Evan Horne is a jazz piano player who happens to have an unfortunate habit of getting involved in music related crimes. He was created by Bill Moody, writer and jazz musician himself, and appeared in seven books so far. In his fourth outing, Looking for Chet Baker, Horne finds himself in the European playground for pleasure seekers of all types which also happens to be the city in which Baker died.
Seems a university professor acquaintance, Ace Buffington, is researching the mysterious death of Baker who fell out of a window at the Hotel Prins Hendrik back in 1988. He hopes Horne will meet him in Amsterdam and join in his adventure. When Horne arrives at the hotel Buffington is nowhere to be found. He seems to have vanished without a trace. He did, however, leave behind a portfolio with all his research on Baker stuffed behind a radiator in his hotel room. Horne is faced with a mystery again. What happened to Ace? And is his disappearance related to his work on Chet Baker and Baker's violent and seemingly accidental death?
|Chet Baker memorial plaque outside Hotel Prins Hendrik|
The city comes alive in a different way than most books set in Amsterdam. Jazz music colors every scene. There's even a side trip to Rotterdam. But the presence of Chet Baker's ghost takes over. There are sections devoted to the trumpeter's final days interspersed within the mystery narrative. At one point Horne succumbs to the temptation of the magical weed, buys a particularly strong strain at one of the cafes and after smoking it, has a similarly strong hallucination. He imagines he sees Chet climbing up the drainpipe outside of the Hotel Prins Hendrik and Horne chases after him, but under the influence of the drug he doesn't make it up the pipe very far.
|Bimhuis - Amsterdam music venue known for jazz|
Evan Horne Jazz Music Mysteries
Solo Hand (1994)
Death of a Tenor Man (1995)
Sound of the Trumpet (1997)
Bird Lives! (1999)
Looking for Chet Baker (2002)
Shades of Blue (2008)
Fade to Blue (2011)