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A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen: A Katy Green Mystery    by Hal Glatzer Amazon.com order for
Fugue in Hell's Kitchen
by Hal Glatzer
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2004 (2004)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This is Hal Glatzer's second in the Katy Green series. It's New York City Hell's Kitchen to be exact in 1939, time of the automat and nickel phone calls. Katy plays classical violin for a living, and fills in with swing saxophone when the occasion arises. Katy has a Chinese friend whose parents were able to escape China when the Japanese invaded. Money is a big problem with Amalie's family, as most of what they owned had to be left behind. So when a valuable and rare manuscript of a Paganini string quartet disappears from a music conservatory, Amalie is the first suspect.

A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen is a really fun read. I was seven in 1939 (stop counting) and can relate to a great deal of the nostalgia that Glatzer incorporates into the background to his mystery. He brings back so many particulars of the times, including hair and clothing styles, cars, and the cost of items as compared to today's prices. The author speaks in Katy's voice, which works very well. Katy is smart, sophisticated, looking for love in all the right places, musically talented and with a natural bent for detecting. Which talent gets her in hot water more than once.

The mystery abounds with crooked land deals, forgery, murder, theft, assault, and the gangs of New York. A weapon new to me emerges a small, deadly sharp piece of linoleum is launched from a makeshift gun with awful consequences. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. I recommend A Fugue in Hell's Kitchen as escape reading - fun, exciting and fast-paced.

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