In Hoofers, by Kiernan Kelly, Dan Allen of Dancing Dan and his Magical Feet has just joined a new vaudeville troupe. He’s hoping for a good spot in the line-up, but he doesn’t hold out much hope for it when he discovers that the famous Foster Elliot not only is working the same troupe as he is, but is in the deuce spot. What brought about Foster’s drop from fame and could he and Dan have more in common than they realize? And what exactly is that little vial of oil Foster keeps with his make-up for anyway?
Review by Erastes
This short story (about ten pages) appears in this little anthology with another; Heated, by Zoe Nichols, which isn’t historical.
Kelly charmed me before with her two western novels (In Bear Country and In Bear Country II: The Barbary Coast) and this, although only a short story, didn’t let her down. Set in the last years of Vaudeville it fairly reeks of atmosphere, something Kelly is very good at. Where she captured the gritty feel of the West in her Bear stories, here she really get “backstage” in all those tatty Vaudeville theatres, filled with amazing dog and pony acts, precocious children and hoofers. From the crowded wooden stairwells, to cramped, smelly dressing rooms this really shows the reader what it’s all about.
The story is short and sweet, the sex doesn’t overwhelm the plot, but it’s still hot – and keep to the dancing theme, which was a nice touch.
Although it’s only a short story, as with all good shorts it had the feel of a bigger work. The characters are interesting and in depth – and I hope that Kelly gets these boys out again and gives them a longer spin.
For $2.49 you can’t go wrong for a perfect lunchtime read.