|Corrado (l) and the book|
Jazz can be heard in all the streets and on every occasion, whisky flows freely and the inhabitants of New Orleans do what they do best; bending the rules and doing as they please.
New Orleans is an American city that is not very American; Spanish and French influences mix with the culture brought from Africa by the slaves and together this forms an interesting combination.
In 1919 New Orleans was a city in fear, an axemurderer was killing old Italian couples and left a tarotcard at every crimescene. Was the murderer an Italian who had a grudge against his fellow-countrymen? The white people in town thought it had to be the work of an angry negro, the black people thought it was a crazy Cajun.
Tension runed high, veterans came back from the front in Europe, immigrants tried to find their place and laws were made to ban alcohol.
Three people try to discover who the Axman really was and via these three lines you will finally get the whole picture.
Police inspector Michael Talbot is the most hated man in the policecorps since he ratted out a corrupt colleague. He leads the official investigation but finds nothing. In the meantime everybody wants him to fail and the commissioner tells him that if there are no results, Michael’s secret will be made public.
Luca d’Andrea is the policeman who ended up doing seven years in Angola-prison because Michael Talbot told on him. His former mob-boss tells him to find the Axeman, since the murderer makes the mafia looks bad as they cannot protect their own people.
Ida Davis is a secretary and works at the Pinkerton bureau in New Orleans, and she hopes that solving this case will be her chance to do real fieldwork. Together with her friend and musician Louis Armstrong she is determined to find out who the Axeman is.
The Axman’s jazz is Ray Celestin’s debut and as far as I am concerned it is a great debut. The case is based on real events and historical people like Louis Armstrong also play a part. I like that, especially when it is done well and in this book, it is done excellently.
The Axman’s Jazz is well written and gives a great look at New Orleans in those days. The relations between black and white, between different groups of immigrants, jazz, whores, liquor, journalists who play their own game, the influence of the mafia on the city council, WWI and prohibition are all woven together to make for a very exciting book that you just cannot put down.
An absolute must-read!
Published in 2014