ‘gypsy’ (‘I think they use the term’ Roma ‘today’), but simply blushes at another acquaintance’s habit of wearing a Nazi uniform. in the city. Louisville’s sometimes tricky treatment of the ugliest qualities is a reminder of the importance of critical distance: as one of Louisville’s greatest boosters, Dominate isn’t necessarily the best source for unbiased and flawless bookkeeping. the city.

More than the grim details of Carroll’s murder, the book’s kaleidoscopic array of personalities are much more likely to stick with readers. Any of them, after all, would almost certainly be the most interesting person you would meet all week.

Maybe next year’s Derby.

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