Dead Man's Blues

Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat, three disturbing events take place: A clique of city leaders is poisoned in a fancy hotel; a white gangster is found mutilated in an alleyway in the Blackbelt; and a famous heiress vanishes without a trace. Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress by the girl’s troubled mother. But it soon proves harder than expected to find a face that is known across the city, and Ida must elicit the help of her friend, Louis Armstrong. While the police take little interest in the Blackbelt murder, Jacob Russo—crime scene photographer—can’t get the dead man’s image out of his head, leading him to embark on his own investigation. And Dante Sanfelippo—rum-runner and fixer—is back in Chicago on the orders of Al Capone, who suspects there’s a traitor in the ranks and wants Dante to investigate. But Dante is struggling with his own problems, as he is forced to return to the city he thought he’d never see again . . .

Ray Celestin is the author of The Axeman's Jazz, winner of the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Best First Novel Award. He lives in London.