Jasmine Frame and romance

The paperback version of “Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame story” will be available in September but the e-book version is on sale now. The quickest way to search for, say, the Kindle version, is to put “Jasmine Frame” in the search line.  I am delighted that netgalley.com have chosen “Painted Ladies” as one of their “Top 10 not to miss” for September. They say

“It (has) a new kind of backstory for a detective – we’re certainly not aware of another! – and Jasmine Frame is a complex and sympathetic character. Well worth a look!”

Anyway, that’s enough of the promotional stuff, what about Jasmine Frame’s love-life?

Crime stories are hardly a Mills and Boon staple yet romance figures in much crime fiction. Morse was always falling for females who turned into victims or were discovered to be the murderer. The same happened to Jack Frost.  Even Sherlock Holmes could become wistful about a female.  Many other detective stories have a love-interest as a sub-plot for example, Merrily Watkins, Phil Rickman’s crime-solving vicar has a mostly on relationship with the musician Lawrence Robinson.  Many TV cop shows from Dixon of Dock Green to Scott and Bailey include scenes of the domestic “bliss” of the detective.  Relationships with partners, existing or possible, provide an important insight into the mental state of the crime-fighter.

At the opening of “Painted Ladies”, Jasmine Frame is separated from her wife, Angela. The 2004 Gender Reassignment Act insists that a married couple must divorce if one of the spouses wishes to transition to the opposite gender legally, and obtain a new birth certificate.  Some couples protested at this requirement and perhaps the legalisation of same-sex marriage will solve the problem. Nevertheless one partner embarking on transition has been the cause of the break up of many marriages.

The fact that Jasmiine, or rather James, and Angela were married suggests that James was a heterosexual or bisexual male.  The question is, what is Jasmine?  The sexuality of transgendered people is complex and it is important to remember that gender identity and sexuality are not the same thing.  A trans-woman who has completed gender reassignment is undoubtedly a woman, and if she has sex with a man she is heterosexual, and if she has a sexual relationship with a woman she is a lesbian; but, defining the relationships of someone who has not fully transitioned is more difficult. Mental self-image and the physical body are often in disagreement. Many transgendered people would say that labels are unimportant and all that matters is the feelings that individuals have for each other. Lust can overlook many a complication. Some transgendered men and women will enter a relationship as a form of exploration of their sexualities, others will avoid sexual contact until they have reached the end of their journey and are confident of their gender identity

Jasmine’s relationships and romantic attractions will, no doubt, influence her feelings and behaviour as she reacts to the events in “Painted Ladies” and in the sequels. Separating from Angela is just the start.

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