A Fugue in Hell’s Kitchen
Second in the Katy Green series, once again the scene is set in 1930s New York City, this time at a school of music. Katy Green, classically trained violinist, is mostly finding jazz gigs. One day she is asked to help a friend and former classmate retrieve a priceless autograph Paganini quartet that has been stolen from her briefcase. Amalia Chen is a refugee from China, a musical prodigy, but she will be sent home to certain death if she is convicted of the theft. The autograph manuscript was on loan from the Meyers Conservatory where Amalia currently teaches, and the proprietor is suspiciously ready to let the young woman take the fall. Katy’s investigation brings her to the school, where she meets the other members of the quartet and the quirky staff. She also discovers that the Meyers library contains quite a few other valuable autograph scores—or does it? When Katy learns that the Conservatory is in financial difficulty and that only a few months past the previous owner died in suspicious circumstances, she begins to understand that a lot more than music is going on at Meyers. Plenty of red herrings, musiker talk, and vignettes of a grubby (and sometimes violent) Depression-era New York made this an interesting read.