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by Larry Karp
Worldwide Mystery, August 2002
272 pages
ISBN: 1885173512

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

New York neurologist Thomas Purdue is a collector and repairer of music boxes. Like most collectors, he will do anything to get a bargain, so when a picker, Broadway Schwartz, tells him he saw a large, extremely rare music box in a shop, Purdue drops everything to go and look for it. When he gets there, the shop proprietor nervously tells him he never had a music box, but Thomas doubts Wilcox' word. He strolls up to the Park Avenue Armory and he and Broadway start going through the summer antique show, finding nothing. When they had gotten about half way through, Purdue, a physician, is paged. A friend of his, another dealer, has been tortured and beaten and is in the ER. Thankfully, they leave the show.

This has not been a good day for Purdue. When he gets home, he finds a young man, who had broken in through the skylight, holding a gun. Thomas take the chance to turn on a music box and finds that Henry (Jitters) has a neurologic condition called synesthesia. He sees music. After talking to the youth, he offers the boy a job as apprentice,gives Jit a small music box and tells him he can either keep it or take it to Sophie Soleski. She'd give him $1000 for it. Or, Jit can come back the next day and learn how to repair music boxes and never have to do another "skyjob"

The boy takes the chance given to him by Thomas and within a couple of days starts learning his new trade. Another friend and collector has recently had a stroke. Edna Reynolds' right arm is useless. Luckily, she is left handed, so can continue to do the delicate painting needed as she repairs the automata she loves, but she cannot hold the item with only usable hand. After making sure that Jit is reliable, Purdue introduces the two, and a match is made.

Purdue and Schwartz continue to search for the rare music box, despite a couple of murders along the way. With the help of the usual suspects, and his father, Dr. Thomas Purdue Sr., the pieces finally fit together.

Karp's first The Music Box Murders was fun to read but not earth shattering. I had a copy of the second one, Scamming the Birdman lying around the house, but never got around to reading it. I will have to now to see if it is as good as this, the third in the series.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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