book cover of Leavin\' Trunk Blues
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Leavin' Trunk Blues

(2000)
(The second book in the Nick Travers Mystery series)
A novel by

 
 
It's been a year since Nick Traver's search for the lost recording of blues phantom Robert Johnson in Crossroad Blues. He has grown comfortable playing his harp at JoJo's in the French Quarter and teaching blues history at Tulane. A difficult case was the last thing on the blues tracker's mind.

When new details on the mysterious death of a blues record producer surface from a legendary guitarist over a bottle of Crown Royal, Nick becomes intrigued. In 1959, Billy Lyons' body was found stabbed with an ice pick and floating in Lake Michigan. His lover, a blues singer named Ruby Walker, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder. But even after Ruby was sentenced, rumors emerged of a gambling debt to the black mafia or a possible hit called by Lyons' partner, Moses Jordan, who moved on to immortality with another label.

After arriving at Chicago's Union Station, Travers learns there are still those who'd like Billy Lyons' murder to remain unsolved. He soon has fresh blood splattered on his boots and he's running in the blackened snow from a rogues gallery of killers that include a 6-foot-5, 300 pound breathing ball of hate named Stagger Lee Jordan and a beautiful pair of sociopaths--Butcher Knife-Totin' Annie and Fast-Lovin' Fannie--two women with respective talents for love and death.

His quest for Lyons' killer retraces the route of the Delta greats during the Great Migration of blacks after World War II. From the historic Maxwell Street Market to the South Side's Checkerboard Lounge, take a hint from Robert Johnson when he sang, "C'mon. Baby don't you want to go. Back to that same old place--My Sweet Home Chicago."


Genre: Mystery

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