Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon Series #3)

Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon Series #3)

by Julie Smith
     
 

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In Jazz Funeral, Julie Smith once again takes us behind the scenes in New Orleans, with a multi-faceted story of murder, music, and family sorrow. This time, homicide detective Skip Langdon finds herself trying to solve the stabbing death of the universally beloved producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. To confuse the case further, the victim's… See more details below

Overview

In Jazz Funeral, Julie Smith once again takes us behind the scenes in New Orleans, with a multi-faceted story of murder, music, and family sorrow. This time, homicide detective Skip Langdon finds herself trying to solve the stabbing death of the universally beloved producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. To confuse the case further, the victim's sixteen-year-old sister has disappeared, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn't herself the murderer, she's in mortal danger from the person who is. With her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her landlord, Jimmy Dee, to assist her, Skip trails an elusive killer through the steamy city that Julie Smith has claimed as her own fictional territory.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Everybody loved easygoing Hamson Brocato, producer of the successful New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but even so he ended up stabbed to death in his kitchen the night of his own JazzFest party. NOPD detective Skip Langdon, Smith's spunky heroine last seen in New Orleans Mourning, gets a ready-made suspect list from the victim's live-in lover, singing star Ti-Belle Thiebaud. Included are Ariel Bruge, Ham's assistant, apparently a woman scorned; his father George, enmeshed with family members in a bitter disagreement over the family's fast food (``Poor Boy's Po' Boys'') chain; and Patty, the stepmother Ham was cool about. Skip notes the list's omissions: Ti-Belle herself (often heard arguing with Ham at the top of her powerful voice) and Melody, Ham's teenaged half-sister who vanished the same day Ham died. Skip doesn't miss much as she probes the victim's tangled relationships, remaining all the while a consistently convincing character herself, grumbling about her boss and anxious about her long-distance significant other. Smith's Big Easy setting is a lively blend of big city and gossipy small town. Author tour. (May)
Bill Ott
Julie Smith's popular Skip Langdon mysteries set in New Orleans are smooth, polished, tightly orchestrated, eminently readable, but, finally, a little tinny, lacking in resonance. Despite her numerous allusions to jazz, Smith is the Kenny G. of mystery novelists--pretty enough but a popularizer, noodling on the surface of things. This time she noodles in all the right places--the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which provides both the murder victim and the setting for the story's climax, and, of course, the French Quarter, where much of the action takes place and where we glimpse the subculture of teen runaways struggling to survive, often as street musicians. The plot, too, pulls all the right strings: a teenager witnesses the murder of her stepbrother (who's the producer of the JazzFest) and runs away to the French Quarter, where she launches her career as a white blues singer. Meanwhile, police detective Langdon attempts to solve the murder and find the runaway. Yes, it all screams TV movie--jazz and runaways in the Big Easy--but it's really not as bad as it sounds. Smith manipulates her plot skillfully, and her troubled teen rises above stereotype: we feel her pain and flinch at her naivete. If we also flinch a little at the slickness with which Smith grinds up New Orleans and turns it into formula fiction, well, we can always read James Lee Burke. He's Sidney Bechet to Smith's Kenny G.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786200498
Publisher:
Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date:
12/01/1993
Series:
Skip Langdon Series, #3
Pages:
624

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