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Leavin' Trunk Blues (Nick Travers Mysteries)

Atkins, Ace

319 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312242123 / ISBN 13: 9780312242121
Published by Minotaur Books, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Charles E. Pate (Owens Cross Roads, AL, U.S.A.)

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Book is also dated by author. DJ is protected by mylar sleeve. Book is shipped boxed. Language: eng Language: eng. Bookseller Inventory # 000136

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Leavin' Trunk Blues (Nick Travers Mysteries)

Publisher: Minotaur Books, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition..

About this title


It's been a year since Nick Traver's search for the lost recording of blues phantom Robert Johnson in Crossroad Blues. He has grown comfortable playing his harp at JoJo's in the French Quarter and teaching blues history at Tulane. A difficult case was the last thing on the blues tracker's mind.

When new details on the mysterious death of a blues record producer surface from a legendary guitarist over a bottle of Crown Royal, Nick becomes intrigued. In 1959, Billy Lyons' body was found stabbed with an ice pick and floating in Lake Michigan. His lover, a blues singer named Ruby Walker, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder. But even after Ruby was sentenced, rumors emerged of a gambling debt to the black mafia or a possible hit called by Lyons' partner, Moses Jordan, who moved on to immortality with another label.

After arriving at Chicago's Union Station, Travers learns there are still those who'd like Billy Lyons' murder to remain unsolved. He soon has fresh blood splattered on his boots and he's running in the blackened snow from a rogues gallery of killers that include a 6-foot-5, 300 pound breathing ball of hate named Stagger Lee Jordan and a beautiful pair of sociopaths--Butcher Knife-Totin' Annie and Fast-Lovin' Fannie--two women with respective talents for love and death.

His quest for Lyons' killer retraces the route of the Delta greats during the Great Migration of blacks after World War II. From the historic Maxwell Street Market to the South Side's Checkerboard Lounge, take a hint from Robert Johnson when he sang, "C'mon. Baby don't you want to go. Back to that same old place--My Sweet Home Chicago."


Nick Travers, who made his first appearance in Crossroad Blues, is a musicologist in the Alan Lomax tradition--a blues historian who teaches at Tulane and devotes his spare time to tracking down the forgotten greats of the past. He's been trying to line up an interview with one of them: Ruby Walker, a '50s blues songstress who's been in an Illinois prison for 40 years for murdering her lover. Ruby finally agrees to talk to Nick--if he'll look into the circumstances of the crime for which she was unjustly convicted. That takes Nick back to Chicago at Christmas, and sets him on the trail of a legendary, mythic figure named Stagger Lee, who's not a myth after all, but a man with a deadly secret and no compunction about killing to keep it hidden.

Nick's hopeless love affair with Kate, first met in author Ace Atkins' previous suspense story, gets a reprise here, too. Now an investigative reporter with a Windy City paper, she teams up with Nick to find out what really happened and spring Ruby from jail. What makes this otherwise routine mystery interesting is Nick's (and the author's) encyclopedic knowledge and deep appreciation of his subject (music, not murder). The pacing is pretty slow. If you put a little Muddy Waters on the stereo, you won't mind stopping to hear a particularly sweet riff before you start reading again. --Jane Adams

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