I loved every bit of this book. It probably helps that I lived in Chicago for a few years – the city is brought fantastically to life – but there’s a lot more to enjoy in this heady mix of booze, drugs, jazz and murder.

dead-mans-bluesChicago 1928. Al Capone’s in charge, Prohibition is in fill swing and Louis Armstrong is bringing a whole new world of music to the nightclubs.

Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are asked to find a beautiful heiress who disappeared on a shopping jaunt.

In another part of town, crime scene photographer Jacob is pondering the details of a particularly nasty murder in the grimy back streets, and arriving on the train is Dante Sanfelipe, here on Capone’s orders to investigate after the mobster’s champagne was found to have fatally poisoned several people at an important event.

Who is the betrayer? Is another group trying to discredit Capone and muscle in?

As the various investigations dig deeper and the violence escalates, the threads that connect all the events become apparent – all to the soundtrack of some of Armstrong’s most celebrated music.

This is the second in a planned four-part series based around jazz and the mafia in the middle decades of the 20th century.

You don’t need to have read part one (the award-winning The Axeman’s Jazz), but I’ll be doing that as soon as I can.

It’s a great read that blends lots of real historical events and people with a gripping story. The characters are strong and the music is wonderful.

This book was published in August 2016. My review was first published in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine