THE RAGTIME FOOL
Brun Campbell, the old Ragtime Kid, wants to get his hands on a
journal written by Scott Joplin, then use it to persuade the
citizens of Sedalia to construct a ragtime museum in Joplin's honor.
But two die-hard Klansmen who are planning to blow up a local Black
high school also want the valuable book. It falls to
17-year-old ragtime pianist Alan Chandler to frustrate the Klan
plot, and get the journal to Brun.
This historical mystery is the latest novel from Larry Karp.
It is the third and concluding novel in the Ragtime Historical Mystery Trilogy and
was released by Poisoned
Pen Press in April, 2010.
Read the opening scenes of "The
Ragtime Fool" by Larry Karp.
What Others Are Saying...
obsessions with race and glory dominate Karp's lively conclusion, set
in 1951, to his Ragtime trilogy (after 2008's The King of Ragtime).
Decades earlier, Brun Campbell was ragtime genius Scott Joplin's
only white pupil. Now an elderly barber in Venice, Calif.,
Brun frantically publicizes Joplin, ragtime, and himself. In
Hobart, N.J., Alan Chandler, a 17-year-old piano student, has fallen
in love with ragtime music. Both Brun and Alan are excited to
hear that a journal Joplin kept may soon be published. In
Sedalia, Mo., Joplin's home for many years, diehard Klansmen are
plotting to bomb an interracial ceremony honoring the composer.
Brun and Alan race to Sedalia, where they find themselves caught in
a confused swirl of various characters who want to steal the
valuable journal--or stop its publication. Karp handles the
intricate plot well, but the best part of the book is its picture of
people torn between what they want to forget and what they need to
Publishers Weekly, January 25, 2010
Ragtime historical tale is a superb thriller with a seeming cast of
thousands, deftly played like a maestro by Larry Karp...The deep
look at racial relations and divisions during the end of the Truman
era, as well as how those who knew Joplin prefer to pick and choose
their history...makes for a strong character driven mid twentieth
Klausner, genregoround, February 11, 2010
...As usual, Karp populates his book with nearly as many
historical characters as fictional ones, many of whom will be
familiar to readers who enjoyed the earlier books. Ragtime remains
central to the series, both in terms of its ambience and its plots,
making the trilogy a must recommendation to fans of jazz and
American roots music.
Scott Joplin died on April Fool's Day, 1917, but his legacy
blazes brightly within Brun Campbell, once known as The Ragtime Kid
and working, 34 years later, as a barber in Venice, Calif. A fan
letter from Alan Chandler, an aspiring young musician in New Jersey,
leads to a mutually satisfying correspondence as well as a parallel
plotline...In the final volume of his Ragtime trilogy (The King of
Ragtime, 2008, etc.), Karp seamlessly weaves real people like
Campbell into an interesting historical yarn with a whodunit kicker.
In The Ragtime Fool...historical and imagined characters
try to resolve a half-century of loose ends, but reality always
intrudes when an American art form, its creators, and the public
crisscross color and culture lines. These books offer stories for
enjoyment; they may also cause you to read the documented histories,
and then listen to the music – where more mysteries reside.
David Reffkin, Director, The American
Larry Karp, with his novelist's eye for plot and character and his
historian's respect for time and place, again applies his practiced
skills as a veteran writer of mysteries. Together with his leading
man The Ragtime Fool, they promise to keep you turning the
pages well past midnight.
Max Morath, “The Ragtime Man,”entertainer and
spokesman for American music and history