Perfect Sax (Madeline Bean Series #6)

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The dazzling Jazz Ball for the prestigious Woodburn School of Music promises to be event planner Madeline Bean's greatest triumph to date - both professionally and personally. All the rich and mighty of L.A. society's fund-raising crowd seem to be seriously enjoying the festivities, not to mention the black-and-white-themed menu Mad and company have whipped up in their kitchen. And there may even be a replacement here for her ex-beau LAPD Detective Chuck Honnett - who turned out to be not as completely divorced ...
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2004 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Brand New Hardback Book. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Audience: General/trade. Mystery Fiction Bean, Madeline (Fictitious ... Character)/ Fiction, Caterers And Catering/ Fiction, Jazz Musicians/ Fiction, Los Angeles (Calif. ), Mystery Fiction Hardcover 9780380978908 Hired to produce the Black & White Headliner's Ball, a trendy L.A. gala designed to raise funds for a prestigious music academy, party planner Madeline Bean and her friends, Holly and Wes, find their efforts undermined by the theft of a priceless saxophone, scandal, and murder. Read more Show Less

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2004 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Audience: General/trade. New book with remainder mark(s).

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Perfect Sax (Madeline Bean Series #6)

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The dazzling Jazz Ball for the prestigious Woodburn School of Music promises to be event planner Madeline Bean's greatest triumph to date - both professionally and personally. All the rich and mighty of L.A. society's fund-raising crowd seem to be seriously enjoying the festivities, not to mention the black-and-white-themed menu Mad and company have whipped up in their kitchen. And there may even be a replacement here for her ex-beau LAPD Detective Chuck Honnett - who turned out to be not as completely divorced as he'd implied - although charming trust-fund hunk Dexter Delano Wyatt's past may be a bit too shady for Ms. Bean's good.

Of course, then everything goes straight to hell. Having to contend with a heap of celebrity trash, a ranting vocal coach, his rabid bitch of a girlfriend, and dueling preteen music prodigies is bad enough. But when the furious bidding war for the prize item to be auctioned off - a one-of-a-kind, sterling silver Selmer Mark VI tenor saxophone - almost results in bloodshed, and the perfect sax subsequently vanishes, Madeline can't help but wonder what else could possibly go wrong.

Well...she could arrive home to discover a dead body in her bedroom. Detective Honnett could start making insistent "take me back" noises. The man Mad is considering as a candidate to fill the void in her sex life could have been involved in a multimillion-dollar art theft and insurance fraud and maybe much worse. And then there's the red-haired stranger who seems to be stalking her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
TV writer Farmer's seventh breezy culinary mystery (after 2003's Mumbo Gumbo) smoothly blends all the right ingredients-Beverly Hills money mania, tart humor, romance and, of course, murder. The Woodburn School of Music's fund-raising soiree, the Jazz Ball, catered by party planner Madeline Bean and her Mad Bean Events, looks to be a great success, until someone steals the silver saxophone that went for $100,000 at the charity auction. Later that night, one of the waitresses at the event turns up dead in Maddie's own bed-now how in the heck could that happen? Enter a flickering old flame and a brand new sparkler. A former boyfriend of Maddie's, police lieutenant Chuck Honnett, steps in to work the whodunit and to put some kindling on their relationship's embers. Dexter Delano Wyatt, a trust-fund cutie, is hoping for more immediate fireworks. Cheating hearts, insurance fraud, art theft and a second dead body have Madeline unsure whom to trust and certain that her own life is in danger. She's followed, spied on, shot at and pursued by the good, the bad and the ugly, but comes through with a taste or two of justice, and perhaps a whole new lease on her muddled love life. Farmer's menus and decorating descriptions, glimpses into the high-end Hollywood lifestyle and warmly conversational tone will delight fans of lighter crime capers. (Jan. 6) Forecast: With a seven-city author tour concentrated on the West Coast, a blurb from Sue Grafton and crossover from romance readers, expect healthy sales. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Although two suitors vie for her affections, the only other person in caterer Madeline Bean's bed these days turns out to a recent employee-and a very, very dead one at that. Mad Bean Events has been going great guns. On the heels of her gig on TV's Food Freak (Mumbo Gumbo, 2002) comes the smashingly successful Jazz Ball at the Woodburn School of Music. Of course, not everything goes down as well as the food. The most valuable prize in the fundraiser's auction, a silver Marl IV Selmer saxophone, turns up missing shortly after fetching a staggering $100,000. Bill Knight, who made the winning bid, is so steamed he drives home like a maniac, frightening poor Maddie-who hitched a ride with Bill and his trophy wife Zenya because she lent her Grand Wagoneer to Sara Jackson, one of her waitresses-into bailing mid-trip. Which turns out to be a good thing, because it gives Zenya the chance to send her handsome brother, Dexter Wyatt, to Maddie's rescue. The two find a diner, stay out till dawn, and return to discover Sara dead in Maddie's bed. Worse yet, Maddie's former flame Chuck Honnett of the LAPD is back, looking to rekindle a relationship Maddie snuffed when she found out the detective was not quite divorced. Farmer adds spice to the standard ingredients to whip up something a little edgier than the usual fare. Agent: Evan Marshall
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380978908
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/6/2004
  • Series: Madeline Bean Series , #6
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerrilyn Farmer, the author of seven acclaimed, award-winning Madeline Bean novels, is a TV writer who has written for game shows such as Jeopardy! and Supermarket Sweep, and sketch comedy specials for Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Timothy Stack, Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows, and others. Farmer also teaches mystery writing at the UCLA Extension's Writers Program. She lives in Southern California.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Perfect Sax
A Madeline Bean Novel

"Mood Indigo"

"I love big balls."

Wesley Westcott took his eyes off the road for a moment to glance over at the tall, thin blonde sitting beside him.

"Oh, stop!" Holly caught his look and laughed. "You know what I mean," she said, flushing. "Big fund-raising balls. Banquets. Parties."

"Uh-huh." He turned back to the road, steering his new white Jaguar S-Type off the freeway and onto Sunset Boulevard as he doused a smirk.

Holly pointed at where the smirk had made its momentary appearance and demanded, "Stop it, Wesley."

"I am stopping it," he protested. "Go on, already. Tell me all about your love of balls."

She laughed. "Tonight, for instance. The music blew me away. And the dresses. And the caviar. It was all pretty freakin' faboo."

The Jazz Ball had been a stunning success. Six hundred Los Angelenos had gathered to celebrate the Woodburn School of Music and raise funds to support its prestigious Young Artists Program. The Woodburn, a private institute devoted to tutoring the West Coast's most gifted musical prodigies, liked to suggest it was even more selective than its better-known rival on the other coast, Juilliard.

Once a year, the fund-raising wing of the Woodburn put on a major social event to lure contributions from its well-heeled patrons. The Jazz Ball was famous for the star power of its guest list and the lavishness of the festivities. And this year, the event-planning firm that had won the plum prize of creating this über-party was none other than Mad Bean Events, Wes and Holly's own firm.

"I think Madeline outdid herself tonight," Holly said, referring to their friend and leader. "The black-and-white newspaper theme was awesome. She has the coolest ideas."

"That she does. It was a beautiful night." Wes turned the car south on Vine Street and said, "I wish she had come back with us to my house to celebrate."

"I think she's exhausted," Holly said, finger-combing her loose platinum wisps as she ran through the obligatory party postmortem with Wesley. "She doesn't usually leave a party so early."

"I know," Wes said. "But even Maddie needs a break."

Madeline Bean, the head of one of Hollywood's trendiest young event-producing companies, had managed to rise quickly in the world of spectacular parties. She might only be twenty-nine, but she had become a seasoned veteran of the ever rising and falling Hollywood social tide in a short time. And if the clients alone hadn't made her seasick, she'd managed to weather quite a few ups and downs of a dicey economy, too. Running a small business could be treacherous; one way she had found to succeed was simply to work harder than anyone else. A case in point had been the Jazz Ball. Madeline had been indefatigable for the past two weeks. The number of details involved in pulling off a grand party this grand was enormous. All the intense attention Maddie had paid to a zillion small concerns -- the black linen napkins that arrived were, in actuality, puce; the white peppercorns she had ordered were, at the last minute, unavailable -- must, by now, have finally taken its toll.

Wes stopped at a traffic light and looked over at Holly. "When Maddie and I decided to start the company, I don't think either of us realized how much real, honest-to-God work we'd be in for."

"Ah." Holly smiled broadly. "Now I finally understand why it was you so quickly hired an assistant."

"We were stunned by your talent." Wes was always a gentleman. And then he added, "You have no idea how hard it is to find a good schlepper."

Holly had begun as their assistant six years ago and worked her way up by mastering just about every party job she encountered. Holly filled in wherever she was needed, as an extra bartender, or the person to make the emergency run for more white asparagus, or the one in full-face clown greasepaint twisting a balloon giraffe for six-year-old birthday twins. Six feet tall, scrappy, and much more likely to wear a Day-Glo orange paisley polyester miniskirt than anyone else you might meet -- ever -- Holly Nichols was made for parties. And even though she was apt to gaze upon certain celebrity guests with more dogged affection than was entirely suitable for a staff member working a private party, she was in all ways a most valuable asset to the team.

Holly pushed her white-blond bangs off her forehead and six rhinestone-encrusted bangle bracelets clacked as they fell down her wrist.

Wes shot her another glance. "You sure you're up for coming to my place?"

"Absolutely. I'm wide-awake. And I'm starving."

"You're always hungry."

"True. And you always cook so divinely for me."

"True." Wes looked happy with the arrangement. He loved to cook and, together with Madeline, devised the menus and supervised the chefs at their events.

The traffic was thin at this late hour as they got south of Hollywood. Wes brushed his thick brown hair off of his forehead and eased his new car southwest toward his house in Hancock Park. His black leather jacket, he noticed with the habit of one who takes in every visual detail, looked not at all bad against the custom white leather seats of the Jag. It reminded him again of the Black & White Ball. They'd just pulled off another stunning event. He hummed a riff of "In the Mood."

"Is that jazz?" Holly asked, perking up. "I'm all about jazz now. The band that played at the ball was flat-out awesome. Who knew that kind of music could sound so groovy?"

"Jazz? You mean you don't listen to jazz, Holly?"

"Well, cha! I am major into Eminem. And Radiohead. And Vendetta Red. And, well, Mars Volta. And Clay Aiken. You know me. I dig rap. And rock. And show tunes."

Perfect Sax
A Madeline Bean Novel
. Copyright © by Jerrilyn Farmer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    Fantastic Book!!

    As I perused the books on a slim revolving case in a hospital gift shop, the bright yellow cover of this book caught my eye. Yes, I do judge books by their covers. :-) Nonetheless, I read the synopsis and thought it sounded quite intriguing. However, prior to me purchasing a book I open it to the first page and see if it grabs me or leaves me with a dull taste in my mouth. I bought the book because of the opening line, ''I love big balls.'' Hah! I thought if the author had enough courage to make that the opening line then the book had to be either fantastic or sleazy. In hopes that it was not the later, I purchased the book. Thankfully it was a fantastic read! I enjoyed this book so very much. I had problems putting the book down (usually I was forced to stop by fatigue, or by some other urgency like my dog needing to go outside). I read this book in a few days, and I'm not a fast reader. This book was just absolutely enthralling. I am a hard critic of books, and really haven't enjoyed any of the new books that I've started. I believe the last 'good-can't-put-it-down book' that I read was 'Wicked' by Gregory Maguire. Overall, this book is a must read. Sadly, the author has dated this book by adding current stars. However, for now it is a fun read and I plan on reading the others in this Madeline Bean series. Do pick up this book and read it. It's worth your time and money! Happy reading to all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2005

    Catering, murder, and theft of a prized saxophone

    Madeline Bean owns and runs Mad Bean Catering. They are catering an event to raise funds for the Woodburn School of Music. A rare saxophone is auctioned off for one hundred thousand dollars at the Jazz Ball. Unfortunately when the couple prepares to leave with their new saxophone, it is discovered the case is empty. Someone has stolen the saxophone at the auction. Before coming to the Ball, Madeline found trash strewn around her yard. It turns out to the papers belong to a nearby neighbor. When she sees this neighbor at the Ball, she tries to set up a time to return the papers to him. He misunderstands and thinks she¿s trying to blackmail them. Can this night get any stranger? Oh, yes. When Madeline Bean is involved, nothing is simple and uncomplicated. When she finally gets home, and I¿ll let you read the story to find out about her adventure in getting home, she finds a woman has been murdered in her bed. The police thought it was her. When her friends hear the report, they think it¿s her. Even Chuck Honnett, her ex-boyfriend the police detective, thought it was her. She goes to stay with Wes until things can be sorted out and her house cleaned up. Soon it is discovered that she is in danger. Who is after her and why? Who can she trust besides Wes? Then there is another murder and Madeline decides she¿d better look into things before she becomes the next victim. This is a fabulous series. I always enjoy reading about Madeline Bean¿s adventures. It is always a fast-paced, easy cozy to read. I can¿t wait for the next one! The characters are wonderful. I always enjoy mysteries with food in them. And the writing is superb. I highly recommend this book and the whole series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2004

    Fabulous Fun

    Madeline Bean, Los Angeles party planner and caterer, is a little worried when a rare saxophone from the charity auction goes missing from her gala event for the Woodward School. But that's nothing compared to the trauma of arriving home to find her house surrounded by the police and a dead woman in her bed. When a neighbor turns up dead as well and Madeline thinks she's being stalked, she feels like her whole life is falling apart. Chuck Hornett, her ex-boyfriend and cop, tries to ease Madeline's fears by loaning her a gun but only on the condition that she learns how to handle it. Chuck has been catapulted back into her life because of the murder and he wants to win back her affection. But Maddie has a serious problem with the fact that he has returned to his estranged wife to help her through her cancer treatments. Just to complicate her love life even more, she becomes involved with the brother of one of her Woodward ball clients. The young and handsome Dexter Wyatt has her heart fluttering and her pulse racing, but is he just too good to be true? Madeline jumps feet first into tying all of her mysteries together including the mysteries of her heart. Author Jerrilyn Farmer manages to neatly wrap up the seemingly impossible tangle of insurance fraud, hookers, obsession, and murder. Along the way, she gives us sometimes glamorous, sometimes scathing insights into the lives of the LA rich and powerful. The frenzy of plot twists and motivations are nicely balanced with explorations of Madeline's issues with trust and relationships. The characters are likeable and complex and I enjoyed the way that Farmer ties in Maddie's personal issues with her investigations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    and charming amateur sleuth

    Maddie Bean¿s catering and events planning business is becoming very chic with the rich, powerful and famous in Las Angeles and Hollywood. Her firm is catering an event to raise funds for the Woodburn School of Music so that gifted children who can¿t afford the fees can obtain a scholarship. The gala is a smashing success and Maddie is justifiably proud of her role in the affair. <P>She leaves the affair with a couple who bought a one hundred thousand dollar musical instrument for their son. Maddie loaned her car to an employee who needs to get to her boyfriend, because to is despondent over her boyfriend failing to earn his dissertation. Maddie arrives home to find police surrounding her house. Her employee lies dead in her bedroom. Not much time passes before Maddie discovers her neighbor is murdered, an angry man who was upset that Maddie found his private papers lying in her street. She not only thinks the two deaths are linked but she believes someone is out to kill her as well but nobody will believe her, thinking she is overwrought and upset. <P>Jerrilyn Farmer is a fabulous writer who has created one of the most delightful and charming amateur sleuth souls in the mystery world. The plot is fast-paced and action packed but the heart of this who-done-it lies with the characters and sorting out the villains from the heroes. PERFECT SAX has several sub-plots that make this tale all the more fascinating, especially someone stealing the valuable musical instrument. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2009

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