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Chet Baker Mystery Novel

When facts don’t tell the whole story, fiction often steps in to finish the job. Authors have provided their interpretations of the motives, actions and outcomes of historical controversies at least since Homer had Achilles sit out most of the battles at Troy. Now Bill Moody, known for his mysteries set in the jazz (under)world, lets pianist-sleuth Evan Horne take on one of jazz’s more mysterious deaths in Looking for Chet Baker. Why? As the back of the book puts it, “The trumpet was silenced, but the questions remain.”

No one disputes that Baker (pictured left) fell to his death onto a sidewalk in front of an Amsterdam hotel in 1988. What is in question is whether he fell, his balance having probably been impaired by massive drug-taking, or whether he jumped, his mental balance having probably been impaired by massive drug-taking, or whether he was pushed by someone with a rooting interest in his massive drug-taking.

Bill Moody thinks he’s come up with a plausible scenario, which of course we are not going to reveal to you. Nevertheless, we can tell you that the plot involves Evan Horne, who has tried to put the detective game behind him but who still gets drawn into the intrigue surrounding Baker. Evan should be used to getting drawn into intrigues, since it’s happened four times before, not coincidentally in Moody’s previous four books about him. Moody is also an accomplished jazz drummer and critic.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get this for the Baker fan on your holiday shopping list, since it’s not coming out until March 2002. It’ll cost $23.95 from Walker & Company.

Originally Published