Shades of Blue
An Evan Horne Mystery by Bill Moody
Review: After an absence of nearly 6 years, Bill Moody returns with Shades of Blue, the 6th book in his series featuring jazz musician Evan Horne. Not a murder mystery per se, but an intriguing investigation into the past.
Shortly after returning to San Francisco from a jazz engagement in Europe, Even receives a phone call from a lawyer informing him that his former piano teacher, mentor, and close friend Calvin Hughes has died. In the late 40s and early 50s Calvin was the pianist in some very popular jazz bands and taught Evan to love the music as much as he did. To Evan's surprise, Calvin had named him the sole beneficiary of his estate which consisted of a small house in Hollywood, some money, and all his other possessions. While taking an inventory of what was there, Evan discovers handwritten sheet music of songs made popular by the renowned Miles Davis Trio. Calvin had been their pianist. Though Miles was credited as the author, Evan cannot help but wonder if Calvin was the true composer. Evan also finds, taped to the bottom of a drawer, a cryptic note and a picture of Calvin with a baby in a carriage. Calvin had never married and neither Evan nor others than knew Calvin could ever remember him mentioning having a child. Another mystery surfaces when an unknown woman is named as the beneficiary of Calvin's life insurance. Clearly Calvin had secrets that he kept well hidden even from his closest friends. As Evan crosses the country to understand more about his late friend's life, he ultimately hears a shocking story from an unexpected source: his mother.
Shades of Blue is one of those atmospheric novels that relies more on how the plot unfolds and the manner in which it is told is than on the story itself. One knows that something is going to happen, but it isn't clear what it is, and how or when it will occur. From that perspective, this is a suspenseful novel. The characters are all well-rounded and the jazz setting lends a noir-ish feel to the whole book. An interesting story to be sure, yet in the end it all seems a bit incomplete as if there could have been, or should have been, something more.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Shades of Blue.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Shades of Blue for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Shades of Blue: San Francisco, California
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Shades of Blue by Bill Moody — An Evan Horne Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $24.95