Music Box Murders CoverMusic Box Murders Paperback Cover

First, Do No Harm
The Midnight Special
Scamming the Birdman
The Music Box Murders
The Enchanted Ear
The View from the Vue

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Dr. Thomas Purdue, neurologist and music box collector- restorer, gets an early-morning wake-up call from his music box restorer/friend, Shackie, and learns that Harry Hardwick, the world's most prominent collector of musical antiques, has been murdered.

Shortly thereafter, Thomas gets a second call, this one from his favorite "picker", Broadway Schwartz, who tells him a rare and desirable rigid notation music box is available for purchase at a local antique shop.

Thomas visits the shop, negotiates, haggles, finally buys the music box, then takes it to Shackie's workshop. Shackie insists the instrument is not playing perfectly, and says that as recently as the evening before, he saw Thomas's treasure in the Harry Hardwick collection. He prevails upon Thomas to leave the music box for diagnosis and treatment. But then Shackie is murdered, and the box can not be found.

Fueled by a highly-developed, if idiosyncratic, sense of right and wrong, Thomas sets out to find his music box and expose Shackie's killer. For help he draws on Schwartz's street smarts, the connections of antiques dealer Frank (the Crank) Maar, and the good common sense of his loyal, if exasperated, wife, Sarah. In the course of his investigations, Thomas flies off to visit old friends in the upper- and underworlds of London, inherits a condo, develops a new line of work, stumbles over five more corpses.....and ferrets out the murderer.


Read Chapter One of "The Music Box Murders" by Larry Karp.


What Others Are Saying...

"The Music Box Murders" is more than a finely tuned dip into the New York antiques scene. It's an ode to the complex forces that drive a collector. It's an exploration of how honour and the love of beauty transcend class. It's a study of the mixture of fondness and irritation that dance around a couple as they listen to the swan song of their marriage. Larry Karp's first novel is all of these things, and still manages to tip its humorous hat to the quippy, clever P. I. novels of days gone by...The book's tight, quick plot turns elegantly around small objects...This pace is maintained because Larry Karp manages to slip in his special knowledge of music boxes in a way that supports rather than stalls the action...Larry Karp has given us an intriguing, sympathetic sleuth that we can only hope to hear more from." (Sandy Faust, The Mystery Review, Vol. 7, #3).

"...Purdue's keen sense of humor, his loving relationship with his ramrod wife, and several wild and woolly close calls, as well as revelatory details about other collectors, make this first novel difficult to put down. An essential purchase." (Library Journal).

"Thomas Purdue: a man who understands that sometimes the only thing worse than telling an outright lie is telling the outright truth. I find myself writing news commentaries on people like him every day." (Dave Ross, KIRO Talk-show Host, Seattle).

" extraordinary first novel; sparkling, well-plotted, technically assured, full of deftly-realized characters and insider's knowledge of matters both medical and musical...a book to anyone." (Melinda Bargreen, classical music critic, Seattle Times).

"The plot is fast-paced, with a new complication at every turn of the page. The style is witty...and the characters have almost a Dickensian quirkiness; you will not likely forget Broadway Schwartz or Frank the Crank...a Cracker Jack box full of delightful historical and technical tidbits. There's no book like this in detective novel literature or music box literature." (Dr. Joseph Roesch, noted music box restorer, instructor, and authority).


Author:  Larry Karp
Hardback: 344 pages

Published by Write Way

Publication date: 3/1/1999

ISBN-10: 1-885-173-58-0

currently out of print


Mass Market Paperback:  274 pages

Published by World Wide Publication date: 11/1/2000
ISBN-10: 0-373-26366-X

currently out of print

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