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The Ragtime Fool    by Larry Karp Amazon.com order for
Ragtime Fool
by Larry Karp
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Ragtime Fool is the third and last of author Larry Karp's Ragtime series. I've enjoyed the series and wish there were more forthcoming. Karp, who has a medical background, also writes The Music Box mystery series featuring Dr. Thomas Purdue.

Brun Campbell, the only white man Scott Joplin ever taught, is working to establish Joplin's legacy as the one who developed Ragtime music. He learns (this is 1951) that a journal that Joplin kept is up for sale. He wants to acquire this book in order to help prove what a treasure Joplin was.

Two Sedalia, Missouri Klansmen do not want the journal to surface. There might be things written in there that would be detrimental to their wellbeing. Along comes Alan Chandler, a seventeen-year-old boy who can play Ragtime like Joplin did. He wants to attend a ceremony honoring the pianist and would like Campbell to give him lessons.

Enough plot. Believe me, it's a good one. Kept me reading long after I should have turned out my light. The characters develop themselves as the story progresses. I did have one little problem. Several characters shared a first initial, making keeping them straight onerous for me.

That's a minor very minor issue. The book is worth a read, not only for the historical personages that emerge to mingle with the fictitious ones; a lesson in 1950s Southern history also finds its way into the engrossing story.

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