When a woman is found murdered in her North Beach apartment in San Francisco, Casey McKie takes on the case as a favor to her friend Dee Jefferson. The singer and club owner wants Casey to prove the man accused of the crime, jazz drummer Greg Sanderson, is innocent. Casey discovers the crime scene is free of forensic evidence. She figures it's the work of an experienced killer, and more murders with the same tactics prove her hunch correct.
Since all the victims were young jazz singers, Casey concludes the killer is someone from the jazz community. Is it Tony, the womanizing owner of a club where they all sang? Or songwriter Bernie Silvers, who pestered them to perform his tunes? Or is it actually Greg, who has a history of violence? Or someone unsuspected? After a string of dead ends, Casey is forced to use a singer as bait to catch the killer.
©2012 Joan Merrill (P)2015 Joan Merrill
"Imagine a setting as syncopated as San Francisco and the lingo of hard-nosed local gendarmes. Mix both in the unpredictable environment of jazz, and you have an irresistible recipe...from Joan Merrill and her alter ego, Detective Casey McKie." (Harvey Siders, JazzTimes)
“And All That Stalking features jazz-loving private eye, Casey McKie, who is based in San Francisco’s Chinatown, conveniently close to the jazz club run by veteran singer Dee Jefferson. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, Dee persuades Casey to investigate a murder. Casey ably finds her way through a sometimes grim milieu wherein dark secrets are harbored by all, and eventually tracks down and brings to justice the killer. This is the second Casey McKie story to appear in Audible’s list (the other is And All That Madness), and altogether this resourceful detective has now appeared in five novels. Author Joan Merrill’s life outside her series of detective stories is close to the scene she explores so well and includes her work as record producer and musicians’ agent. Her intimate knowledge of the jazz scene ensures that the pictures she paints are vividly realistic. All of this is captured by the narrator of this Audible book, Liisa Ivary, whose voice, edgily tough, and subtly shifting between characters, brings added texture to this well-written and strongly recommended tale of intrigue and murder.” (Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal International, JazzMostly.com)
So who is the star of this book, anyway? Joan Merrill's "And All That Stalking" is actually the second in her "Casey McKie" mystery series, and knowing that you'd think it would be an easy answer. While I admit the action and story are definitely driven by this titular character, I would argue that's she only the third most important character here.
First and foremost in this story is Jazz itself. You can tell from the book that Joan has a real love for jazz and a decent feel for it and its history. Through another main character, Dee Jefferson, you really get a good flavor for jazz, new and old. It adds a flavor to the book that many mysteries lack - a feeling that these characters are grounded in the real world and not just there for the mystery.
The second-most important character, IMHO, is the city of San Francisco itself. While I have only visited the city a few times myself, you can tell that Joan has a really good feel for the city - geography, people, etc. You can really feel the place as Casey moves throughout the city.
On, yeah - there's a pretty decent mystery to go along with all of that. The story has all of the elements of a good mystery - characters, revelations, and plot twists to keep the story moving along at a decent pace. I wouldn't describe the story as gory; there is some appropriate violence so I wouldn't quite describe it as a "cozy" mystery but there is nothing to offend most readers' sensibilities. Also, don't let the fact that this is the second book with the main character - I have not read the first and enjoyed this book.
The narration was, in my opinion, better than average. The emotion and skill of the narrator are on full display. I could have done with a little more differentiation between characters' voices, but overall it is a good job.
Over all, if you're looking for a good mystery to while away the hours, "And All That Stalking" will meet your needs quite nicely.
This was the first book of the Casey McKie series that I have "read."
I like the main character, Casey. Nice that she is a jazz fan; there is no shortage of these in mystery fiction, but in Casey's case jazz is more than a passing interest. She is a very active and knowledgeable fan on the jazz scene. A jazz fan such as myself will find Casey's world very realistic.
Casey has a strong relationship with veteran vocalist Dee Jefferson. Apparently Dee was a part of one of Merrill's previous McKie mysteries. I'm sure there are other stories that have carried over as well, and I look forward to going back to read the previous McKie stories.
This story itself was good, never really a clue who it was, really. Casey had her suspects and went about her investigation the way most mystery detectives do, just staying active, learning about the suspects, collecting data but not really knowing what they are looking for. The ultimate solution was a surprise.
The book has a nice pace as Casey runs her investigation. The book really picked up momentum the last few chapters (not that it was slow before that!) If it had been a reading book, I would have gotten to the point when Laura (a young vocalist who was being stalked)got another "threat" and not put it down until the end. That's the way these should be.
As I said, I'll go back and see what else has happened in Casey's life (prior and subsequent to this book), and it'll hopefully be fun to see how her character develops through the series.
The reader (Liisa Ivary) was good. She has different voices for the various characters, I found that these helped to develop a picture of them. And there are some real characters, like the wannabe songwriter who they call "Sammy Cahn," the clubowner Tony Lombardi, and of course Casey and Dee herself.
Yes. I thought it was well done and I liked it.
Somewhat. Couldn't figure who did it.
The different character voices, although her own narrative voice seemed overly hard to me. Not a pleasant sounding voice at time.s
No, not particularly.
I think the author has great incite into the genre, and the world of the jazz player. We did it just right. Better than most books of this nature that involve jazz musicians. Her opinions and perspective through her characters were quite authentic. The only thing the bothered me was her reference to a Jazz University (there is no such thing, unfortunately). Yes, there is the New School in NYC, but that's not the same. Overall, a wonderful book to experience. I will make it a point to read more of this author''s work.
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