cover image Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

Bill Moody, . . Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (265pp) ISBN 978-1-59058-485-9

Moody’s tepid sixth Evan Horne mystery (after 2002’s Looking for Chet Baker ) finds the jazz pianist at peace, living in Northern California and reunited with his girlfriend, FBI agent Andie Lawrence. Then Horne learns of the death of his friend and mentor, pianist Calvin Hughes, whose will leaves everything to him. Sorting through Hughes’s belongings in Los Angeles, Horne finds a note and a photo of Hughes next to a baby carriage, inexplicably taped to the bottom of a drawer. Why the cryptic secrecy? And who’s the kid? More interestingly, Horne also finds some aging handwritten sheet music, which might be original compositions of two famous Miles Davis recordings. Tracking down the story of these pieces of ephemera provides the basic plot, but the narrative, padded by two unconnected subplots, never generates enough interest to involve the reader. Jazz fans may enjoy the knowing references to music and jazz history, but mystery buffs will find this novel tone-deaf. (Feb.)