I finished Further Tales of the City earlier as part of my goal to re-read the series prior to July's vacation. While this one continues the story, it's also the beginning of a more novel like structure for the narrative verses mini stories connecting over a longer period.
And what a story this one is. Unlike the previous volume, with the cannibal Episcopals, this one involves the aftermath of Jonestown, brought through by gay Cuban refugee DeDe Halcyon Day, who joined the People's Temple with her lover D'orothea at the end of the last volume.
As we begin this one, Jon and Michael are no longer together, but Michael is working with Ned at God's Green Earth, a nursery. Ned is the former lover of ______ ______, a movie star who's very closeted. (By all accounts, this was a cypher for Rock Hudson.) Michael is going through a Country Western phase, offset by the ABBA loving cop Bill Rivera, his friend with benefits.
Mona has moved to Seattle, because it's the eighties, so she never shows up.
Mary Ann is now dating Brian, who still is waiting tables and feeling bad about not making as much as Mary Ann, who has a job hosting afternoon movies and selling bargains during her promos.
Ah yes, and Prue Giroux, the shallow gossip columnist from Western Gentry who's dog Vuitton goes missing ion the park, meets Luke, a bum living in a shack in the park. Her Priest (and source of much gossip, Father Starr) sets them up to go on a cruise to Alaska to meet and have a socially acceptable way to have a romance.
Problem being this is the same cruise DeDe send her mother and her children on while she searches for something. That something would be the convoluted plot twist that Jim Jones had a body double who was the one who had the Congressman shot and then ordered the suicide pact. The real Jim Jones is back in San Francisco and living in a shack in the park.
Which all leads to "Luke" kidnapping the twins in Sitka, leading to a long wild goose chase across the Aleutians by Mary Ann and DeDe.
It should be noted that Jon is the doctor on the cruise ship, and Frannie manages to more or less get him to go see Michael.
Which, of course, his arrival happens as the Barbary men and Mrs. Madrigal have taken Mary Ann's coworker hostage to keep her from breaking the DeDe story based on Mary Ann's notes left at the station as she raced to Alaska.
Oh, we also get Michael's Gay Men's Chorus tour, his affair with _____ _____, and the marriage of Brian and Mary Ann.
Eventually we'll get into the next book, at which point you'll all get to hear me complain about Jon's off page death as AIDS enters San Francisco officially.