The Dog Collar Murders is the third in a mystery series with Pam Nilsen, political lesbian, as the unofficial detective. It's really weird for me to start in the middle of a series, so I'm not sure where I heard of this. Perhaps in the "also by Seal Press" section in the back of Skin, or maybe even referenced in an essay in that book about the "Barnard Sex Scandal." Wilson's book is about murders that take place during and after a sexuality conference in Seattle in 1988 or so (six years after the event that rocked Barnard and feminists all over the U.S.). The book, which is kind of niche, was published by Seal Press, which was "founded in 1976 as a small DIY publisher to provide a forum for women writers and feminist issues."
The narrator isn't firmly on either side of the pornography debate. She does seem to lean against it, but admits to being titillated while watching some sex videos made by her possible rival. Wilson manages to get much of the rhetoric of the time in there without going too far off plot, making the book somewhat educational as well as engaging. There's tons of sexual and other politics in the book, including discussions of S&M, straight marriage as betrayal, non-monogamy, race and Nicaragua.
I noted this passage, which I liked because published in Seattle in 1989 it seems like a good lead in to riot grrrl.
In those days--oh, it seems like a million years ago now, doesn't it?--it seemed so easy to talk about "sisterhood." We knew what sisterhood meant and we knew who our enemy was. Our enemy was the patriarchy, in all its various forms, the patriarchy that had dominated our lives for all those many thousands of years. In spite of what some women--the revisionist historians--now say, we never divorced issues of race and class from our analysis of women's oppression. p.43
I'm not positive I'll go back and read the first two Pam Nilsen novels, but I probably will. I'm pretty curious how she got started amateur sleuthing, how her parents died, and how she discovered her sexuality, all things that I assume from reading Dog Collar are revealed in the earlier books.